Malawi’s distant chance at Oscar Awards

Malawi’s film industry has been given a boost after receiving a nod to start submitting their work to the global film excellence platform, The Academy Awards commonly known as the Oscars.

This follows the approval of the newly instituted Malawi Oscars Selection Committee by the Academy Awards Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee after a thorough review of the application it submitted.

Shemu Joyah and production team

According to documents The Nation has seen, addressed to chairperson of the local selection committee, filmmaker Shemu Joyah, Malawi is now eligible to start submitting its movies to be considered in the Academy’s foreign language film competition.

Malawi set up the 10-man team following advice from the Academy organisers as part of the criterion structures that enable a particular country to have its work considered at world’s biggest film awards stage.

The committee is made up acting director in the department of arts, Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Humphrey Mpondaminga, film makers Flora Suya and Joyce Chavula-Mhango, Associate Professor of Drama and Film at Chancellor College, Dr. Mufunanji Magalasi, producer, Peter Mazunda and  journalist Yvonne Sundu.

In an interview Joyah said the structure of the committee, which has been dominated by active players from the film industry, is in line with the direction they were given by the organisers of the awards in America.

Joyah said: “The understanding is that, these people should use their expertise in the selection process.”

Pressed on whether this will not comprise their fairness in the event that one of the films to be reviewed comes from one of the committee members, Joyah said they are already mechanisms in place to check such scenarios.

“The process will be as open as possible. The public will even have a say because the nature of the Oscars demands that films which are sent should be the ones that have been released already. As such we will set up channels where people can send their views too.

In its letter to the local committee, the Academy Awards main committee said Malawi can now submit its movies.

“After reviewing your application to The Academy’s foreign language film competition for the 91st Oscars, we are pleased to inform you that Malawi’s Selection Committee has been approved. Film submissions are due October 1,” it states. n


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