In Conversation with: Tafadzwa Ranganai

Tafadzwa Ranganai

Meet Tafadzwa Ranganai Zimbabwean Filmmaker

Tafadzwa Ranganai is an easy going, ever smiling (and laughing) lover of storytelling. I’m a typical young guy who enjoys watching movies and TV, hanging out with friends and family, and I am known to enjoy a cold beer or two from time to time. I struggle with talking about myself.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

My parents are academics. They monitored how much time I spent in front of the TV and preferred I read more…I read A LOT as a kid, and this really lit my imagination on fire. When my parents weren’t looking, I also binged on TV, since it’s the one thing I wasn’t really allowed. I watched everything, cartoons, documentaries, movies, sitcoms you name it. When I got older and discovered that I could learn to MAKE movies at college, there was no turning back, I had to become a filmmaker.

Who is your filmmaking role models?

I love Quentin Tarantino because he’s first and foremost a fan of cinema, so he borrows elements from the movies he enjoyed watching the most and incorporates them into his movies.

Tafadzwa Ranganai on set
Tafadzwa Ranganai – On Set

How did Creative Hub Films come to be? 

It started off as a name of a collective of students in the media studies department of the University of Botswana. We were out-of-the-box thinkers with a serious passion for filmmaking. Upon graduating, we registered it as a company and started working professionally together. After I moved back to Zimbabwe in 2014, I registered it here and ever since Creative Hub Films operates in both countries.

How was it working on your first feature film, Nevanji and how has it been received by the audience?

It was a weird mixture. By the time I filmed Nevanji, I already had almost 10 years’ experience working in the film industry, directing entire seasons of tv shows in both Botswana and Zimbabwe but I was nervous as hell working on my own feature film. It’s a pity, not many people have gotten a chance to watch it so my point of reference for audience reaction is the crowd that watched it at the ZIFF. They enjoyed it…and even demanded a sequel.

What inspired you to start your YouTube channel?

I’ve worked with so many young filmmakers who did not have the opportunity to get tertiary education but are naturally talented and passionate about film. Every time I interact with them, I find myself switching into teaching mode, I am naturally someone who loves sharing and gaining knowledge. I figured the best way I could share my knowledge with them is with a YouTube channel that has filmmaking tutorials and in future, a behind the scenes look at my films.

What would you like people to take away from watching your work?

That it is possible in Zimbabwe to have a movie with as interesting a plot as any Hollywood or South African movie. That if they love what they see, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Zimbabwean films.

For someone new to your work what would you recommend they start with?

Well, I only have one full movie under my belt, Nevanji so I would recommend that. But if one wants to see my progression as a filmmaker and watch my older work, they can type the following on YouTube: ‘Blak Nite (2010) Short film’, that’s my first ever production, then ‘Ngozi 48HFP Gaborone runner up’ and depending on your tastes you can search for ‘Jesus (2012) Director’s Cut’, that’s a comedy I shot in 2012.

What have been your highs and lows of life as a filmmaker so far?

My whole career has been highs and lows. In 2014, Creative Hub Films produced an entire season of a TV show that ultimately never got aired, which means we didn’t make back the money we spent on it, that was probably my lowest point. High point is I guess receiving the award for Best Actor on behalf of the star of Nevanji, Tyler Gurure at the ZIFF 2022 Awards ceremony. I was so proud that this 12-year-old boy in a random horror movie I directed (as my first movie) had won an award for his performance, which I knew was good, but it was great to know the competition jury at ZIFF had seen it too.

Tafadzwa Ranganai - filmmaker
Tafadzwa Ranganai

What are you currently working on and when can we expect it?

I am in preproduction of my next movie, another horror movie, all I can say is it’s a monster movie, I don’t want to give away too much. I’m hoping to have it complete early next year and maybe release it on my birthday at the end of May.

What is the soundtrack to your life?

Tough one, sometimes it’s trending music, sometimes it’s theme songs from my favourite TV shows and movies and other times it’s dialogue from movies I’m yet to make that are still just ideas in my head.

Who have been your favourite people to work with so far and who would you like to work with in the future?

I’ve enjoyed working a young chap called Itayi Chitauro jr. We met on the Rain Media & 3ktv production Tangled where I was an editor for season 1 & 2, he is a writer there. I think our ideas combined with his writing and my directing might shake up the Zim film industry. I’d love for a lot of our ideas to become a reality. I have worked with so many different filmmakers and have enjoyed the experiences though, so I am always keen to work with anyone who has particularly ambitious film ideas.

What are the top 5 songs in your playlist right now?

Fab G MshanakaGogo – Manginawe  (kind of obsessed with this track at the moment)

Innomuno – Higher

Tanto Wavie – Dzinga Munyama (TrapSungura as a genre is off the chain)

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

My phone. That’s where I write down ideas that become scripts…and for Twitter.

What advice would you give to your younger self?   

Tafadzwa Ranganai

It ain’t that deep my guy! My younger self would worry and stress about every little aspect of life, business, career, finances etc…but now that I’m older I’m more relaxed, knowing I can’t control everything, just myself.

How can people access your work or get in touch with you?

My film Nevanji is available on Amazon and, you just type Nevanji in the search bar and you’re good. I’m on twitter @TaffyRanganai most of the time and I check my email daily so is also a good way of getting in touch with me. My insta is also @TaffyRanganai but I am on there less than I am on twitter and even though I’m on Facebook, don’t hold your breath if you contact me there. Also check out ZimFlix263 on YouTube.

How would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered through my movies. I want people to look back the movies I plan to make and remember an era or a time in their lives…the way 80s and 90s action movies remind me of my childhood, or the way people talk about how awesome ZBC used to be when we were growing up, I just gave away how old I am huh!?

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