Private Project


‘House Arrest Film Production’

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), almost 1 billion people worldwide are suffering from mental disorders right now. 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental illness in their lifetime. Depression and anxiety went up by 25% after Covid-19 pandemic. 14.3% of deaths or approximately 8 million deaths are attributable to mental disorders. Apparently with such heinous statistics, mental health challenge has now become a calamitous pandemic.
Mental health challenge is indeed a global epidemic which is so mysterious to many people. The challenge has also been definitely exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic which has incapacitated billions of people world over; especially vulnerable people’s livelihoods and ultimately their mental health has been badly affected. Hence the need to trigger a dialogue on such a difficult yet vital topic often referred or seen by numerous societies as a taboo or stigma.
In response, the Zimbabwean diasporan community based in Botswana who have also been directly or indirectly affected by some mental health challenges came together under the directorship of Bongani Moyo and Peter Mutanda to produce ‘House Arrest Film Production’. The cast members of the production are all untrained, so as the crew members are mostly untrained except of a few who are semi-skilled.

House Arrest is a story set on the backdrop of Ganda family. Mr. Edmond Ganda is a recovering alcoholic, Soneni was Mr. Ganda’s wife, she committed suicide at the hands of Edmond’s abuse due to alcohol misuse. Chiedza is their daughter; she witnessed all her mother’s monstruous abuse and eventually her suicide at first hand. Now she bares all the burden of living with this trauma as it constantly replays in her psyche.
Chiedza’s mental health has deteriorated and she has been secretly living with some mental disorders for a very long time. Rosemary, Edmond’s new wife and Chiedza’s step mum has become the family’s pillar of endurance. Theresa is Edmond’s beloved sister; she is very handy, always available for resources and emotional support.
Chiedza has become reclusive; spending most of her time in her tiny secluded, messy and disorderly room. She has physically become a jail bird in her own place, a prisoner to herself taken hostage by her own brain. She is afraid of leaving her room so she devotes her time laying on her dirty old mattress conversing with the voices that she keeps hearing. Sometimes she spends her time writing and reciting poetry.
Chiedza sees everyone as a dangerous suspect; no-one is allowed to enter her space.
House Arrest is a film about the realities of mental health challenges that many people try to cope with in their daily lives. The mysteriousness of these disorders often goes unspoken of, being perceived as inexplicable taboo in most societies.
This is a story of perseverance and resilience; breaking down of bondages, unchaining of shackles to overcome overwhelming multifaceted maladies. The production is reinforced by complementary sequential and juxtaposing metaphorical audiovisual effects. Its main objective is to raise awareness about alcohol misuse and the increasing dangers of mental health challenges. On the other hand, it is about spreading hope to those who might be suffering from these challenges to seek professional help.

Written and Directed by Peter Mutanda

Running time: 52 minutes and 43 seconds

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  • Runtime:
    52 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 9, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
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Director Biography - PETER MUTANDA

Peter Mutanda has been a lecturer at the University of Botswana, Media Studies Department and University of Zimbabwe, Department of Creative Media and Communication. He designed an award winning video installation project, ‘The Besiegement – Advocating Mental Health’ which was launched in Harare on 8 March 2019.

In 2003, Peter was invited by a South Africa based producer, Bridget Pickering to be part of the production crew for Terry George’s Oscars awards nominated (35mm Lions Gate) Hollywood blockbuster movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ in Johannesburg, SA.

On top of all that, Mutanda is a video journalist, poet, traditional drum player, multi-lingual and familiar with many cultures. He has lived and worked in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Finland. Furthermore, Mutanda has held arts workshops and collaborations in Africa, Europe and USA. He has directed and produced award winning and nominated theatre pieces, film productions and visual arts projects.

Peter Mutanda is studying for a PhD in Design at the University of Botswana.

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Director Statement

Apparently, mental health advocacy is increasingly becoming more important because it can help to change the societies’ perceptions on people living with mental disorders. On top of that, it can also serve those directly affected by mental disorders and their families to make informed choices about their treatments and other issues in their daily lives. So, video technology has the power to convey such powerful realistic emotions that can deeply touch and persuade the viewers to change their perceptions.
Furthermore, the power of the digital video to improve mental health literacy amongst diverse communities including those living in remote areas can never be under estimated. Thus, the technological advancement via digital media has brought with it the possibilities to easily disseminate mental health related information. The digital video has increasingly become popular as an effective means to improve mental health advocacy.

Please help us spread this important message about mental health challenges we are facing right now!

Get in touch with us for public screening.

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