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Blantyre on ‘The Road to Sunrise’

By Sam Banda Jnr:

FLASHBACK—Joyah (right) directing the film during shooting at Robins Park in
Blantyre

After its success at this year’s Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) in Nigeria last month as the Best Movie-Southern Africa, Shemu Joyah’s film The Road to Sunrise is now out for screening starting in Blantyre this coming weekend.

The screening starts on Saturday through to next Saturday (September 29) at Jupiter Hall at Malawi Sun Hotel. For those who will have problems attending Saturday and Sunday screening, they also have a chance of watching the film in between the week from Monday to Friday.

“The winner of the Best Movie- Southern Africa Award at AMVCAs 2018, The Road to Sunrise, shall be screened every day. This is a chance you cannot afford to miss,” reads a statement from FirstDawn Arts.

Joyah, who also prides in producing other award winning movies: Seasons of a Life and The Last Fishing Boat, said yesterday they want people to sample the film.

“We saw to it that not many people have watched the film and so through these screenings we are giving them a chance. We have started in Blantyre and then we will move to Lilongwe, Zomba, Mzuzu and other areas,” Joyah said.

He said the entry fee for afternoon screening is K4,000 with night screening on Saturday and Sunday at K6,000.

“We are trying out a new system where we have a team moving around in offices selling tickets. For afternoon screening advance tickets will cost K3,500 while for night screening the cost will be K5,000,” he said.

Joyah said it is time for people to embrace the award winning movie and that this is why they have come out with the screening.

In the Best Movie- Southern Africa category, the film was nominated alongside Joyce Mhango Chavula’s Nyasaland.

Chavula did not make it this time but she was the first to make history for Malawi in 2016 when she got the Best Movie – Southern Africa with her film Lilongwe.

Joyah’s The Road to Sunrise also was nominated in the Best Overall Movie category but it missed the award.

The film has also received seven nominations in this year’s Africa Movie Academy Awards (Amaa) which were expected to be held this weekend in Rwanda but have been shifted to October 20.

In the film, exploited by men and ridiculed by the world, two prostitutes struggle to survive in the rough, unforgiving slums of Blantyre.

When one of them refuses to have sex with one of her clients, a very rich businessman, he violently attacks her and, in self-defence, she stabs him to death.

Her subsequent arrest and murder trial becomes a battle not just to escape the death sentence but also a journey towards her inner emancipation.

The one and half hour film done in English and Chichewa features actors such as Mirriam Phiri, Chantelle Phiri, Modock Masina, Tambudzo Mpinganjira, Chisomo Mwale, Yankho Seunda and Blessings Suya.

Joyah said the story in The Road to Sunrise is about exploitation, love, hope, the power of friendship, and the untiring human spirit in its quest for survival and freedom.

“It interrogates the society’s view of women who are exploited through the sex industry and how it uses double standards to judge the men who exploit prostitutes,” he said.

The filmmaker said the story has a profound message to the youth of today, particularly girls, on how they can survive the adverse conditions of exploitation and empower themselves.

The film is not on DVD at the moment.

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