Asakhe film festival showcases award-winning American film

The Asakhe Film Festival, organised by CITE, Tuesday, showcased a special feature-length documentary called “Trust Me,” which discusses human nature, information technology, and the necessity of media literacy to help people come together and build trust.

Directed by Roko Belic and Joe Phelps, the documentary aligned well with the film festival’s theme of “Truth and Memory,” aimed at promoting Zimbabwe’s national efforts at healing and reconciliation.

The film screening, made up of riveting stories from throughout the world, demonstrates how a lack of media literacy can lead to conflict.

CITE and the US Embassy in Zimbabwe collaborated to make the screening possible in order to raise awareness about the need of countering misinformation and deception.

“We have in the Public Affairs section the American Film Showcase, one of the cultural exchange initiatives courtesy of the Department of State. We work in partnership with the University of Southern California in the US where we do such community screenings and also invite film experts,” said Butholezwe Nyathi, who works at the American Embassy’s Public Affairs Diplomacy section.

Nyathi, who helped organise the screening, claimed that it was part of a cultural exchange programme.

“Sometime next year there will be an expert coming from the US and will work with CITE and other local organisations.”

According to Nyathi, the public affairs diplomacy branch seeks to encourage mutually beneficial cultural encounters between Zimbabweans and Americans.

“This is just one of the many other film screenings that we do in local partnership with local Zimbabwean film festivals. We did similar screenings at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival; there will be more that we will do here such as Intwasa stretching into 2023,” said the cultural enthusiast.

“There are also screenings and masterclasses for those who are into film. We will partner with CITE, as I said there’s an expert coming through to share skills, knowledge and resources with you.”

Nyathi also expressed gratitude to CITE for organising the film festival, which had a “phenomenal young turnout.”

“The theme of the film really worked and CITE made the right selection from the huge film slate which film partners can select from. We know CITE does a lot of work from misinformation and disinformation. All of us have mobile phones and wherever you fall victim to some of the narratives we hear about through this film,” he said.

“There are many other exchange programmes we run. Many of you are doing exceptional work in your communities and we have the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme where you go to the US for six weeks and are attached to universities where you meet other exceptional young people from other parts of Africa.”

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