It’s a film that was five years in the making, Alexander Bedria‘s “The Zim” tells a gripping tale inspired by true events about the real life socio-political and racial turmoil that seized farms of the minority white population in Zimbabwe.
The visual storyteller premiered his film at the 2017 LA Shorts International Film Festival where the project took home “Best of Fest,” the top honor of the festival. Alongside Bedria, who also stars in the film, the intimate cast includes: Tongayi Chirisa, who also co-produced and served as technical advisor, Constance Ejuma, Shaun Baker, Amanda Wing, and Caroline Lagerfelt.
Back in 2012, the story of “The Zim” was sparked for Bedria who first heard about the accounts of seized farms in Zimbabwe from a friend. Deeply moved by the stories his friend shared, Bedria began extensive research about the subject matter conducting interviews, raising funds, and casting his short film to bring the story life in the form of art in hopes to shed a new light on what was happening in…”the Zim.”
I got to chat with writer, director, and star of the “The Zim” Alexander Bedria via email about his project and he gave details all about taking on multiple roles for the short film, the possibility of an extended version, the climatic ending, and more! Check out the excerpts from the conversation.
Glambergirlblog: You wrote, directed and starred in “The Zim,” how did you find the balance of staying in character and creatively keeping the integrity of the story?
Alexander Bedria: Preparation! My cinematography Matthew Macar and I planned our days months in advance. My amazing producers also made sure all logistical production requirements were handled while I was filming, allowing me to narrow my focus to the task at hand. In the weeks leading up to the shoot, my department heads and I visited our location walked through the entire shooting schedule. Having such a great team made it much easier for me to be fully in the moment as an actor, and fully supported as a director.
GGB: What inspired this film?
AB: Back around 2011, a friend who was living in Zimbabwe shared stories of its people, cultures, and complicated history that inevitably lead to the land invasions. I felt the conflict would be a powerful backdrop for a tense, emotional story. The land invasions were (and are) a controversial subject matter, and I wanted to try and bring a sense of balanced perspectives to the story. Also, a film had never been made about these events.
GGB: How was it working with an intimate number of characters/actors?
AB: Incredible. Every actor in our cast is accomplished in their own right, and were consummate professionals. They were all attached to the project for a long time, so we were able to discuss characterization and story long before we actually started filming. They were all fully immersed in their roles on the day, and only subtle adjustments were made in terms of direction.
GGB: Can you explain the ending?
AB: I don’t want to rob the audience of the opportunity to experience the story on their own. I feel my job is to tell the story, but not necessarily editorialize it. It’s been quite interesting to hear how people are responding to it.
GGB: What do you want the viewing audience to take away from this film?
AB: The hope is that the audience will be taken on an emotional journey, caring for the characters while being invested in the gravity of their struggle. If the film stays with people after they’ve watched it, causing them to reflect upon the themes it explored, I think that’s a success.
GGB: Would you ever want to expand on this story? A sequel? A prequel?
AB: There is so much material that I’d love to expand it into a feature film. The real challenge was condensing it into a short film!
GGB: Anything else you want to add?
AB: Please visit www.thezimfilm.com for links to our social media, and follow us! There’s some exciting news coming that we can’t wait to share.
Watch the trailer for “The Zim” in the clip below. Share your thoughts in the comments.
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