Filmmaker Zoe Ramushu set for debut Netflix release with the feature film 'Real Estate Sisters'

Zimbabwean filmmaker Zoe Ramushu is set for her Netflix debut this April with the feature film "Real Estate Sisters". The film is scheduled for release on the streaming platform on the 26th of April.

Filmmaker Zoe Ramushu set for debut Netflix release with the feature film 'Real Estate Sisters'
Zoe Ramushu

Produced under the Totem Zea Collective banner, a production company Ramushu founded together with fellow filmmaker Rea Moeti-Vogt, the film revolves around two broke but sassy real estate sisters going from selling rundown apartments to selling high-end homes. Moeti-Vogt and Ramushu co-wrote the film and also occupied the roles of director and producer respectively. 

Choosing to write comedy is about accessibility. There are very important films, touching on very tough issues, but that’s not what most people are immediately going to pick to watch on Netflix or Amazon or Showmax. Comedy is something that draws audiences in and promises joy and entertainment. As Black people it’s very important for us to have entertainment, to experience joy, because that isn’t always presented to us as an option. So comedy is extremely important and strategic for us as a company to relay messages to the audience but also to inspire. - Zoe Ramushu

Filmmaker Zoe Ramushu set for debut Netflix release with the feature film 'Real Estate Sisters'

"Real Estate Sisters" has two Black female leads, Gina Koffman (The River, Izwe lani Nawe) and Leera Mthethwa (Ses’topla, Gomora). It also stars Lerato Makheta (eKasie: Our Stories, Isidingo), Marcus Mabusela (iNumber Number, I am all Girls), Sibongile Nojila (Skeem Saam, Isidingo), Jerry Chirindza, Sammy Fever, Jude Ben O’Donovan and Karin van der Laag (Story of an African Farm, God is African).

The film is one of 6 micro-budget projects supported through a joint film fund by Netflix and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Sport Arts and Culture of South Africa. The fund's aim was to alleviate the pressure filmmakers face to raise additional funding and boost recovery of the creative industry from the pandemic, whilst ensuring job creation.

In March "Real Estate Sisters" had a special pre-screening at the New York Film Academy and it was also showcased at the 6th Joburg Film Festival in South Africa. 

After leaving New York with a Student Oscar nomination under my belt, it was great to come back to the city with Totem Zea’s short which screened at the Lincoln Center in 2022 and again, now, with this Totem Zea produced film, from Africa, proving that where you’re based, the colour of your skin, your age – nothing should limit your dreams and ambition as a young Black woman. - Zoe Ramushu.

In addition, Real Estate Sisters has also been screened at the Pan African Film Festival in LA, and the Toronto Black Film Festival among other international festivals.

Filmmaker Zoe Ramushu set for debut Netflix release with the feature film 'Real Estate Sisters'
Zoe Ramushu

Before becoming a filmmaker and multimedia journalist, Zoe Ramushu studied and worked in the legal field. She recently wrapped up production of her first two feature films in South Africa, with the other currently in development. 

Ramushu has worked on two New York-based documentaries which excelled on the festival circuit. The filmmaker's production, "To The Plate" was shortlisted for the 2021 BAFTA Student Film Awards, and she was also the producer and director of "It Takes A Circus", which was nominated for the Student Academy Awards in 2021. 

Ramushu was an integral part of the team that prepared the 2018 Framing The Shot: Key Trends in African Film report, the leading analysis of African film, with the Goethe Institut and German Foreign Office. Working with Germany’s BMZ, Ramushu led a groundbreaking gender transformation agenda for African Film with SWIFT (Sisters Working in Film and Television - a non-profit organization Ramushu co-founded), recognized at global platforms such as the Berlin Film Festival. 

A Reuters fellow at Oxford University, Ramushu chairs a committee for the South African Department of Arts and Cultures, overseeing cultural grant allocations across national parastatals and agencies. She holds an undergraduate BA honours degree in Law and English and an MA both from the University of the Witwatersrand. She earned her MSc in filmmaking from Columbia University in the City of New York.

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