Tatenda's O-1 Artist Visa

So there we were, young film students rehearsing how to hand Oscars out to artists we admired. That’s me at the back, trying not to drop the Oscar, because it's super heavy!

No seriously, five years ago, I was a struggling film student in LA who unexpectedly won Seth MacFarlane’s video competition and ended up at the Oscars and on the news.

So what, you ask? That’s old news, you say?

Yes, I know. Well, the new news is that I’m now a struggling filmmaker in Los Angeles. I need your help to raise $6560 by September 15, 2018 for my artist visa so I can stay and work in the United States. 

I really don’t feel comfortable asking for help like this, but things are pretty critical.

My First Feature Film

After all my 2013 Oscar buzz died down, I tried to work and get sponsorship in the USA but it just didn’t work out. No money. No visa. I drove up to Canada to leave before my visa expired. Then I ended up back in Zimbabwe in 2015.

Those two years and 9 months were bittersweet because I was back living in my mother’s dilapidated house, but on the other hand I really pushed myself to make my first feature film, Zim High featuring Rick Cosnett (The Flash/Vampire Diaries/Quantico).


In 2017, I won the Best Director of the Year at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival and I couldn’t have done that without the help of the Zim High cast and crew and all the amazing people who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/zim-high-the-first-african-teen-movie-ever#/.
It was very tough, considering the economic and political challenges in the country, but I learnt so much from making art in that environment. You just have to push on!

In September 2017, the super-supportive United States Embassy in Zimbabwe gave me a grant to return to America to show Zim High at festivals, and schools and hopefully get it sold. The grant also allowed me to travel to Japan to shoot some scenes for Zim High, and promote it to Japanese audiences. I was followed by a documentary crew from TV Tokyo (Japan's BBC) who I serendipitously met at the airport. 


After coming back from Japan, sales company Flourishing Films signed on to represent Zim High, which is great; but I need to be in the US to take advantage of opportunities that arise from potential sales. This fundraising campaign is my way to ask for support from family and people who have known me and my work all these years, and total strangers who want to support African Filmmaking!

I really want to advance my career, and master film, television, and performing, and get authentic African stories seen globally – and being able to work in the US is crucial to that goal. 

The Numbers

Legal Services Fee: $2300
SAG-AFTRA Union Fees: $250
NWU Union Fees: $500 (Fees to be determined)
PGA Union Fees: $500
DGA Union Fees: $250
USCIS processing fee: $460

2nd Legal Services Fee (Upon Approval): $2300

TOTAL: $6560

I am working on a second film about all the visa drama African people and other "Aliens" experience from the perspective of a comedian, it's called African Alien and getting this visa is also an important step in being able to make the film!  

Thank you so much for your support!


  • Renata Sancken 
    • $25 
    • 17 mos
  • Rose Zonetti 
    • $15 
    • 17 mos
  • Rachel Hart  
    • $20 
    • 17 mos
    • $100 
    • 17 mos
  • Kynan Dias 
    • $20 
    • 17 mos
See all


Tatenda Mbudzi 
Los Angeles, CA
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