It started smaller than the virus that causes Aids, but the moving story of child-headed families in Malawi is literally growing faster than its creators anticipated.
Grown Too Quick, a bilingual movie directed by Kwacha Media co-founder Kalumbu Kapisa, has been nominated for the prestigious Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival to be held in Qatar this month.
According to Aljazeera website, the eighth edition of the festival in Doha, the capital of the oil-rich country, will showcase 140 films in three categoriesâ€”short, medium and long movies â€”from April 19 to 22.
And Kalumbu’s 48-minute tale of HIV and Aids-related orphanhood must outshine 65 other medium films to bring the award home.
The South Africa -based director told Chill in an e-mail Grown Too Quick will take the world head on with the undercurrent of denial and parentless children amid the multibillion kwacha war against HIV and Aids.
“The pandemic has killed a lot of Malawians and the culture of denial is alive as most people believe that it doesn’t affect them.Â Yet, the country has an increased number of children as young as six who have to fend for themselves and their families as their parents succumb to HIV and Aids,â€ said Kalumbu.
Through the gripping realities of Francis’ child-headed family, the film not only depicts how orphans are “growing up fast without enjoying their childhood”â€”but also how HIV and Aids has broken down the extended family structures in the country.
“It is children like Francis who are worst hit. They are expected to continue where their parents failed them and carry the torch for their siblings to move forward,” said Kapisa, who worked with South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (Sabc).
He co-founded Kwacha Media with South African Lesego Kodisang in 2005.
Inaugurated in 2005 by Aljazeera network board chairperson Sheikh Hamad Bin Thamir Al-Thani, the upcoming festivals seeks to be a place where filmmakers from different countries and cultures meet to celebrate creative talent and encourage a cultural interest in documentary films.
“The festival continues its purpose of “Unity in Diversity”; discussing the challenges the world faces and ways to overcome them,” reads the festivalâ€™s website (www.festival.aljazeera.net).
It envisions leaving behind a unique stamp of originality and professionalism in the movie industry.