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FREESTATE began towards the end of my two year stay in Zimbabwe. As a foreigner, the authenticity of Africa shook me: the mysterious balancing rocks of Domboshava, the devastating beauty of the unpredictable landscape, and the mixture of joy and the deprivation that sits in the people. I knew that film was the only medium that could capture this intense sensual experience of Zim and its impact on human behaviour. I joined a writing group led by South African writer Melissa Webster. There I began work on a screenplay, The Platform, I was writing at the time with Tsitsi Dangarembga. It was there that I first read Melissa’s short story, Space To Fall. The nuanced predicament of the woman in the story spoke to me, I instantly saw it as a movie. That night I serendipitously met a Zimbabwean film/theatre producer, Daves Guzha. When I told him about the short story, he agreed to help me produce it and we set the shoot date. Melissa, Tsitsi and I began the work of adapting the short story and Tsitsi agreed to be my outside eye on set while I was acting. My friend Ingrid in Toronto helped me find Alex Disenhof in L.A and we flew him over to shoot it. Daves put together a great crew. Farai worked his magic with the hard light—I am indebted to everyone who together made FREESTATE: O’Brian, Yeukai, Gregory, Austin, Blessing and Jamie McLaren and the brilliant actors Steve, Kevin, John and Sue. I may have been the instigator, but it took a strong team to bring the story to life.

Zim landscape behind Freestate