The local committee for the world’s biggest awards recognising excellence in cinematic achievements, The Oscars is calling on all Malawi filmmakers to make submissions for the 2019 edition.
The committee’s role is to scrutinise local productions and identify one film that will represent the country for Best Foreign Language Film Award at the 91st Annual Academy Awards (Oscars).
Committee chairperson Shemu Joyah says local filmmakers have until September 16 to make submissions.
“The Malawi Oscars Selection Committee is calling on all Malawian producers to submit their films for entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Award.
“A foreign language film is defined as a feature-length motion picture—over 40 minutes produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are permitted,” explained Joyah.
Among the eligibility criteria, the films must be released between October 1 2017 and September 30 2018, and be first publicly exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theatre for the profit of the producer and exhibitor.
“The film need not have been released in the United States. The recording of the original dialogue track as well as the completed picture must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English, with accurate, legible English-language subtitles. Again, the creative control of the motion picture must largely be in the hands of citizens or residents of Malawi,” said Joyah.
He said the call is open to all filmmakers even those in the 10-member committee.
“One of the main requirements for the composition of the Oscars committee is dominance by filmmakers themselves. Now, in the event that a committee member has made a submission, it means he or she will sit out a voting process,” he said.
The qualifying film from this initial judging phase will represent Malawi in the Academy’s initial nomination phase for best foreign language film which will further be adjudicated with others before making it into the final list of Oscars 2019.
Young award winning filmmaker Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba has urged Malawians to take advantage of this window to make submissions.
“I love the idea and it is very exciting. I am happy about the development and knowing that we will be able to send our films to the Oscars is very fulfilling. I would urge all movie makers like Taonga Taddja Nkhonjera, Joyce Mhango Chavula, Charles Shemu Joyah and many others to make submissions. We have what it takes,” she said.