The story of Malawi’s movie industry keeps evolving. In the past few years, Malawian film-makers have produced a good number of movies such as The Designer, The Last Fishing Boat, and Seasons of A Life, among others.
Joining the team of talented Malawians who have shown interest in growing the movie industry is renowned writer, Lawrence Kadzitche, author of the fictitious Chichewa Katakwe series that appear in the Weekend Nation.
Following readers’ requests for a Katakwe movie, Kadzitche has turned the newspaper series into a movie.
Speaking to Society this week, Kadzitche said Malawians should consider the movie production as “the dawn of an era of greatness”.
“I have plans to bring maturity into the movie industry. My plan is to produce movies which people can enjoy in terms of both content and quality,” he said.
Titled Tauni Siyisunga Kape, translated loosely as The City is No Place for a Fool, the 90-minute Chichewa movie has been rated suitable for all ages by the Censorship and Classification Board.
Tauni Siyisunga Kape centres on the dangers of the lure of town life.
In the movie, the main character, Katakwe, goes to town with only one thing in mind—to make money.
But all his money is stolen on arrival. Unfazed by this misfortune, Katakwe decides to stay on in the city and survive by his wits. Teaming up with Chikondi, a clever prostitute, they quickly make a lot of money. But the city’s top villain, John Gambe, learns that Katakwe has a lot of money and sets a trap to steal the cash.
Masquerading as a gold merchant, the crook succeeds in stealing the money in a series of highly orchestrated moves. But in a final twist, as Katakwe bemoans the stolen money, the criminal also finds out he ha been fooled—what he thought was money are actually pieces of paper.
It is Chikondi, who had fallen out with Katakwe, who has taken the real money.
But Chikondi does not enjoy her ill-gotten wealth as a thief steals her bag while she disembarks from a minibus.
Just as most writers who get inspiration from various sources, Kadzitche says he gets inspiration from everyday life.
“I primarily consider myself a fiction writer and I never really thought of coming up with a movie. However, for some time, people who love reading my Katakwe stories have been persuading me to come up with a movie featuring Katakwe. So, that is where it all started,” he explained.
The movie, whose production hit over K1 million, according to Kadzitche, will be premiered on March 28 at Cresta Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe and will be on the market the next day.
Produced by Willard Malolo at a new born movie production company, Martha Kadzitche Pictures, the movie has taken on board new faces on the acting stage who include Samuel Chiona, Bertha Yohane, Ted Kambuzi, Smart Paulo, Lawrence Kadzitche himself and other supporting actors.
The movie was shot in Lilongwe. The beer den seen at the opening of the movie is at Chigwirizano. Other scenes were shot in Area 47 and Area 6.
Speaking about the movie’s production experience, Kadzicthe bemoaned the lack of quality equipment, but hopes to bring change in the future.
“The challenge I faced when I started the movie project was to find good studios to handle production. I had to throw away the first three shootings I had done before because of poor production.
“So, to go around the problem, I formed my own movie production company called Martha Kadzitche Pictures. My future plans are to see Martha Kadzitche Pictures make movies on a regular basis, the way Hollywood does,” he says.