A BUMPER crowd that thronged Rainbow Cinema in Bulawayo for the premiere of the much-anticipated Qiniso The Movie on Saturday night were left discontented.
The red carpet event began at 6pm with the cast interacting with fans, posing for pictures and drinking wine in the foyer.
The who’s who of the Bulawayo entertainment industry were among the more than 300 people that packed the 165-seater auditorium, resulting in some sitting on the floor while a host of others were left stranded outside.
The movie was shown about an hour late and comedian Ntando Van Moyo cracked a few jokes in an attempt to lighten up the mood as technical glitches drew grumbles from the increasingly restive audience.
Fans seated on the floor were asked to move to Cinema 2 where the movie would be screened after the first session, much to their chagrin and they complained that they had not come to be shuffled around.
The audience in Cinema 2 were further annoyed when American movie Grown Ups 2 was screened, but Rainbow Cinemas regional manager Joseph Dzitimai explained that this was done to calm them down.
“Clearly the producers of the movie weren’t expecting such a turnout hence they picked a 165-seater auditorium,” said Dzitimai.
“In order for us to accommodate the overwhelming support, we had to move them to another auditorium. It is difficult as a technician to work in the middle of people hence we were working from a different auditorium. When people are left idle they become rowdy that is why we screened a movie for them, even if it’s not what they paid for.
He added: “I must say I haven’t seen such a turnout in years. People were now sitting on the ground; we haven’t experienced this I think since 2006. I hope this is the start of great things in Bulawayo cinema.”
The low-budget Qiniso The Movie was screened in Cinema 1 a few minutes before 8pm after a short film by Lenni Mdawini Sibanda called Jane the Ghost was first shown.
There were cheers when the movie opened with a scene of Sims running to his brother Nkosana’s house with an unidentified man in hot pursuit.
However, poor sound and lighting made it difficult to hear what was being said or to see the characters.
As a result, part of the audience started trickling out in disappointment.
Qiniso The Movie is about a journalist, Bokani Nleya, who investigates the murder of a Bulawayo lawyer, Nkosana Dube, by someone close to him.
Dube’s wife, the wife’s cousin and his younger brother have their own versions of what happened.
The investigating detective Leroy Ndlovu and Sigidi, an inyanga, have their version of events.
However, the lawyer’s murder remains a mystery.
Principal director in the Sport, Art and Culture ministry Paul Damasane, who came to support his daughter Nomashawekazi, who plays Zanele in the movie, said directors of the movie could have been more adventurous and intriguing in their storytelling.
“The problem we have within the city is that we are not breaking the leg,” he said.
“We are not doing things that are slightly outside the ordinary and we have been trained to play everything by the book in terms of film-making. We are not adventurous.
“Qiniso is a story about real life issues. It is about the mystery of death, that on its own is a cultural issue that needs to be investigated. I think the producers were a bit shy. More creative investigative journalism should have come into play.
He added: “The storytelling could have been more intriguing and lively. However, it is the unpredictability of the movie that I loved. I believe the love scenes should have been more discreet, but they did their best.”
Ethel Kalilombe, who attended the premiere, said the storyline was good, but there was room for improvement.
“The guys showed potential and I enjoyed the story,” she said.
“They need to improve on quality. We could not tell who was talking. Annie and Sim’s faces were not clear. We could not connect with the cast at all, but I am sure their next movie will be better.”