MultiChoice Talent Factory Class of 2018 produce two feature films 

MultiChoice Talent Factory’s Class of 2018 has produced two original feature films, Savannah Skies and The Painting, which will be screened at an exclusive VIP premiere on Friday, August 30 at Ster Kinekor in Lusaka, Zambia.

Malawi representatives Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba (left) and Jonathan Kapumba
Gus Banda, MultiChoice Malawi MD
The posters for the film
The posters for the Painting film

Malawi have two young filmmakers at the Talent Factory — Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba, 21 and Jonathan Kapumba, 25 — who are half way through their intensive one-year course in film production.

In a press statement, MTF Academy Director (southern African region), Berry Lwando is quoted expressing his delight at the opportunity for the 20 young creatives to launch their feature films to an audience of industry stakeholders and film aficionados from the southern African region.

“The inaugural MTF Class of 2018 is thrilled to tell two authentic African stories developed and produced by these young creatives on the eve of their graduation,” Lwando is quoted as saying.

“This is their chance to show the industry how they’ve applied their intensive film training and industry immersion.  I am incredibly proud to see these young filmmakers’ names on the credit roll.”

The Painting is a horror film conceptualised and written by Nikita Mokgware and directed by Emanuel Goncalves. The storyline involves a pregnant abstract painter who lives with her husband and son.

The painter is struggling to sell her work due to them not being ‘African’ enough. One morning, she discovers a painting in her house of a woman in full traditional Bemba attire with all the cultural trappings.

This feature film stars award-winning actor Leo Simukoko, actress and poet Chitalu Kaibele, Barbara Mwaramidze and Sweddy Mwansa alongside a number of budding Zambian actors.

Savannah Skies is a romantic drama film conceptualized and written by Ludmila Mero and Muchemwa Sinkala. It is directed by Joshua Kafumukache and is set around a young woman, who after being left with little to no choice, in an attempt to save her father, is forced into a marriage.

She must navigate her way in a new household, defying her conniving mother-in-law as she pursues her education and learns of an unconfessed love that has been with her all along.

Well-known faces such as famous former Kabanana actress Phenny Walubita who plays the main antagonist role will be seen on screen as well as Angela Nachilongo and a number of new faces.

Regional Director for MultiChoice’s Southern Region, Nyiko Shiburi, also expressed the company’s pride in showcasing films that demonstrate the success of its investment in the creative industry.

“When we launched this MTF initiative, our vision and goal was to deliver shared value where both the business and society benefits from our investment.

“Bearing witnessing the result of this initiative through exciting local content that has been produced by these budding film professionals for our platforms, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

“We look forward to more content created through this initiative that ignites Africa’s creative industry,” Shiburi is quoted as saying.

MultiChoice Malawi says DStv customers will also get the opportunity to witness the fruits of the MTF Academy’s labour when the films air on DStv’s Zambezi Magic, DStv Channel 162 (also available on DStv Now).

The Painting will debut on Showmax on September 6 at 21:30 CAT while Savannah Skies will air on September 13 at 21:30 CAT. Both films were filmed on location in Zambia.

The Talent Factory is a multi-tiered training programme designed by MultiChoice Africa to focus on positively impacting the technical and professional value chain in the film and television industry across the continent.

“As a business born and bred in Africa, we have a long-term commitment to making a socioeconomic difference in the countries in which we operate,” says MultiChoice.

“As such, this initiative helps to play a positive role in growing Africa’s creative industries. MTF is a shared-value initiative that provides a platform for the creative industries to develop their talent and engage with one another through their shared passions.

“Through the MTF Academies every year, the academies select 60 talented individuals from across 13 countries to participate in a 12-month academic and practical immersion programme including both theory and hands-on experience in cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling.

“We are building a pipeline of good local content for our channels whilst the Masterclasses focus on developing technical skills of established creatives in cinematography, audio and storytelling to improve the quality of local productions and are conducted by leading African and international industry experts.”

When the two Malawian representatives were unveiled, MultiChoice Malawi Managing Director, Gus Banda had said the programme was initiated with the aim of investing in young Africans to tell the story of their own country’s as independent film producers.

“Malawian stories are not been told like the way other countries like Zambia, Nigeria and Kenya are doing. So we needed to invest in our own youngsters to take up the role through this programme.

“We want them to come out with recognized academic qualification to empower them on how to come up with a professional film production. Through these two students, we want to utilize them through our own Malawian content which we will be launching in the near future,” Banda had said.

On her part, Mkwezalamba said she has really learnt a lot half way through the programme and is geared to use every talent she has garnered for the benefit of the Malawian film industry.

She said she had a bit of experience in theatre through stage drama she participated in during her secondary school days and later acted in a film named Bella, which was produced by Tawonga Tadhya Nkhonjera, that was premiered at Steers in Blantyre in 2013.

“After a while I decided to pursue another career in banking and finance but when I finished that, the passion in theatre returned and when I came across the invitation for Talent Factory, I did not hesitate but apply.

“We are being trained by experts from South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and India since September last year who have imparted in us various skills such as film production designs, how to set up a costume wardrobe, copyrights issues, setting up the right sound, audio and lighting and many other angles.”

Kapumba says his experience in theatre started when he acted in school drama activities as well as acting for Umoja Arts Theatre in Lilongwe.

He developed passion to become a director of photography when he was working with Mibawa Studios.

“I have gained quite some excellent skills in as far as film photography is concerned as well as film directing and design. During the course, we managed to produce two very short films which will be shown at two festivals in France and Spain.

“That’s a huge inspiration for us and we intend to come up with another film during our second semester,” he said.

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