Malawi’s got potential

Budding filmmaker Gilbert Moyo has just broken into the movie industry with his debut film, 16 Bars. The 71-minute film about hip-hop and HIV and Aids is scheduled for release this year. Gilbert shared his experience on the movie and the movie industry in general with The Nation’s ERIC MTEMANG’OMBE.

 

Moyo: We want to develop the film industry from the roots

Q: First give us your brief introduction?

A

: Gilbert Moyo is a passionate artist who lives and breathes drama. People identify me with my profession as a lecturer at Malawi Institute of Journalism, but art has been part of me since my secondary school days. So, in short, Gilbert Moyo is a servant of art.

Q

: What was your motivation for venturing into film production?

A

: It has always been my dream to be part of the film industry since watching Sarafina at a young age. It was at Madisi Secondary School in the early 2000s when I took an interest in drama by joining the school’s drama club. When I enrolled at The Polytechnic to pursue journalism, this passion grew. It was during this time that I wrote plays for Student Christian Organisation of Malawi (Scom) drama and hence I took the nickname Scom Drama Moyo. Time flew and I completed my studies, but the dream did not die. In short, God called me to use my art to show people his love.

Q

:  What was the inspiration for the film 16 Bars?

A

: 16 Bars started as a simple conversation between me, Dalitso Chimombo (He plays Fundo), and Zephaniah Chavula (Plays WaLu-K). These guys are musicians so they asked me to write a short film about music. It was exciting at first but we had no storyline. Then one day, the story came as I thought of the plight of the youth in this country, especially in the ghetto. I thought of how cases of child defilement are on the rise in Malawi. I also had help from Seven ‘O’ More, who is both a producer of the film and an artist in his own right.

Q

: What have you learned in the course of production of this film?

A

: I have learnt that you must have money before you make a film. The project drained me financially and I am recovering now. The Nation was right in its review of the movie that the plot felt rushed and that was because we skipped some scenes because of time. I also learnt that Malawi’s film industry has talent because the actors and actresses were amazing. Lastly, I have learned that we need to stop working in isolation. We can achieve more together.

Q

: How has the experience influenced your future plans?

A

:  Right now I want to work in a group therefore I have teamed up with Aram Nyondo, Isaac Mafuel and others to form a Screenwriters Guild. We want to develop the film industry from the roots and that is story telling. So we will release a short film this year and I am also writing scripts for Hastings Golosi (Hago) for his video clips. In the long run, I see myself going into arts full time.

Q

: What’s your brief assessment of the film industry in Malawi?

A

:  The Malawi film industry has talent. Shemu Joya and Joyce Mhango Chavula are our evidence. However, Malawi does not know of people like Khama Mbaula who directed a series called Moyo Wathu. We also have Boniface Msunje and Gift Moyo of Tek media who did an amazing job on 16 bars. Let us not belittle ourselves.

Q

:  Do you have any last words?

A

:  My fellow Malawians support us. With you we can beat Nollywood and give you what you want. n

 

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