Azizi breaks film grounds

Lilian Azizi has a dream. Actually, she is living that dream. Borders, the physical barriers that keep us apart, should not exist.

Her movie, Can’t Have It All, attests to that. It brings together actors from Senegal, Lebanon, The Gambia where she is based, Malawi, Sweden, among others.

It is a story of a career woman who thought everything is about her job, social circles and career advancement.

Under the direction of Emeka Idibe, the film, from Lamphouse Productions features actors like Wisdom Dibbassey, Prince Kobba, Margaret Forster and Sheriffoh Kanuteh.

“It brings together actors from different cultural backgrounds. We should not limit ourselves to Malawi. If we tap into small numbers in diverse countries, we reach out to large audiences worldwide,” she says.

The 90-minute film is set for local premieres at Sunbird Capital this evening before hitting the road for Blantyre’s Sunbird Mount Soche tomorrow.

One year is all it has taken to put the movie together. She worked with three other writers on the script, Alex Thomas, Abigail Leathart and Jay Roninson.

Basically, the film is about a woman trying to balance up her life. From the trailer we have seen, it is three dimensional. There is a tinge of illegal migration, gender violence and socialisation. Superstition is also an underlining factor, where the persona lives her life in the belief of her grandfather’s curse.

For Aziz, the dream is to work on one Africa. She sees a beautiful future for Africa.

Some of the cast members of Azizi’s movie


“Hollywood has exhausted its stories. As Africans, we have to do more soul-searching and appreciate our lives. Marginalisation will not work. We are all for a single goal, regardless of where we come from. Music, movies and fashion unites us,” she says.

In a nutshell, the film, which is also beamed on iROKO TV and Africa Magic, is also about the notion that West is best, when Africans move to Europe and the Americas for a better life.

“I believe women have to balance up their work life and their sociality. Abuse against women is a global issue and tackling it takes a multi-pronged approach,” says the 34-year-old.

She stars as Rosie, a hotel owner in The Gambia where the film was shot. She is the anchor of the life story of a mother of twins.

If you were to dig deeper, Can’t Have It All may be rooted in Lilian’s upbringing. She grew up all too fast.

“I had a great childhood. It was happy. That is, until I lost my dad when I was 16 and my mom three years later. That was when I grew up fast,” she says.

Lilian is a former Miss Malawi contestant. As a matter of fact, she came out as second princess when Mable Pulu won the crown in 2003. She was on the frontline when beauty queens and princesses hosted aficionado Carver Bhima to a dinner in 2014.

Having studied for Institute for Chartered Marketers (ICM) in business management and finance, Aziz worked for an airline, before her trek into the film industry. That is after stints in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

For her, Malawi has locations the global movie production can benefit from, much as its own industry is growing at a snail’s pace.

“I feel it is high time our television stations thought about buying Malawian movies for them to beam. This would also create so many jobs among the young people,” she says.

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