Two weeks ago, Malawi’s leading female actress Flora Suya’s movie My Mother’s Story won an award at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival in California, United States (US). My Mother’s Story was recognised in the Special Recognition Awards, notably in the category of Achievement in Narrative Feature Film, together with another African production from Ghana. Premièred in May, the 90-minute movie chronicles the life of a young lady who falls pregnant by a garden boy who later abandons her. She meets a man who falls for her. He changes her life until when the husband dies suddenly. YVONIE SUNDU engaged Suya (FS) on the award.
YS: How does it feel to come back home after winning an award at the first ever international film festival your movie My Mother’s Story has participated?
FS: I feel blessed and I am so overwhelmed for winning the award. It is not just for me, but Malawi as a country.
YS: What does the award mean to you?
FS: It means a lot to me because it is proof that I am on the right track and that I need to do more and produce good quality movies that can compete against other movies on the international level.
YS: How do you intend to proceed with the movie?
FS: I want to promote the movie and try to make it available to movie lovers by opening more outlets where people can buy it. Demand for it is now high.
YS: Any possibility of taking the movie to other international film festivals?
FS: I am planning to submit it to as many film festivals as possible. I will particularly target those where I know my movie qualifies as per specifications and categories.
YS: How do you intend to take advantage of your award to advance the film industry in Malawi?
FS: Now that I have proved to myself that I can do it, I would like to shoot more films and try to work with other filmmakers who would be willing to work with me to achieve better results and to impart the little knowledge that I have in filmmaking.
YS: How do you intend to move forward as a movie maker?
FS: I want to do more productions that not only target Malawi, but the entire continent. The award is a breakthrough. It gives me energy to do more in my next productions as an actress, script writer and director. It has surely proved to me that I can do more than My Mother’s Story.
YS: Does this mean there are movies or productions in the offing from you?
FS: I am working on television series and my next feature film. The film is titled Dear Pen-pal and the series is called Spouses and Workmates. Dear Pen-pal features Tapiwa Gwaza, Ebony Phiri, George Misinde and Chiyanjano Muheziwa [Annie Matumbi] and the supporting actors are Panacea Phiri, Paul Chibambo, Yankho Seunda and Kimberly Msanyama, among others.
I wrote it and co-directed it with Blessings Suya. The storyline looks at how a couple’s destiny is changed by an envious man who cheats the woman into believing that he is the man she is in love with. Spouses and Workmates is written and directed by myself and Max Chiphinga. It will start showing this month on Times Television and features the same actors. It is about the drama and the scandals that take place in relationships within homes and work places
YS: What are your parting words?
FS: I would like to thank my team of My Mother’s Story for the job well done. The award is for us all and it is for Malawi. I appreciate the support and words of encouragement I get from my friends and fans. Let me also thank Honourable [David] Bisnowatty for making it possible for me to be in California. Without him, surely, I would have missed the event and exposure that I have managed to get. I have had interactions, sharing experiences with some of the great actors and I know, from all this, I have learnt a lot. n