Malawi movie industry has a long way to go

A lot has been said about the home movie industry moving in the right direction towards breaking into the international limelight.

This begs the question, does the current status of the Malawi movie industry herald a happy ending?

Joyce Chavula Mhango

Some of the sons and daughters of the country have earned recognitions for their efforts in the creative industry.

The most notable examples are Joyce Chavula Mhango and Flora Suya who have international accolades in their custody.

Despite some local movie makers having awards, there are a number of noticeable shortfalls in their works. Such gaps are drawing back Malawian films from achieving excellence and in the end excel.

Firstly, there is an issue of cultural representation. Malawi is rich in culture owing to its diversity. It is therefore expected of fiction produced in the country to promote the country`s myriad values.

Most Malawian movies are copies of Nigerian fiction, from soundtracks to style of acting. This markets the latter in the way that the audience conduct comparative analyses whose outcome does not favour Malawi.

Watching either Nigerian or Indian fiction, one can tell that culture draws the boundary between the two gigantic film industries. The cultural values have played a paramount role towards marketing those industries internationally. This is because a product`s uniqueness give the audience hunger to consume it.

Malawians can fuse into their movies dances such as Manganje, Gulewamkulu and Beni because they are most likely exclusive to the country.

Although, it is believed that students can surpass their teachers that can hardly be the case if there are less resources to support the transformation of knowledge into practice. In this respect, the Malawi movie industry cannot match the status of Nigeria`s Nollywood due to lack of resources even if they produce the same works.

Secondly, there is less sense of reality in most local films. It is clearly noticeable that most characters in Malawi movies show that they memorized a script in the way they speak. This kills fun as it makes the works boring.

Movie directors need to conduct serious talent identification exercises to have the best crop for the camera, prior to production. However, that may prove to be costly given the hefty sums of money required to produce a movie. If that is the case, the identified actors and actresses should undergo intensive training.

Lastly, based on this opinion is the choice of locations for setting the movie. In as much as setting should tally with the storyline, it is important to opt for locations which are friendly to the lowly pixelated cameras used in Malawi.

Although the country has embraced high definition cameras, they are not strong enough to transform something for the international eye. For example if the scene depicts wealth, that should be depicted from an international perspective through the use of hotels and suburbs as settings.