It is fact that the film industry in Malawi is just beginning to grow with the majority of its players being men. It has clearly been difficult for female producers to make a breakthrough.
But some determined women are slowly joining the industry. One of them is Lilongwe-based producer Cathreen Mlenga.
She is set for a mission to become one of the country’s renowned film producers. She also wants to use her position to promote women’s rights through production of movies that expose and address challenges affecting women and young girls in the country.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Mlenga said she decided to embark on the initiative after experiencing challenges which women and young girls face in their daily life.
“As a woman, I know how it feels to be looked down upon and not to be supported; hence, I decided to start producing movies which have stories that will inspire fellow women and young girls to fight for their rights,” she said.
Mlenga said through her mission, she envisions to tell success stories of women to motivate others to start believing in themselves and realise their potential.
“Through my movies, I have the opportunity to tell success stories of women in order to fight gender stereotypes.
“I also want to create and celebrate heroines to inspire young women and girls to be strong and confident,” she said.
The producer is preparing for the premiere of her movie Sowing Seeds on July 3 at Golden Peacock Hotel in Blantyre and on July 31 at Bingu International Convention Centre.
According to Mlenga, the upcoming movie is a story of a young lady who got married to her teenage boyfriend.
“Sowing Seeds is a success story of a young lady Nthanda, who was married off to her teenage boyfriend.
“In the movie we get to witness the struggles the couple goes through and how they pull through to enjoy success,” she said.
To come up with the movie, Mlenga said she was inspired by the death of her friend who died at the age of 16 while giving birth. She was also inspired by the works of Senior Chief Kachindamoto of Dedza in ending child marriages in her area.
Through the movie, the 25-year-old producer said she wants to positively influence mindset change and promote social behaviour on early marriages and unwanted pregnancies among the youth.
A feminist and founder of Foundation for Girls Leadership, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that supports girls, Memory Banda, said Mlenga’s idea would expose challenges that women and young girls face in the country.
“It is interesting that Cathreen has decided to rewrite stories about women and young girls in moving images. I can see her idea will expose challenges that affect women and girls in our country,” she said.
Banda said the idea will also raise an alarm so that relevant authorities should work on challenges affecting women and young girls by bringing best solutions to the challenges.
Film Association of Malawi president Ezaius Mkandawire said Mlenga’s passion in film production will enhance growth of the industry.
“As an association, we are happy with the passion which Cathreen has in filmmaking. We hope her productions will assist to grow the film industry in the country and put it on the international map,” Mkandawire said.