Joyah’s ‘Road to Sunrise’ unravels Malawi’s social issues

Charles Shemu Joyah’s latest movie, Road to Sunrise which was premiered over the weekend in Blantyre, left the audience with mixed emotions of tears and joy as it vividly articulated a number of social issues that Malawians experience on daily basis.

Shemu Joyah: Road Sunrise

Joyah is also well known for his previous movies, The Last Fishing Boat and Seasons of a Life.

In an interview after the movie, Joyah who is Managing Director of First Dawn Arts and award-winning film producer, director and screenplay writer, said the new movie talks about exploitation of women through the sex industry, gender-based violence, mob justice and women self-empowerment.

“I am a keen disciple of neo-realism, which I see as a better way of expressing myself in cinema. City of God by Fernando Meirelles and the classic Bicycle Thief by Vittorio De Sica are my strong influences. Therefore, I chose to portray the story in the most realistic manner using different settings, language and characters,” said the award winning producer.

The film’s genre is drama and has more emphasis on character development and the emotional attachment of the characters to each role.

“Even though some of the main roles were played by individuals that are new to film acting like Rubia played by Mirriam Phiri, they all seemed determined, during the auditions, and this made me feel that I should give them a chance and trust me, I was not disappointed,” he said.

Joyah said he discussed the script thoroughly with the actors and actresses in terms of characterization, emotions, movement and onset and was patient with them and took as many shots as necessary.

One of the actors, Madock Masina who played Shoti says he was spotted by Joyah himself while he was studying Arts Humanities with Drama as his major and Literature and Broadcasting as his minor at Chancellor College.

“I was given two scripts with two different roles to choose from and the one that immediately struck me was Shoti who plays the character of a ghetto boy. I knew this was the right character for me to act since I grew up in the ghetto myself,” he said.

First Dawn Arts is a Malawian company dedicated to creating an entertainment industry by exploring a wide diversity of Malawian arts and culture through the production of films, music, literary works and commercials using high-end digital methods for the local as well as international market.

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