Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed with hyperinflation forcing many to depend on remittances from family members abroad. MaMlilo’s children Frank, Miles and Portia are obliged to send remittances home while her last daughter remaining seeks a chance to also migrate – all this has an impact on the family dynamic as they work to remain connected.
Transactions tells a story of Zimbabwean migration through a family divided by the circumstances of a failed economy. Three siblings, Frank, Miles and Portia, sustain their family through remittances while longing for the country and family they left behind. While the fourth sibling, Chrysthle, who is still in Zimbabwe, is frustrated by her inability to help financially, even though she has a full-time job. Their mother, MaMlilo, is a conduit of all the family’s challenges in hyper-inflationary Zimbabwe. Everyone who needs money comes to her in the hopes that she can help them financially. With each monetary transaction, expectations are raised on both sides. Frank wants to help, but he resents that money is being used for things he does not agree with. When the Covid-19 pandemic leads to hard lockdowns in South Africa and Zimbabwe, life becomes increasingly difficult. There is less work, and consequently, less money to send back home. MaMlilo pushes Chrysthle to leave Zimbabwe, but she is reluctant to leave home in spite of its challenges. This intimate film will follow Frank and his family’s journey to determine how much they are willing to sacrifice to provide for their family.
Rumbi Katedza has directed numerous shorts, music videos, TV shows and documentaries that have been broadcast across Africa and screened at dozens of international festivals and conferences. Her feature film, Playing Warriors, was nominated for awards at the African Movie Academy Awards, Shungu Namutitiwa Festival and Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles amongst others. Rumbi produces corporate and independent narrative and documentary content through her production company Mai Jai Films. Her documentary credits include Marange Voices, about communities adversely affected by the diamond rush in Zimbabwe, and The Axe and the Tree, about survivors of post-election violence, which was launched by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2011. Rumbi is a former Festival Director of the Zimbabwe International Film Festival. She was the Manyika Fellow at Hutchins Center for African and African American Research in 2019 and an Honorary Fellow at the The Film Study Center at Harvard University 2019-2020.
MAI JAI FILMS
Siza Mukwedini works in Zimbabwe and across the globe as a film producer and editor. She believes that change is influenced by perception and film is the ultimate tool to inspire that. Her 2018 film on fatherhood, Mukanya, was screened at international festivals in Canada, Kenya and Australia. She is the founder of Matamba Film Labs for Young Women which bridges the gender gap between male and female film practitioners by connecting young women to opportunities in the industry. This programme, supported by the British Council, also trains and capacitates young women on the use of new media storytelling tools like virtual reality and animation. In 2015, Siza was selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders for her role in using film as a tool for social engagement. She has produced various current affairs and documentary features on women and development issues for renowned broadcasters such as BBC.
Don Edkins is a South African documentary filmmaker and producer based in Cape
Town. He has produced documentary film projects that have been broadcast around
the world, such as Steps for the Future, Why Democracy? and Why Poverty? earning
multiple international awards, including an Oscar for Taxi to the Dark Side, and the
Special Teddy Award at the 63rd Berlinale for Steps for the Future. The Peabody
awarded Why Poverty? Project, with documentary films from 21 countries, was
screened globally by 70 broadcasters. He is Executive Producer of AfriDocs, a free-to-
view VOD platform and broadcast strand across Africa that screens the best African
and international documentary films. He is currently producing a new documentary film
project with African filmmakers across the continent, Generation Africa, around the
theme of migration.
Tiny Mungwe is a documentary film and arts producer. She currently works at STEPS
(Social Transformation and Empowerment Projects) where she produces Generation
Africa, a pan-African anthology of 25 documentary films from 16 countries in Africa, on
the topic of migration. Mungwe’s films include Akekho uGogo, a 48 minute
documentary about urban youth culture, which screened at several festivals including
the Durban International Film Festival, Apollo Film Festival and DOKANEMA Festival.
Her short film script Evelyn was selected for the National Film and Video Foundation
(NFVF) Women Filmmaker Project and she directed another short film in the program,
Daddy’s Boy. She has written for some of the highest rating South African television
dramas such as Muvhango and Matatiele, and was one of the directors on the series
Uzalo. For several years she worked as a festival organizer and programmer for four
international festivals, namely Time of the Writer, the Durban International Film
Festival, Jomba! Contemporary Dance Festival and Poetry Africa. During that time she also worked on the program for Durban FilmMart (the co-production market of the festival) and Talents Durban (a career development program for emerging African filmmakers in partnership with Berlinale Talents). She continues to work as a program curation associate for the Durban FilmMart. She also programmed and curated the city of Durban’s inaugural book and art fair, ARTiculate Africa.