Blind Ambition takes us along with Joseph, Marlvin, Pardon and Tinashe, four Zimbabwean men now living in South Africa, as they prepare to head to the World Wine Blind Tasting Championships as their country?s first wine tasting team. Even though the documentary is about them preparing for a competition that none of them imagined that they would be participating in, the film sheds light on xenophobia and other hardships that they faced as refugees and, in doing so, moves from a film just about Zimbabwe?s first wine tasters to a story about perseverance and hope.
A Zimbabwean wine tasting team may sound very new to people, but I?m just as surprised that there?s such a thing as a global wine tasting competition. It can seem so frivolous to someone like myself outside of it. Honestly, it feels like something that someone who has the luxury of even finding interest in wine would do as opposed to an event that would be open to someone who has had to flee a bad economic situation and lived as a refugee. So, it?s mind boggling that these men–some of whom had never tasted wine before they moved to South Africa–somehow became so interested in it that they would spend time learning to differentiate its various kinds and eventually compete against people who always had access to it.
I will admit here that before I watched the film, I wondered what the big deal was. I thought it was amazing that the four men were going to be representing Zim at this global competition, but as I alluded to before, it wasn?t something I knew about prior or that seemed ?meaningful? to me. So, I was pleasantly surprised when: the film showed me how much work it actually is to analyze the contents of wine and how it?s not just something that you do for fun. Instead, I saw how these men used wine to turn their lives around and create new life experiences not just for themselves but for their families and new opportunities for their communities. At the end, we see that two of them start making their own wine, another helps raises $3 million to build children?s libraries across Asia and Africa, and another moved to Europe and opens a business where he imports African wine. One of them says in the film, ?the change won?t come from politicians. We are the change,? and because that?s a rhetoric I stand by, it humbled me and allowed me to see what they were doing. All four of them love wine and are great at working with it, despite their backgrounds, and all four of them love Zimbabwe, so all four of them use the positions that wine has put them in to create waves that would positively impact the country.
This is how a nation is changed by the every day person.
Blind Ambition is available in the following markets on the following dates.
Toronto – October 7
St. Catharines – October 12
London – October 14
Barrie Film Festival – Oct 20-23
Vancouver – October 21 Devour! Food Film Festival
Halifax – Oct 27
Windsor Int?l Film Festival – Oct 27