3-Minute Interview: Sanelle Sibanda

If a filmmaker’s point of view is informed by experience, Sibanda has plenty to draw upon. He grew up in war-torn Zimbabwe, studied in Texas and London and finally landed in San Francisco. His first feature film, “Generation Now,” is playing through Thursday at the 4 Star Theater in San Francisco.

You say you get your inspiration from everyday life. What inspired “Generation Now?” I was walking on 48th Avenue in San Francisco in the Sunset district and I came across a group of young people who seemed to be wandering aimlessly, throwing bottles and vandalizing the neighborhood. I wondered what could be causing them to act like this, and I started to explore the concept that maybe they didn’t think they were loved or didn’t get the proper attention or guidance at home.

What was your budget like for the film? It was shot with local talent on a shoestring budget, probably around $25,000. We found some of the actors on Craigslist.

Tell me about your memories growing up amid a civil war in Zimbabwe. I was living with my grandmother part of the time in the countryside. The freedom fighters would come during the night and they would take young people as their slaves to some degree, to carry guns and bullets. They were abused in many ways.

You’re dealing with a family crisis at the moment. Why did you decide to go ahead with the film’s opening? Yes, my 8-month-old son was diagnosed with leukemia in mid-January, so I’ve been spending a lot of time at the hospital. But I felt the need to express my gratitude to the cast and crew, and I didn’t want them to think I didn’t appreciate their hard work.

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