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Laura Bonginkosi: Our stories are a catalyst to an inevitable change in film.

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Laura Bonginkosi
Lara Bonginkosi

Laura Bonginkosi is a creative personnel, writer, creative director, visual director and freelance journalist based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Although she is multi talented in many other creative avenues, writing is her first love. “Everything else just serves as a medium of expression.”She had a chat with Afrluencer about her work in the film industry.

What got you started in the film industry?

LB I can’t really pinpoint what got me started in the film industry, to be honest I don’t think I’ve started or done nearly a third of what I intend to do. However I just think it found me , I believe in fate, I believe that whatever passion you have, the universe or God will make sure you’re eventually in the right path to achieving such passions and fulfilling your purpose .

What are some of the highlights in your career, do you have any upcoming projects?

LB Veza is actually the first big project I’ve managed to get help with so far. So I guess for now, I appreciate that I got to share my vision with the director , Dumisani Manyathela, who then became a friend and a brother to me . I’m just a student, so I’m so grateful for the chance to learn everything I should , such that I can Direct and be more involved in my future projects.

I’m always thinking of stories, it takes time to develop them, i’m currently developing one particular story which I’m excited about, I plan on directing in the future!

What is the state of the film industry in Zimbabwe?

LB I think growing up , the arts industry in general was promising during the years of studio 263 and the like. I don’t know what happened but it start deteriorating as the years progressed. However I think right now Bulawayo is rising and the stories we have to share are just but the catalyst of an inevitable change ,in the industry. We’ve got amazing directors, aside from Dumie, Braydan heart as well. I genuinely believe the film industry is going to be full of healthy competition, which is Great! I’m excited to be a part of the new movement.

Who are your filmmaking influencers?

LB Nosipho-Dumisa Ngoasheng who directed Blood and water, Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae. All exceptional women in the industry at large , I hope to make the list one day!

What processionals do you go through between creating a script and casting?

LB When you’re writing, you’re in your own little bubble. Exploring different storylines, developing characters , research is so much fun, It pushes you to think outside the box or to confront certain truths – depending on what genre you’re writing. When it came to the cast, I was pretty clueless, I never knew many people in the industry, i’m a bit shy. That part was up to Dumie. I’m glad he understood the characters and he chose the right people to become the characters. Passionate actors and talented people like Natasha Dlamini and Calvin Madula but to name a few. This cast is star studded! It’s amazing to witness and see.

Rodney Mabaleka, Laura Bonginkosi and Dumi Manyathela
Rodney Mabaleka, Laura Bonginkosiand Dumi Manyathela

Is there any book you would like to turn into a movie?

LB What happened to you? by Oprah Winfrey. It’s actually a very technical book that touches on human psychology. African society rarely takes mental health seriously, I think if I am able to visualize our mental issues and make it relatable (in the African context) I would be really honored to do so.

In your opinion, what is the most important attribute of a script writer?

LB I think the willingness to let other people in. Most writers are actually introverted so letting other people in is such a huge step. You’re giving your baby away to someone else and you’re trusting that they share your vision and help you put everything to film.

Is digital technology an opportunity or threat in the film industry?

LB I think the world is fully digital now and it is more than a blessing in the film industry! Your film can reach the WORLD through platforms such as Netflix, Sasai , play Africa and so much more. That, to me, Is great power and it pushed us to work as hard and to dream as far as we want.

What differentiates your work from other script writers in the country?

LB I wouldn’t know how to answer that, I rarely ever compare myself when it comes to my work because I write from experiences, from curiosity. like i said, writing is my first love, it’s like second nature to me. I don’t know how other writers approach their work but I think I’m just someone who’s very honest and open when it comes to her work. I’m a perfectionist, so I always make sure I put out only the best and nothing less.

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