A local short film titled Under a Heavy Rock has won the Best Short Film at this year’s International Focus on Ability Awards.
The awards, organised in Australia, saw local filmmaker Martin Mkandawire walking away with A$5 000 ( about K3.7 million).
In an interview, Mkandawire said his win is encouraging as he profiled a talented artist with a disability Chris Chayera.
“My short film is titled Under a Heavy Rock because although Chris is talented, his talent is not fully appreciated as he lacks exposure,” he said.
Mkandawire said when he learnt about the competition, he struggled to find a person with disabilities to profile until he met Chayera on social media.
“Chayera paints beautiful portraits using the mouth. He has no limbs, but this has not stopped him from exhibiting talent,” he said.
The up-and-coming filmmaker disclosed that he is self taught and this project is his second.
The Natural Resources College student said he is inspired to do more even after finishing his studies.
Mkandawire’s film beat five other short films to claim the top spot.
In an earlier interview, executive director of Focus on Ability Society MacDonald Nyirenda, who coordinates the competition locally, said the development proves that Malawi has got talent.
“This is the first time that a Malawian short film has won the international award and this signals growth. We are very happy,” he said.
Nyirenda said there were 26 entries this year and the local committee chose two as the local winners before registering them for the international competition.
“The unique thing about these awards is that we do not only award the filmmakers, but also the persons with disabilities featured in the movies,” he said.
The movie has so far been given to The Great Dominion TV. The filmmaker plans to share it with other local television stations so that Malawians can appreciate Chayera’s story and the talent that he possesses.
The Focus on Ability short film awards are organised to expose and celebrate the abilities and talents of persons with disabilities and promote up-and-coming filmmakers.