Taking the film industry higher

The film industry in Malawi is still in its infancy. However, a new phenomenon of producing series seems to be growing too fast. While this is a fully fledged industry in countries like USA and South Africa, it is quite new in Malawi. A young producer Khama Mbaula has taken on the challenge and has started producing a TV series called Moyo Wathu. Our Rewrite Analyst Eric Noel Mtemang’ombe had this interview with Mbaula for details.

Mbaula: There are good productions coming out

 

Q

: First, tell us about the background to this project.

A

: The idea of Moyo Wathu came about in late 2014 while I was still working for a local TV station, I had the urge to create something in the television industry,  The title “Moyo Wathu” came first and then the story was developed in 2015 and the first episode was released in 2016. I have great passion for filmmaking and really wanted to bring something new on the market, which was not focused on HIV/Aids or sad stories like most of the Malawian productions are, rather I wanted to create something unique and entertaining.

The plan is that after the first season written by me, we will start acquiring stories from other writers and produce them under the banner Moyo Wathu. This will create a platform for other artists to showcase their skills.

 

Q

: How did you come up with the actors for the series?

A

: When the story was developed, we had a picture of the kind of characters we would want to have in the show, from appearance to how they should deliver their lines. We then called for auditions and identified the cast. We assessed how well they delivered their lines as well as the speed at which they would memorise the scripts. A lot of talented actors and actresses have been picked and some will appear in the upcoming episodes.

 

Q

: How many episodes are already done and when should Malawians expect to watch them?

A

: Currently, we have released only one pilot episode on our YouTube and Faceboook Channels “Afritrix Pictures” and the rest of the episodes are still in production. Production has been a bit slower than intended, but things are on track. We are still shooting and editing at the moment. We chose to do the production slowly and maximize quality.

 

Q

: What challenges do you face in making these episodes?

A

: We have mostly encountered logistical problems during the production in terms of shooting locations. It is difficult to get permissions to shoot in some places. Finances have also held us back a bit since the project is solely sponsored by Afritrix Pictures. Sometimes we are forced to work on a shoe-string budget. However, we have also received support from fellow filmmakers  such as Essim of animal lab, Bitrate media, Chimwemwe Nkhata Films and Elshadai Multimedia as well as other artists Precious Kachere and Harold Kamphonje of Brainwash Records, who have done sound scoring and mixing for the whole production. We also received support from Kgomotso beauty house, who is doing make-up for our cast

 

Q

: What is your take on the progress of the film industry in Malawi?

A

: There is progress in the Malawi film industry though at a snail’s pace. There are good productions coming out and this gives hope for a vibrant film industry in the near future.

 

Q

: Do you plan to produce a movie out of the series?

A: Yes, I have plans to shoot a feature film in a few years time as well as produce more series, but at the moment I am focused on producing this series and short films, I have recently shot a short film titled “Fish” which I intend to submit to various international film festivals in preparation of the feature. The scripts for the feature films are already being worked on and when the time is right production shall begin. I am deliberately delaying shooting a feature film as there is a certain quality I would like to achieve when I start making features.

 

Q

: Any additional information?

A

: We look forward to getting recognition and support as well as a market both locally and internationally for our productions since we are not only targeting a Malawian audience only. I hope the environment shall improve in terms of defeating piracy and also having proper cinemas where we can showcase our work to the masses. n

 

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