ZIMBABWEAN born-Canadian actress, writer and producer Natasha “Tash” Heschelle is back on the screen with her first big production titled Zahara The Return currently streaming on Amazon Prime Videos United Kingdom and United States and at several film festivals.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The film, Zahara The Return, is also known as The Black Vampire Show. It features Heschélle as Helen Harris, alongside Curtis Morgan and Hannah Scott, and explores the history of slavery and racism as well as the tensions between a white supernatural world and black supernatural world as an ancient black Druid rekindles her forbidden love with the son of her former master.
Tash told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that she had been rejected so many times, but the series produced under her Heschélle entertainment company gave her a breakthrough.
“Being a producer takes courage, it takes risks. As an actress in Canada, I am a visible minority and I have an accent which has worked against me. I have lost so many roles due to this reality, so I have learned to speak with the North American accent, it’s not easy. I don’t want to lose my accent because that is my identity, but if I have to work in North America, I have to make that transition,” the award-winning actress said. “Zahara The Return is also screening at several film festivals including the biggest web series festival in Canada called Toronto Webfest, and Gold Movie Awards in the UK where we won three awards.”
Tash said they had received some good reviews, adding that the production would be available worldwide after the world premiere at SXSW festival in the US although this was still uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 23-year-old actor said Canada had a lot of opportunities although it was not easy at the beginning. “It was challenging at first because I had no idea where to begin not only as an artist, but building a new life in general in a foreign land, making new friends, getting my first job, trying to make it as an artist, adjusting to this new place,” she said. Tash said her life story had been that of determination and sacrifice as she often skipped school to attend dance classes. She said her mother was her role model, as she urged her not to give up, adding that through her support she managed to produce her own television series. Tash’s artistic prowess charmed organisers of the country’s flagship beauty pageant Miss World Zimbabwe who invited her for a performance at the 2006 edition. In an effort to pursue her dream, Tash left Zimbabwe at 16 in search of better opportunities in the entertainment industry and migrated to Paris, France to pursue acting while she waited for her Canadian permanent residence visa to be processed.
However, things did not turn out as expected in Paris, and she found herself homeless for several days, before meeting a Catholic priest who took her to a shelter. A few months later, her visa was approved, and she moved to Canada to live with her mother Marisa Moyo, a registered nurse and businesswoman, and her younger brother Tanaka. Tash appeared in several short films, and did several commercials for different companies. She received the Best Artistic Achievement gong at the 2016 edition of the Zimbabwe International Film Festival.
While in 2018, she was nominated for the Best Film award at the Zulu African Film Academy Awards.