Thinking Malawi cinema differently: Moyo Wathu series

Unlike what most film and TV productions focus on in Malawi, comes another breathtaking series, Moyo Wathu which is not themed on HIV/AIDS or sad stories. It is an entertainment focused drama series; it is in Chichewa with English subtitles.

Harriet acting in Moyo Wathu

Ian and Thoko

Moyo Wathu is here to create suspense and entertainment for the viewer, it encompasses everything that happens in society, from issues affecting the youth to the elderly.

Being produced and directed by 23 years old, Khama Mbaula, the idea was conceived in early 2014.

According to Mbaula the series has always been focused on creating content other than just doing productions for clients.

Being a visionary young filmmaker, Moyo Wathu came into being with the thought that it may one day grow to become the biggest production in the country.

“It was also created knowing that most productions coming out of the country are sub-standard therefore it is also a project that is showing that production geniuses are there in Malawi. People who understand what filmmaking is and can produce mature content that can sell even outside. Immediately after conception of the idea preparations started to take place, a first draft script was developed in early 2015 and Principal Photography took place in early 2016.

“The pilot episode was released online on our Facebook page wwwfacebook.com/afritrixpictures on 28 October 2016. And currently production is still underway,” Mbaula disclosed.

He added: “The success story about the series is the positive reception it has received from the public, just within a month of its online release it has accumulated over 7300 Views collectively on Facebook and YouTube with 100% positive feedback and people asking for episode 2 to come put as they are now interested into the story, many people have confessed in comment online that they never have had interest in watching Malawian Films but Moyo Wathu has changed their minds. We have also been approached by a Botswana TV station that airs on OVY satellite television on having the show aired on their channel negotiations are still underway.”

He was quick to point out that currently the Series is only online and no TV station has yet purchased airing rights.

However, Mbaula bemoaned lack of finances describing it as the biggest challenge that the production is facing.

“We have not yet found advertisers. Moyo Wathu is a commercial production and currently is being financed solely by AFRITRIX Pictures. To succeed in what we want to achieve which is making it not only a big show in Malawi but also the entire African continent we need some serious funds. We are hoping soon we strike deals with various players in the Television and advertising industry,” said the self taught filmmaker.

Quizzed on future plans, Mbaula responded: “The future plans are to make feature films, we plan on making feature films in the near future some which scripts have already been developed, we have a film about John Chilembwe that is currently in pre-production stage, we believe there are many stories to be told and with time we shall try our best to tell those stories to in a creative and professional manner. Many people do not understand what filmmaking really is and we are here to define that.”

Khama Mbaula officially entered film industry in 2011, he started trading under the name Excellent Entertainment but later rebranded to AFRITRIX Pictures in 2012.

He has since made two short film called: Letters from the future episode 1 & 2 in the year 2013 and has also worked on a number of projects such as documentaries, music videos, corporate videos and cinematic wedding films.

Apart from that, Mbaula is also a TV professional. He was trained in broadcasting in the year 2011 at the Malawi institute of education.

He also worked for Zodiak TV as a Camera Man and Video Editor for a year October 2014 to October 2015. Currently he is running a private production company and also studying Journalism at the Polytechnic CEC in Lilongwe.

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