Ahead of its much anticipated global release in August, the award-winning local movie “Cook-Off” continues on its upward flight as the blockbuster looks to strike the UK entertainment market with its premiere set for 27 July at the exclusive Mayfair Hotel in London.
“Cook-Off”, a heart-warming romantic comedy, which was written and directed by Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and produced by Joe Njagu; is a story on its own from being first screened on the roof of the New Ambassador Hotel in Harare.
The film which has traveled around the world and has been a subject of discussion among critics and audiences, screening at different prestigious film festivals such as the Festival International Du Film PanAfrican in Cannes, SIFF in Seattle, IFFR in Rotterdam, DIFF in Durban, and many more
The UK premiere follows on the back of small independent theatrical runs in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia as well through Sunshine Cinema.
During the East African premiere at NBO Film Fest in Kenya, the filmmakers began a discussion with Crimson Multimedia for distribution in Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
According to Director Tomas Lutuli Brickhill said that the film’s already had a breakthrough in the local cinema.
“I think Zimbabwe is rich in talent especially storytelling, but without verification, people will doubt your abilities. Cook-Off has shown that even with a deficiency in resources, we can create something that can be matched with much bigger budget films coming out of elsewhere in Africa.”
The movie which was named the Outstanding Screen Production (Film), and Best Actress (Film) at the 18th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), features who-is-who in Industry cast led by Tendie Chitima, who also picked up the Best Actress award at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival where the film once again won Best Film.
Hip hop star Tehn Diamond stars alongside Tendie as the romantic lead, with support from Eddie Sandifolo, Charmaine Mujeri and Zimbabwean screen legend Jessesi (Neria) Mungoshi while new act Eugene Zimbudzi gives a scene-stealing performance as the son.
Other cameos include comedian Kudzi Sevenzo, poet Chirikure Chirikure, Kevin Hanssen, Michael Kudakwashe, Anne Nhira, many cast members from the popular TV show Wenera and UK Zimbabwean rock star Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes.
The plot of the story centers around Anesu, as Tendie Chitima, a poor single mother from Budiriro who works at a sadza stall but dreams of a better life. Anesu, encouraged by her son Tapiwa, and her grandmother, as Mungoshi, to apply for Zimbabwe’s top reality cooking competition: Battle of the Chefs, for a chance to win $10000 prize.
Veteran filmmaker Njagu spoke about being part of the successful movie saying “this was a collective effort to show what we can do when we work in unity – we have set a new standard for Zimbabwean movie industry and we’re proud of that.”
“Cook-Off” has been a hit with audiences from Swaziland to Belgium and people can expect an uplifting, heartfelt and authentic Zimbabwean story that is packaged in a slick, professional production.
Cook-Off has received a string of accolades becoming the first feature film from Zimbabwe ever to be chosen for the Seattle International Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals worldwide and an impressive 38thout of 187 submissions in the audience award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, but the filmmakers insist that this is only the beginning.
Cook-Off will premiere at one of London’s exclusive hotels The Mayfair Hotel, London on Saturday 27th of July at 6 pm.