B’ella: Malawi’s new movie premier Friday in Blantyre

Malawi’s new film B’ella, written and directed by Taonga Taddja Nkhonjera, the man behind Dikamawoko Arts willbe premiered at COMESA Hall in the commercial capital Blantyre on Friday.

Organizers say the event will be graced by human rights activist Dr Vera Chirwa as a guest of honor and will start 6 pm.

The film shot at Chazunda in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, depicts the life of a 17-year-old girl in Malawi.

The 105 minutes long film looks at the lives of teens in Chazunda, following the story of an assertive, self-assured and strong-minded girl, B’ella.  The film is a look at life in Malawi in its organic form, through the eyes of the Malawian.

Part of action in B'ella

Part of action in B’ella

A synopsis on the film says the film which has powerful acting performances, a myriad of colours and panoramic scenes, rides on a well-constructed soundtrack that was composed and performed by recording Afro-music artist, Muhanya.

“B’ella speaks of stories of a nation, in a clear and human way, which will resonate in every part of the world” reads the synopsis.

It adds: “A coming of age story about B’ella, a 17-year old Malawian girl, Bella wrestles with intersections of traditional life and the new role of girls in modern day Malawi, artfully juggling her various roles of daughter, sister, student, advocate and a girl who just wants to grow up”.

The film displays a plethora of dramatics and emotional charges expected of adolescents.

The film is about true friendships, unrequited romances, school bullying, the desire to be modern, teacher-student relationships and how these impact both the students and the teachers (highlighting the sexual discrepancies that exist between male teachers and girl learners), peer pressure, the impact of stigma and discrimination that comes with HIV/AIDS, the plight of child headed families, and how strong-mindedness and the creed that the desire to do right will always prevail.

B’ella aims to champion girl empowerment by promoting self-assertiveness amongst girls and has a predominantly female driven cast.

Locally, technical support was provided by First Dawn Arts.  The financial support for the film came from Agrofert Foundation in the Czech Republic, owned by Andrej Babis.  The other support came from Czech philanthropist, Karel Janecek.

According to the organizers, tickets for the premiere are at K2, 500 each and can be bought from Steers, Nanzikambe Arts Café, Kips (former Nandos), Kips opposite AXA, Kips at Chichiri Shopping Mall, Shoprite and PUMA Filling Station at Wenela Bus Depot.

“To fully celebrate the emergence of film in Malawi, we will host an event with the full pomp and grandeur in a statement-making film event of the year. The function will be a red carpet event with photo booths for patrons that would wish to capture moments with the movie stars, as the actresses and guests arrive”.

They also say there will be an autograph booth where guests will have their assorted B’ella memorabilia signed by the actors, actresses and crew members.

Actors info:

 Vinjeru Kamanga

Kamanga: B'ella

Kamanga: B’ella

Vinjeru plays the role of the protagonist, B’ella.  An theatre actor since her secondary school days, Vinjeru is a new name in the film acting world of Malawi, but she has taken to the big screen like a fish to water.  Born on 10 June 1992, Vinjeru is a first year student at Polytechnic studying Quantity Surveying.  Vinjeru has also starred in a short film, The Designer, that was directed by Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba.  A natural actor, Vinjeru is sure to dazzle and shine in many subsequent film productions in the future.  Vinjeru is an actress under Dikamawoko Arts.

 Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba

In the film, Chimwemwe plays the role of the antagonist, Kalilole. Chimwemwe also traces her roots back to secondary school theatre, after which she joined Dikamawoko Arts, starring in the satire, TUBES AND CONTAINERS.  She then plays the arch enemy of B’ella in the film even though in real life, she and Vinjeru are best friends.  Chimwemwe directed her own short film last year and won the Silicon Valley African Film Festival Best Emerging Director Award 2013. A third year student at Blantyre International University, Chimwemwe’s portrayal of Kalilole will forever be remembered.

Tony Khoza

Tony Khoza

Tony Khoza

A renowned radio personality, and currently working as a producer and presenter at Times Tv, Tony Khoza also experienced his debut on the big screen in the film, B’ella.  A natural born actor, Tony gives life to the role of the Maths Teacher in the film, and his acting will have a lasting effect on many Malawians.  Tony is also a consummate master of ceremonies at events.

Other high profile actors in the film are Hope Chisanu (radio presenter at MBC Radio, Seasons of a Life, The Last Fishing Boat), Joyce Chavula Mhango (Director of Rising Choreos Theatre, whose short film has been nominated for awards at the 2014 African Movie Academy Awards), Tereza Mirovicova (The Last Fishing Boat), Anne Muhapala and Muhanya (afro musician and composer of the soundtrack to the film, B’ella).

The rest of the cast was made up of local actors from Chazunda, mostly students of Nankumba Secondary School.

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