Malawi’s movie B’ella heads to US for awards

Malawian film-maker Tawonga Nkhonjera will fly the national flag at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF) in Silicon Valley, California, USA where his movie B’ella is expected to be screened for awards.

Nkhonjera – described as an artist of many persuasions and founder of the Dikamawoko Arts – told Nyasa Times  that also to be screened at the festival is The Designer, a movie directed by Diakamawoko’s 16 year-old Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba.

He said he was optimistic that the movies will make it at the festival scheduled for 11th – 14thOctober next month.

“They show Malawi at diametrically opposite ends. One is the rustic, pastoral life; the other is a fast paced, middle class young professional’s look at like,” said Nkhonjera.

He said he has more confidence in B’ella because it is his handwork.

B'ella: Malawi's new movie
B’ella: Malawi’s new movie

Said he: “I wrote an d directed it. It was all my idea and I knew exactly what I wanted for and from it. As for The Designer, I helped write the script but the idea and the directing were all done by Chimwemwe and her advantage is that she is only 16 years old.”

Nkhonjera described B’ella as diverse, a roller coaster ride which does not let up till the last minute.

“I tried to have my audience intrigued from start to finish and we’ll see how that pans out,” he said.

The poet – presently renowned for his striking Tumbuka poetry – emphasized on the need for Malawi to recognize local potential art saying it could contribute to revenue for the country if well maximized.

“This product, for example, is going to fly globally, be seen all over the world. Couldn’t that benefit some company if they sponsored or had some product placement?” he queried.

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

B’ella is a film that intends to tell a story of a 17 year old Malawian girl, who simply wants to be a girl, in a changing society; the relationships she has with her family and friends at home, classmates and teachers at school.

The film tackles issues of bullying in school, young love, true friendship, search of individuality and identity, HIV and Aids stigma and discrimination, the beauty of some traditions existing in semi-rural areas, vestiges of the rich culture that Malawi once had in its fullest, among others.

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