Blind Ambition An Inspiring Underdog Story Of Zimbabwe's 1st Wine Tasting Olympics Team Wins The Audience Award For Best Documentary Feature At The Tribeca Film Festival

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The documentary "Blind Ambition" was brought by filmmakers Warwick Ross and Rob Coe to the 20th anniversary edition of the Tribeca Film Festival for its World Premiere. The documentary tells the story of four Zimbabwe refugees who fled from Robert Mugabe’s regime to achieve international notoriety as Zimbabwe’s first-ever World Wine Tasting Olympics team. It is a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. Blind Ambition won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 20th Anniversary Tribeca Festival. 

National teams from world over travel to Burgundy, France to compete for the coveted title of ‘World Wine Tasting Champion’. There has never been a competing team from Zimbabwe, that is until now. Millions of Zimbabwean refugees fled to South Africa in search of a better life. Among them were Joseph Ohafana, Tinashe Nyamudoka, Marlvin Gwese and Pardon Taguzu, four ambitious men with an impossible dream; to become the first African team to win the Wine Tasting Olympics in France.

“We didn’t know each other in Africa,” Tinashe explains. “It was wine that brought us together. Until now, none of us had ever tasted wine before.”

Each of the team members stumbled upon wine by happenstance. Joseph was given a glass of Champagne as a birthday gift by his employer at the restaurant where he worked and the taste intrigued him. He developed not only a thirst for wine, but also a hunger for more knowledge of it.

Pardon was fascinated by the sophistication of a friend of his who was a waiter at a fancy restaurant where he hung out as a barfly. He was intrigued by his friend’s flowery descriptions and elegant demeanor while serving wine to his customers. “What’s with all the fancy talk!” he’d tease his friend. “Why don’t you just give them the wine and let them enjoy it!” Once his friend took him aside, poured him a glass of wine and patiently guided him through the tasting process, he was hooked.

Joseph later became friends with the South African wine team coach, Jean Vincent Ridon or ‘JV’, as he’s known. JV encouraged him to start a wine tasting team of his own since the South African team was already formed. Thus, Team Zimbabwe was born.

At the time, it seemed like a great idea. Right away, the team’s aspirations were greeted with skepticism.

“It’s probably like Egypt putting together a team of skiers to go compete in the Winter Olympics,” says wine writer Tamlyn Currin.

“You would hardly put Zimbabwe and wine in the same sentence,” says Master of Wine and world-famous wine columnist and author Jancis Robinson, considered by many to be the ‘Martha Stewart’ of wine. She became their greatest champion, creating a crowd-funding campaign on the internet that took off with surprising speed.

“The World of Wine is very bad at diversity,” Robinson observes. “I mean it’s white faces wall- to-wall. I thought that if we can do anything to show them what they’re missing by being so exclusively white, then, that’s a good thing.”

(Source: The Times

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