Dissatisfied by the support the local film industry is getting from government and other stakeholders, concerned filmmakers have organised a symposium to discuss challenges facing the industry.
The filmmakers, drawn from different regions of the country, have raised questions over government’s laissez-faire attitude towards the industry despite its potential to contribute to the country’s economic development.
Through the symposium slated for January 11 at Crown Hotel in Lilongwe, the group will also seek to find ways to improve the effectiveness of other organisations that are already working in the local film industry.
One of the organisers of the symposium, Isaac Misoya said they feel let down by the interest shown by the government to promote arts. He said government appears more interested to promote sports and has little interest in arts.
“We have encountered different challenges in filmmaking. So, instead of quitting, we thought of working on solutions to get around these problems. At the moment, we feel like orphans who do not have anywhere to turn to,” he said.
Misoya said Filmmakers Association of Malawi (Fama) and other passionate individuals are doing their best to uplift the standards of the industry and change the perception that people have for the sector.
He said: “We plan to have a meeting with government so that we are appraised on what they think they can contribute to change the status quo. As much as we do not want to put the blame squarely on one entity, but filmmakers are not happy in this country.”
Other filmmakers, who are part of this initiative, include Ian Chisekula, Jevasi Mchitakupha, Kalonga Chiyembekezo, Kendall Kamwendo, Cathy Lomoni, Brazio Mathias, John Nguluwe, Edmond Kadzamira, Harriet Malili and Mervin Mbwana.
Fama president Eziaus Mkandawire said it is good that a lot of players in the industry are showing interest to help and improve the industry rather than leaving the whole responsibility on one entity.
“Fama is not the industry. It is just an organisation within the industry. With our small membership our contribution is very limited to make the kind of influence and impact that we wish we did,” he said.
South Africa’s actress Connie Chiume, who was in the country recently, also bemoaned the lack of support from government and the corporates despite the local industry’s potential. Malawi’s film industry continues to play second fiddle to other countries in the region, including Zambia whose productions continue to dominate the digital satellite television channel Zambezi Magic.