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Feast of films at EU Fest

ATTENTIVE – Audience sample one of the movies

Valtat (left) interacts with
Khenai

Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre on Saturday played host to the European Film Festival which gave a chance to the audience, dominated by the youth, to watch movies from Malawi and Europe.

This was the second time for JCC to host the European Film Festival, having hosted it in 2019.

The festival did not take place last year due to Covid.

The screenings of the movies started in the morning through to the afternoon, with the country offering its short movies including Tiza and the Robot by Stephen Khenai.

Charge d’affaires at the European Union Delegation in Malawi Aurelie Valtat said she was impressed by the films during the festival, which was also held in Lilongwe on Friday and Saturday.

“I have watched good movies with powerful stories and most of them are exploring different themes and some are talking about culture, showing that we are all the same,” Valtat said.

She said the challenge is now to take the movies to the next level.

“Everything is there, you talk of creativity, techniques and equipment but now there is a need for exposure to other platforms and we need to connect Malawi with other European filmmakers,” Valtat said.

Khenai said he was excited that his short film had screened at the festival, adding that such opportunities are rare.

“I am very happy to have my film screened. It is hard to have films screened especially where you don’t have enough platforms. As a content creator, it is hard to be looking for platforms and at the same time creating content,” he said.

The youthful filmmaker whose film explores talent and encourages young people not to give up, said he decided to tell this story because of the passion he has for telling stories.

“I have a passion for movies because it gives you a chance to express yourself. I want through this movie to let young people that they can do it. The biggest challenge at the moment is capacity and for players out there to believe in young people,” Khenai said.

Apart from Tiza and the Robot, the other Malawian film that screened during the festival is Tigwirane Manja.

The other films that screened on the day included Fish, Bittersweet, Liberi, La Prima Cosa Bella and Nos Batailles.

JCC Director Luc Deschamps said he was happy that more young people patronised the festival and that they also had time to share ideas during discussion sessions.

“It has been a great day of movies made in Europe and Malawi and young people enjoyed the art of movie making. There is a lot of passion out there in young people and there is a community interest in movies,” Deschamps said.

He said to help in uplifting the film industry and offering more platforms for growth, they have embarked on a number of programmes including the creation of the Malawi Lens initiative.

Actor and filmmaker Tawonga Taddja Nkhonjera who will be driving this concept said Malawi Lens aims at giving a platform to filmmakers in the country to showcase their films.

“We will be featuring both short and feature films from Malawi. Through this platform we would want to tell Malawian stories and also create a culture of watching our own films. So we will be doing this every last Saturday of the month,” Nkhonjera said.

He said apart from screening movies, the platform will also be discussing the films in detail as well as critiquing them.

“With this, we hope to help in the production of more quality movies,” Nkhonjera said.

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