Many times when artistes are celebrated, those who work behind them rarely get recognition. In case of music, singers are made by people working behind the scenes and their products are perfected by producers and directors.
Most of these producers and directors remain unknown, yet they contribute a lot to the growth of the industry.They have the final say on musicians’ productions and their expertise is an important component of the development of artists’ brands and identities.
One such creative producer is William Magombeze who is popularly known as Slimaz.
The man is behind many videos that have excited music fans and he has shown his midas touch on Jah Prayzah’s outstanding videos.
While Jah Prayzah personally does most of his scripts, he trusts Slimaz with putting the scenes on paper to motion pictures. And Slimaz does so with amazing creativity.
He has won awards for his work, yet his name is still to make heads turn. He remains behind the scenes, doing his art with passion and zeal. He is one of the best video producers in the land.
Our reporter Tafadzwa Zimoyo (TZ) had a chat with Magombedze (WM) about his career and achievements and below are excerpts of the interview:
TZ: Briefly tell us who is Willard Magombedze? We know you as Slimaz.
WM: (laughs), Yes that is my real name. I am 31 years old and married. I work under the name Slimaz as a videographer and photographer. I am a filmmaker. Slimaz Production is a company that I founded in a bid to assist and promote the entertainment industry. I have worked with Jah Prayzah, Pah Chihera, Trevor Dongo, Prince Musarurwa, Alice Makaya, Bethen Pasinawako, Sulumani Chimbetu, Nyaradzo Mashayamombe and Matthias Mhere among others. I have produced several videos which were hits on national television which include “Betterman”, “Nerunako”, “Mai Bhoi”, “Runonzi Rudo” and “Mwanasikana” among others. Most of my videos have won awards and others have been nominated for awards.
TZ: So what does it take to have a quality video and may you explain concept of the videos on Jah Prayzah’s “Jerusarema” DVD album?
WM: Well, to be honest, I did not attend any film school but God made it possible for me to have such knowledge. We used to go and wait for chances to use one computer (pentium1) together with my friend Edmore Ndlovu in Chitungwiza to learn some basics. For Jah’s videos, I did a lot of research by watching many films. A music video should tell a story. On “Jerusarema”, we wanted to show that love has no boundaries despite your race or colour. It had to be more dramatic and we worked hard to come up with all the other videos.
We can even do better with more advanced equipment. I believe we should have an exemption on import duty when bringing in latest cameras so that we meet the world standards when it comes to quality. As producers, we should not hate each other but share ideas as unity can build the nation.
TZ: Who is your role model and why?
WM: My role models have been Oliver Mtukudzi and The Charambas because I like the effort, concept execution, acting and creativeness in their videos. It is just different from other videos we grew up watching.
TZ: Are there any challenges you are facing in the industry and how can they be addressed?
WM: Yes, we are facing challenges in financing the movies and films because we are actually using our resources. If we can have a stable pool of resources to assist filmmakers just like what happens in other countries, our talent will not go down the drain. If only filmmakers too could be recognised and appreciated, the industry will have immense success. Lack of professionalism and appreciation is hindering us. Many think the job of cameras is those who have failed in life.
TZ: What do you have in store this year as Slimaz Productions?
WM: We have a couple of productions coming up including a movie and a television series. I have just finished my Christian movie called ‘The Purse’. I do think outside the box. This movie according to me it is one of a kind because of the epic feel in it. The movie is about the power of prayer and how the spiritual realm versus the physical world connect. It features Jah Prayzah, Racheal Maketa and Ruby Mhundwa among others and is in four languages. Currently I am shooting a documentary with some of the reputable actors.
TZ: Thank you so much, hope we continue watching the videos and movies.
WM: Filming is my passion. I will rest and stop doing it when I am in my grave. Thank you too.