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Filmmaker Natasha Heschélle Discusses Her Journey to Creating Zahara & Getting Accepted into Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Program. Read more...
Natasha Heschélle unveils debut EP ZIMBABWEAN born-Canadian actress, writer and producer Natasha “Tash” Heschelle says she was pleased to release her debut three-track Extended Play (EP) titled Imagineas she continues to explore her artistry. Read more on Newsday
Natasha Heschélle promotes forthcoming film with EP CANADA-based actor and filmmaker Natasha Heschélle is set to release a three-track EP titled Imagine as a way of promoting a film that she is producing. Read more on Chronicle
- Thrive Global
Natasha Heschélle: “I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to cry” I was bullied in high school by the people who I considered my friends. They had so many horrible things to say about me, and I ended up believing those things. That really ruined my self esteem, which in turn affected my dreams of being an entertainer. Took me years, and a lot of failures, tears, love and support to get my confidence back. Read more on Thrive Global
- Hollywood North Magazine
Talent on Tap – Natasha Heshélle – From Zimbabwe to The Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative I love a great story and often want to know the origins of them. Are they based on truth, myth or is it completely fictional? If it’s fantasy, horror or supernatural, then we can assume it’s based-on folklore, a fable or a writer with an incredibly creative mind. There is an amazing story in all of us but not everyone is equipped to tell it the way it deserves to be told. A writer, actor and director all play a key part in projecting that story onto a screen that portrays the story after years of planning, financing, shooting, editing, then marketing the project onto that final destination – the screen! As an Indy filmmaker, you must be prepared to wear multiple hats to bring your vision to life. You must be prepared for things to go wrong, dates to change, financing to fall through, hidden unexpected costs and for scheduling conflicts. As an audience, we are able to appreciate the final project and tip of the iceberg in terms of the thousands of hours and man/woman power in getting it done. Many viewers really don’t realize or fathom the amount of work that goes into each production. For new filmmakers venturing into the realm of producing a new film, they can find it intimidating, daunting, scary and too far outside their wheelhouse to even continue. Luckily there are filmmakers that live, eat and sleep film and stories. They have the gumption, the moxie and determination to bring the right people together to create movie magic. One young budding filmmaker that’s still fairly new to the scene is Zimbabwe born and Canadian actor, Natasha Heschélle. She caught the performing bug at the age of 7 and has been pursuing acting and more recently, writing, directing and producing. Since making her professional acting debut, Heschélle has appeared in commercials, film, and TV projects. Committed to the direction of her craft, Heschélle is careful with her choices and doesn’t waiver. It’s important to be heard. Part of the reason for becoming a filmmaker was to create projects for actors that look like her, roles that are respectful, challenging and purposeful. Natasha has been accepted into the The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative. The program is a national training and access program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color creators and producers. “I am so very honored to be accepted into the The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative.” In this business, it really helps if you’re likeable and Natasha won me over with her beautiful smile and incredible candor. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to her and I look forward to sharing our conversation. HNMAG “I know that you’ve been very busy lately, what are you currently working on? NATASHA “I just finished filming a music video. It’s my first time as a music artist, so it was very exciting and I didn’t know what to expect. My team was really helpful and I learned a lot. Currently, I’m focusing on pitching my TV show.” HNMAG “You discovered your inner entertainer at the age of 7, when you beat out the older competition, dancing to Destiny’s Child. Do you still remember that performance?” NATASHA “I do, it was the best time ever. It was the first time I had the courage to get on a stage. I come from Zimbabwe and anything to do with the arts is not encouraged for your children, which made it difficult for me… but it was my passion. That day, I snuck out of the house to go and compete at the dance competition… and I won against older kids (16, 17). I was so proud of myself and was telling my grandmother. Although she was happy for me, she told me it was the last time I was doing that.” HNMAG “I know that you’ve since pursued professional training for acting. Could you tell me where you attended?” NATASHA “I attended Seneca College for the – Acting for TV and Camera Program in 2015 after a couple of months of arriving in Canada. To be honest, when I started the acting classes, it was really nerve wracking because I was so new and I was so afraid of being different. My mother had to push me to get outside of my comfort zone and work on my confidence… and I did. At first it was tough, I’m naturally a shy person but in getting to know the people, they were very nice and my teachers helped me a lot, especially with my confidence. I met some new friends and it’s been a great experience.” HNMAG “You’re pursuing filmmaking/writing to bring your voice and represent a demographic that is more like yourself?” NATASHA “When I first arrived here, I started doing auditions, even after starting college. I had a very strong accent and it really worked against me. They stopped looking at my talent and focused on what I looked like and what I sounded like. Although I understand why they want someone to sound North American, I think it’s sad because I can’t help the way I sound. I said to myself, I’m going to help people like this, which is why I created this TV show and started writing short films. I want to show that, even if an actor has a strong accent, we can still create something good.” HNMAG “Can you tell me what you’ve been writing?” NATASHA “I’m just starting and made my writing debut in 2019. I’ve written a couple short films and a 3-part web-series. It’s also a pitch concept for this show that I’m writing right now. It’s available on Prime Video and even though we had no budget, it’s doing very well at film festivals and I’m very proud of it. It’s called Zahara – the Return and is a supernatural/romance/drama about a forbidden love with a supernatural history that spans centuries. It’s a little bit like Romeo and Juliet with a supernatural twist.” HNMAG “What would you say that story was inspired by?” NATASHA “I have an obsession with vampires and supernatural beings and it’s all I ever watch on TV. The first time I watched The Vampire Diaries, I thought it was very cool and I wanted to create something like this and be in a show like that – but something unique and something you don’t see on TV all the time. I came up with a story that combines The Vampire Diaries and Romeo and Juliet together to create something cool.” HNMAG “When you consider new story ideas, do you often consider if there is a similar story that you might be competing with or is it important to have your own original ideas that nobody else is considering?” NATASHA “When I started making films, I wanted to do something different. When you watch TV, you see similar stories but at the same time they’re different. I really wanted to create something from scratch and I really like to be unique.” HNMAG “Are there filmmakers or actresses that inspire you?” NATASHA “To be honest, it’s not just 1 person. When I watch TV and see a great movie or story, I get inspired by it. I’m watching the talented actors and I’m thinking, I really want to be able to do that. Observing talented actors and the entire process of making a film, as well as creating something so amazing. I think that is what really inspires me.” HNMAG “Will you be continuing with the development of the series?” NATASHA “I want to continue the series and I’ve been accepted into the The Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative. I was one of 100 people selected and the program provides us the opportunity to talk to big production companies, studios, people in the industry and we might have an opportunity to pitch our stories to potential buyers. I’m currently working on perfecting my pitch, taking pitching classes to better pitch my show and I’m really hoping to be able to sell it this time. I have a pitch bible as well as a video that showcases the tone and style of the show, complete with character breakdowns, future episodes and running time. I’m also considering which network is best suited for a show like this. I’m still doing a lot of research and want to be as prepared as possible.” HNMAG “You had mentioned that your grandmother was not very supportive of you pursuing a career in entertainment. How encouraging is your mom?” NATASHA “She’s been so supportive and she has been the one that pushes me to go to my auditions. She’s funded some of my short films and has been there for me every step of the way. I don’t believe I could’ve done what I’ve done if it wasn’t for her.” HNMAG “When you’re up on stage accepting an award for a film, will you be thanking your mom?” NATASHA “I’m probably going to thank my mom and give her the award because she did most of the work (laughing). I will be thanking her for the rest of my life. She’s been so good throughout this entire process and has been so helpful and supportive.” HNMAG “What types of stories get you excited to be involved in?” NATASHA “It’s always something to do with the supernatural that gets me excited. If the story is great, the script is great, I’m always excited to be part of it. I’m not too crazy about commercials but sometimes you have to do them. I’m also not too crazy about theatre but I have danced on stage. I would however be in a play if the opportunity was there.” HNMAG “You have three sources of transportation. A train, a plane or a hot-air balloon to travel 100 miles. Which would you choose?’ NATASHA “(Laughing) I would probably take a train because I’d have time to take out my laptop and start working. I have a little brother at home, so I don’t get the opportunity. I actually have to run away from him to be able to get work done. I would definitely take a train to have that time to myself.” Interview with Hollywood North Magazine. See more
Rising Music Star Natasha Heschélle On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry. I was bullied in high school by the people who I considered my friends. They had so many horrible things to say about me, and I ended up believing those things. That really ruined my self esteem, which in turn affected my dreams of being an entertainer. Took me years, and a lot of failures, tears, love and support to get my confidence back. Asa part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Natasha Heschélle. Natasha Heschélle is an actress, writer, dancer and producer. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe, but moved to Canada in 2014 to pursue her acting career. From a very young age, she showed great enthusiasm and talent for the arts: Dance, Modelling, Music and Acting. “I have made appearances in film and TV productions, as well as commercials, working with some incredibly talented people in the industry. I love acting; there’s something so unbelievably gratifying about playing different roles, while putting my own twist on each performance.” Heschélle performed in numerous talent shows as a child. At the age seven, she danced to Destiny’s child’s “lose my breath” in a talent show, where she won first place, beating sixteen and seventeen year old’s. Shortly after, she was called to be an entertainer in the Miss Zimbabwe modelling contest. Heschélle made her professional acting debut in 2019 and has not looked back ever since. “I’ve constantly pushed myself in order to hone my craft; from meticulously studying of very talented actors and role models, to taking on a wide variety of roles. I have and still am working hard at developing my own artistic voice, making sure that I stand out in the acting scene. I’m so fortunate to have an incredible job that I love, which both challenges me and fulfills me. Yet, none of what I do would be as meaningful to without an audience to share it with, and the support of my incredible parents”. Heschélle lives to entertain and perform, putting her heart and soul into each project that she works on, and always striving to do her best. Her artistic outputs result from a combination of experiences, training, passion and great preparation. Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up? Iwas born and raised in Zimbabwe, at a city called Bulawayo. My mother moved to Canada when I was very young, so that she could get a good job, and take care of me and the rest of the family. So I was raised by my grandmother. She took care of me and my cousins. We were all very close, and it was really fun living together. After my grandmother passed away, I decided to move to Canada to live with my mom, and to pursue my acting career. Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path? Well, I’ve always had a passion for arts ever since I was a child. Dance, music, acting. I wanted to do everything. But the problem is, back in Zimbabwe, I had a lot of challenges with my passion for arts because my family wanted me to get an education, and get a “real job”. I was constantly told that I wouldn’t be successful as entertainer because that’s not a real job. I mean, getting an education is important obviously, and I understand why family felt that way; the entertainment industry in Zimbabwe is just not the best. But the heart wanted it what it wanted, so I continued to follow my dreams. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? I’m not sure if this is funny but the first project I worked on was a movie called The Poet Professor. When it was time for the producer to pay us, he gave excuses about how his funds were being held at a bank in Tanzania, and they wouldn’t release the money because they wanted him to leave Canada and move back to Tanzania, or something that ridiculous. When the cast and crew threatened to take legal action, he pointed out that payment contracts didn’t specify when he’d pay us, so there was nothing we could do but wait. That was in 2015 I think, and no one has received their money to this day. I’m so glad I joined ACTRA. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? I’m working on a music music video. It’s my first doing a music video, and I’m working with very talented and experienced people. I’m learning a lot, and most importantly, I’m having fun because I get to dance like I don’t have a care in the world. You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure? I’d advice them not to give up. Fail, learn from your mistakes, get back up, and try again. We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture? I think diversity is very important in the entertainment industry because not only does it promote inclusion, it helps people from different backgrounds to tell their story. There’s a whole interesting world out there, and different cultures, and I think it’s important that we are all represented on screen because growing up without one’s respective representation can have negative impacts. I remember watching Black Panther for the first time, and seeing characters that not only look like me, but also speak Zulu. I speak Zulu, and I was blown away because I never thought I’d see the day I’d watch a Hollywood movie with characters that speak Zulu. I teared up, and I was also really inspired. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each. I wish someone had told me that other people’s opinions about me don’t define who I am. I was bullied in high school by the people who I considered my friends. They had so many horrible things to say about me, and I ended up believing those things. That really ruined my self esteem, which in turn affected my dreams of being an entertainer. Took me years, and a lot of failures, tears, love and support to get my confidence back. It wasn’t easy, but I guess it was a blessing in disguise because I learned a lot from that experience. I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to cry. I had this tendency of bottling up my pain because I didn’t want to appear vulnerable to other people. Now I know that crying is not only therapeutic, it’s normal because I’m human and I have feelings like everyone else. I wish someone had told me that my dark skin is beautiful. When I was growing up, everyone had this disturbing obsession with being light skinned. Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s skin is unique and beautiful, but back in the day, my friends and peers considered light skinned people beautiful, and dark skinned people ugly. To be quite honest, I started hating my dark skin as well because I thought I was ugly. It was crazy. But now I know I’m okay the way I am, and I wouldn’t change the way I look for anything in the world. I wish someone had told me that depression is a real thing. I’ve lost friends to depression, and it’s really painful and scary at the same time. But it has also taught me to check on my loved ones as often as I can. I wish someone had told me that grades don’t define us. I’ve seen people being made fun and made to feel worthless because they are not doing well in school. Everyone is good at something, and not so good at other things. That’s just life. And not being book smart doesn’t mean you won’t be successful in life. Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Funny you asked that because I’m the type of person who works non stop, until I burn out. Im way too ambitious I think, and it’s not healthy. My advice to my colleagues would be to not give up, and work hard to achieve their dreams, but also take time off to relax, spend some some time with loved, recover fully and come back stronger. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-) I’d inspire kindness through the things we do and the words we say to other people and about other people. It breaks my heart to see people suffering, so everyday, I pray for a more compassionate world now, and for generations to come. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that? Yes my parents. They have been there for me through thick and thin. They always supported me and they believed in me even at times when I didn’t believe in myself. I owe every bit of my success to them because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? “You don’t know what you’ve got til’ it’s gone” I loved her so much, but I took her presence for granted. If I could turn back the hands of time, I’d spend more time with her and give her all the love an appreciation in the world. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-) Charles Davis, Marcel in the hit TV Show The Originals. He is a very talented actor and I’m a huge fan! How can our readers follow you online? They can follow me on: Instagram: @natashaheschelle Facebook: Natasha Heschélle Twitter: @tashheschelle This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success! Thank you so much! Interview by authority magazine. See more
- Vision Newspaper
Filmmaker Natasha Heschélle Joins The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative Toronto, On – Natasha Heschélle is a Zimbabwe born, Canadian actor and filmmaker. At a very young age it was apparent to everyone that Heschélle’s talents and determination could not be contained. At seven, the budding artist entered a talent show, where she danced to Destiny’s child, winning over sixteen- and seventeen-year-old. The creative gene could not be denied and was on full display in everything the multi-talented Heschélle put her mind too. Taking in every lesson learned and molding them with her own ideas and convictions, the young actor/ filmmaker has never looked back. Since making her professional acting debut, Heschélle has appeared in commercials, film, and TV projects. Committed to the direction of her craft, Heschélle is careful with her choices and doesn’t waiver. It’s important to be heard. Part of the reason for becoming a filmmaker, was to create projects for actors that look like her, roles that are respectful, challenging and purposeful. Heschélle, has been accepted into the The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative. The program is a national training and access program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color creators and producers. Heschélle understands the importance of knowledge. The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative will listen to the voices & share knowledge that will improve and sustain the young actor/filmmaker as a valued part of the industry. A gift. “I am so very honored to be accepted into the The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative.” - Vision Newspaper
- Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative
May 12, 2021 Banff Media Festival Online ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative will jumpstart and accelerate the careers of up to 100 participants by providing full registration access to the festival, a bespoke professional development curriculum plus access to networking opportunities with key industry buyers, with a dedicated mandate to offer a portion of fellowships to francophone and women professionals. In addition, a sub-group of twenty-five (25) of the program participants will be selected to take part in the Diversity of Voices Pitch Program, through which they will receive personalized advice from high-profile industry mentors and private networking or pitching opportunities with senior international development executives. 2021 PROGRAM UPDATES: Throughout 2021, a stark light has been shone on the systemic inequities and racism that Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities continue to face throughout society, including in the film and television industry. Although diversity, inclusion, and representation are continuous priorities in BANFF’s content and fellowships programs, we can and intend to do more to champion meaningful change and support these underrepresented communities. In this spirit, the 2021 edition of the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative will be open exclusively to candidates who identify as being from one or more racially diverse groups, such as African, Black, Caribbean, East Asian, First Nations, Inuit, Latinx, Métis, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, South Asian, and Western Asian. Now entering its fourth year, the Diversity of Voices Initiative was designed to offer a professional springboard for francophone, Indigenous, and women creators and producers from across Canada. We will continue the program’s mandate to support these communities, but with an intersectional focus. The 2021 edition of the program will be especially seeking applications from francophone candidates of colour, Indigenous candidates, and women candidates of colour, as well as candidates of colour of all genders. Read more...
- BLOOD IN THE SNOW CANADIAN FILM FESTIVAL
- In Style Magazine
ZIMBABWE-born Canadian actress, model and film producer Natasha “Tash” Heschelle has opened up about being a victim of bullying during her teenagehood. In a recent interview with Standard Style, Heschelle said after all the years, she still has a lot of insecurities she fights through every day and this has motivated her to embark on initiatives to raise awareness towards fighting bullying and suicide. “I was bullied in high school because of my looks and just who I was. Those I considered my friends made my life unbearable from spreading false and nasty rumours about me, they ganged up on me, called me names and all that nonsense, and everyone thought I was that horrible person,” she said. “They went out of their way to make fun of me for who I was, most things I had no control over for their own amusement. They posted hurtful things on social media [Facebook] about me and it hurt like hell. This led me to making poor choices, being laughed at even more and plunging into severe depression.” The 23-year-old multi-talented actress said she was not looking for sympathy, but just gathered courage to share her story as she knows people who committed suicide because of being bullied. “When I realised that being bitter was not going to get me anywhere, I decided to build an emotional wall to shield my tender little heart from all the pain,” she said. “My confidence was absolutely destroyed, and as someone who was interested in the entertainment industry, this basically meant that I was screwed. I hated myself, felt unworthy, hell I even questioned God. “Imagine how much pain and suffering a person has to go through for them to actually decide that being dead is so much better? Some people are strong enough to get over it, some are not. I started working on me. I went to the gym, ate healthy, took some acting and dance classes and regained my confidence with a vengeance.” Heschelle said she was labelled a prostitute, but has walked out of it stronger. “Kids can be so mean. I don’t know if they realise that bullying someone can take an emotional toll on them. Some people don’t walk out of this at all, they commit suicide and leave pain and suffering for their loved ones,” she said.“Not to brag, but I am living the dream. I am young, my acting career is taking off. I run a successful business. I make six figures.” Heschelle said she was open for partnership with those who share the same vision with her to raise awareness towards fighting bullying and suicide. The actress said her life story had been that of determination and sacrifice as 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. Heschelle’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, Heschelle left Zimbabwe at the age of 16 in search of better opportunities in the entertainment industry. She migrated to Paris, France, to pursue acting while awaiting 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 meetinga 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. Heschelle 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. Two years ago she was nominated for the Best Film award at the Zulu African Film Academy Awards. https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2020/10/25/i-was-bullied-because-of-my-looks-heschelle/
- TORONTO WEB FEST
Natasha Heschélle wins IPF PITCH PIT at TO Webfest 2020. Read more
‘Without your Love’ is the second single to come from young actress Natasha Heschélle. A danceable love ballad, ‘Without Your Love’ was written as part of her Zahara: The Return series which is available on Amazon Prime. Written in tangent with her producer, this single channels idols Beyoncé and Whitney Houston with her smooth R&B sound. Zimbabwean born-Canadian actress Natasha Heschélle has been involved in the arts all her life, showing a talent for self-expression through acting and modelling. Natasha Heschélle fuses her love of old school R&B and Pop with her talent for self-expression. https://www.flavourmag.co.uk/natasha-heschelle-releases-video-for-latest-single-without-your-love/
- Essentially Pop
The second single from actress Natasha Heschélle, ‘Without Your Love’ is a love ballad that is at the same time a full on dance groove. The track is the follow up to ‘Can’t Nobody Bring Me Down’, which she released earlier this year. ‘Without Your Love’ was written as a part of the Canadian TV series, ‘Zahara: The Return’, which can be seen on Amazon Prime. ‘Without Your Love’ is pure pop, and super catchy. Written by Natasha, alongside her producer, it calls to mind the style of Whitney Houston, as well as Beyoncé, both of whom are major influences on Natasha’s music. The music video for ‘Without Your Love’ focuses mostly on Natasha singing, intersected by scenes from ‘Zahara: The Return’. Watch it below: Natasha was born in Zimbabwe but now calls Canada her home, and has been involved in The Arts for her entire life, with a particular focus on acting and modelling. Now she moves into singing, and is able to expand her self-expression, as well as her love for old school RnB music, and pop. You can find out more about Natasha Heschélle online on her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Listen to more of Natasha’s music on Spotify. - Essentially Pop
Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent ZIMBABWE-born actress Natasha Heschélle, wants to change the narrative about the supernatural as she has taken up the lead role as a black druid in her TV series, Zahara: The Return which is airing on Amazon Prime. The Canada-based producer, director, model and singer, born Natasha Chipo Mutungwazi, has set her sights on fighting racism in Hollywood through her productions. According to Natasha, the story explores the history of slavery and racism, and the tensions between a white supernatural world and a supernatural world of colour as an ancient black druid rekindles her forbidden love with the son of her former master. The show stars Natasha, Hannah Scot, Curtis Morgan and Dennis Nimoh. A druid fights evil and Natasha plays the lead character of Helen Harris. Natasha said the supernatural dramas and movies had predominantly white lead characters and this is what she wanted to change. “Well I created this show to fight racism in Hollywood. I’ve always loved supernatural teen dramas like Buffy, TVD etc and I’ve always wanted to act in those shows. But then I realised that all of them had white female lead characters and the few black people in the cast are always light skinned, because those kinds of black people are what the world considers beautiful,” said Natasha. Born and raised in Bulawayo, the former Masiyephambli College pupil said the reason she came up with the show was to give black people an opportunity on the silver screen. “My series has a majority black cast because I want to give black people the opportunity to show the world that we are just as good and as beautiful as all other races. In short, my series celebrates black people all over the world,” said Natasha. The road to where she is has not been rosy as Natasha has once been homeless as she struggled to make ends meet, after leaving Zimbabwe in 2014 to reunite with her mother who is in Canada. “When I left Zimbabwe, I was 16 and travelled to France hoping to get into acting school there. However, things didn’t go as planned. I had major setbacks, I had no money and I ended up being homeless and lived in a shelter there. But then, when the Canadian visa was approved I moved there and live with my mother,” said Natasha. When she arrived in Canada, she enrolled at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology where she studied acting for camera and voice graduating in 2016. Thereafter she set up her company Heschélle Entertainment. “I got a job at Wendy’s a fast food restaurant thereafter working and the little money that I made as well as my mother’s support it pushed me through college and after two years I graduated with a diploma,” said Natasha. She then worked on Zahara and through her company distributed it to Amazon and the series got the nod. It premiered in March.
- TO Web Fest
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.
CANADA-BASED actress Natasha Heschélle (NH) is grabbing the limelight as she stars in a television series watched on Amazon Prime, an American multinational conglomerate technology company. In an interview with H-Metro reporter Desmond Munemo (DM), she revealed other artistic traits, which has made her a versatile entertainer. Read on… DM: Who is Natasha Heschélle? NH: My name is Natasha Chipo Mutungwazi, but I’m known professionally as Natasha Heschélle. From a very young age, i showed great enthusiasm and talent for the arts: dance, modelling, music and acting. I produced ‘Am the creator’ and star of the award winning web series Zahara: The return, currently streaming on Amazon prime UK and US. DM: When did you start your career? NH: I started my career when I was about six years old and I performed in numerous talent shows as a child, and I was also called to be an entertainer in the Miss Zimbabwe modelling contest in 2006. DM: What is the Zahara series all about? NH: The story explores the history of slavery and racism, and the tensions between a white supernatural world and a supernatural world of colour as an ancient black Druid rekindles her forbidden love with the son of her former master. It stars myself, Hannah Scot, Curtis Morgan, Dennis Nimoh and other cast DM- How do you manage to handle being a singer, dancer, actress and writer at the same time? NH: I always try to find a balance between acting, dancing and all by making time for each of my talents and taking up gigs that require at least one of them. It’s not easy, but it’s fun because it’s my passion and I don’t see myself doing anything else. DM: Any challenges in the arts industry? NH: The most challenging thing is being new in a competitive industry where nobody knows you. I got rejected so many times than I’d like to count. But my series finally gave me a breakthrough. DM: What have you achieved so far? NH: My single was released on April 10, 2020 and we already won 3 Gold Movie Awards. We’ve also been selected to screen at one of the biggest web series festivals in Canada called Toronto Webfest DM: What are your future prospects? NH: Currently own an entertainment company called Heschélle entertainment, and my goal is to grow it a big movie production and distribution company. I’m working hard on making this happen. DM:Thank you for your time Natasha. NH:Thank you for the time as well.
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- TO webfest 2020
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Zimbabwe-born, Canadian-resident Natasha Heschélle, who was once homeless on the streets of Paris, has now produced a new web series that merges many genres. From being a migrant worker in Paris to sleeping at a shelter run by a Catholic priest, Natasha Heschélle’s career has taken her through some of life’s most uncertain experiences. Now a film producer and actress in North America, her inaugural series, Zahara – The Return, premiered in April on Amazon Prime Videos, reaching viewers in the United States far from her country of birth, Zimbabwe. Heschélle says her life story has been that of determination and sacrifice. Like most of her countrymen, hers too started with separation from her family. Her mother, Marisa Moyo, left the country at the height of President Robert Mugabe’s misrule in 2004, and found a new home in Canada. “I was seven when my mother left. Her move helped send me to a good school and take care of the rest of the family. I lived a privileged life compared to my peers. I could afford going shopping in South Africa and Botswana; only the privileged few could do this.” Most Zimbabweans at this stage were living in penury but the worst was to come in 2008. Heschélle often skipped school to attend dance classes, leaving her family unimpressed. “When my grandmother died, I suffered severe depression and this worsened as my dreams of becoming a dancer were not materializing. I decided to move to Canada to live with my mom. During the application period, I temporarily moved to Paris in 2013 with the plan to work and pay for my dancing classes.” That plan didn’t work. “I ended up homeless and on the streets as I ran out of money with no job, until a priest took me into a shelter where I lived for three months. For a week, I slept at Gare du Nord street in central Paris and with no basic French language skills, things could not be any better. I had to wait until my Canadian documents came out in 2014 when my mom paid for my air ticket,” she recollects. Once in the Land of Maple Syrup, her dreams started taking shape. “I got a job, went to acting school, the Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, along the way landing my first acting role as a supporting actress in a film produced by a Tanzanian. Unfortunately, that movie was not aired due to the producer refusing to pay casting staff.” Heschélle drew inspiration from her mother. “My role model is my mother; she is the strongest person I have ever met. She pushes me not to give up. Through her support, I produced my own television series.” Her television drama, Zahara – The Return, is a three-part romance web series, which showcases rebellion and racial tensions. The 23-year-old even has advice for budding filmmakers. “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.” Says the University of Free State’s Film Studies Professor and film critic, Nyasha Mboti, about the series: “It is a merging of genres playing on racial politics and the horror genre. For black people, the horror genre is increasingly holding an emerging fascination due to the fact that their lives blur the line between horror and biopic, tragedy and comedy, and highlight that there is a thin line between horror and everyday life. “Black directors, in order to have cross-over appeal, are starting more and more to fictionalize and stylise the racialised horror of everyday life, turning it into a genre that audiences can enjoy.” – By Trust Matsilele
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Zimbabwean born actress making waves in Canada with new TV series A Zimbabwean born actress living in Canada, Natasha Heschélle, is making waves with an upcoming TV series, “Zahara: The Return” that’s set to air in the United States in 2020. A Zimbabwean born actress living in Canada, Natasha Heschélle, is making waves with an upcoming TV series, “Zahara: The Return” that’s set to air in the United States in 2020. The show also dubbed “The Black Vampire Show”, stars Heschélle whose own company, Heschélle Entertainment is producing the TV series. According to the IMDb online database listing; “The story explores the history of slavery and racism, and the tensions between a white supernatural world and a supernatural world of colour as an ancient black Druid rekindles her forbidden love with the son of her former master.” The cast includes Curtis Morgan, Dennis Nimoh, Hannah Scott, Justine Christensen, Anna Nadtotchii and Christine L. Nguyen and Heschélle who plays the role of Helen Harris. Natasha says she changed her surname to Heschélle because she was tired of people asking her how her last name (Mutungwazi) is pronounced. A scene from Zahara the Return starring Natasha Heschélle The name Heschélle was actually inspired by her favorite Cricket player Herschelle Gibbs (who plays for the Proteas). She just changed the name to make it sound more feminine. Natasha who speaks fluent Ndebele says she loves sports, especially Soccer, Rugby and Cricket. Her favorite teams are Brazil (soccer), Springboks (rugby) and Proteas (Cricket). Neymar Jr is her favorite athlete. If she wasn’t an actress, she would want to be a cricket player. She performed in numerous talent shows as a child, taking part in dance, modelling, music and acting. At the age of seven, Natasha danced to Destiny’s Child’s “Lose my Breath” in a talent show, where she won first place, beating sixteen and seventeen year old’s. Shortly after she was called to perform at the Miss Zimbabwe contest in 2006. She’s been booking mostly commercials, and has stated that although it pays the bills, it’s not what she wants to do. To get around this Natasha now writes stuff to create work for herself because the only roles she ever gets sent to audition for are the “black girl ghetto” roles and she always turns them down.
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