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Elson Kambalu’s film makes semi-finalist at Stiff

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Filmmaker and visual artist Elson Kambalu’s film Mlandu WA Njinga/Case of a Bicycle has been selected for San Mauro Film Festival (Stiff) 2018 in Italy.

A message from the festival organisers congratulates Kambalu for the selection.

“Congratulations!!! Your film was selected for Stiff semi-finalist 2018. Stay tuned!!! All the notice will be posted on Stiff official Facebook page,” the organisers said.

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Kambalu said on Tuesday he was excited with the development.

“It’s exciting of course. This is the only information I have got for now,” he said.

Kambalu said he was looking forward to the best with the film.

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“The best is yet to come. I am actually yet to receive feedback on my other applications,” he said.

Kambalu said last year after premiering the film that he wanted it to screen in many international film festivals and that he had made a number of applications.

Other filmmakers such as Avinu Films also said that they were thrilled to announce that their recently released short documentary Pillars of Creation had been officially selected as a semi-finalist at the 2018 San Mauro Film Festival, Torino, Italy.

The festival accepts films from all over the world.

Several people have congratulated Kambalu for the development on social media, saying this was clear testimony that Malawi was making strides in the film industry.

In November last year Mlandu Wa Njinga screened at the Pan African Lake International Festival in Kenya.

The film also entered into the festival as a semi finalist but, according to Kambalu, it did not go through to the winning stages.

After screening the film in the country, Kambalu has made headway, producing DVDs for the movie which is on sale.

Kambalu has also released the film in three formats with English translations.

The film has been translated to Chichewa, Tumbuka and Yao.

The renowned visual artist, who is the owner of La Galleria in Lilongwe, said he decided to have it in more languages because they want to make it a household movie.

“The idea is to make it a household movie to be fully owned by Malawians from their own dialect point. We believe language is a powerful tool to reach out to the masses; hence, the categories,” Kambalu said.

He said they have taken it for granted that everybody understands Chichewa.

“This generalisation has made us lose out on prospective audiences. We want Mlandu Wa Njinga to appear in every home and be relevant to the viewer. More than 30 actors have been used for the translations,” Kambalu said.

He said that one important thing worth mentioning for the film is that it features actors that have never starred in any movie before.

“This is raw talent,” Kambalu said.

The film tells the story of a young man called Ntaja, who comes out of prison and later goes on a search for a woman he wanted to marry prior to his incarceration.

He finally found the woman.

In the movie, Kambalu used new actors and actresses, with Ralpha Luga starring Ntaja while the woman he was looking for is played by Princess Chilambula.

Shot for a period of two years in Lilongwe and Salima, the other actors are Kossam Jossam, Apatsa Kwilimbe, Cathy Maveya and Yusu Sabiku.

The film also features musicians, among them Jaco Jana, Agorosso, Malala, Neil Nayar, Moto Buuu and JJ Munthali, who, Kambalu said, has also worked on the music scene.

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