Two film-makers and two persons with disability on Sunday scooped awards in the Focus on Ability Film Festival held at Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (Mubas) auditorium in Blantyre.
The filmmakers are Aram Nyondo and Alfred Zgambo, who won with their films Home is a Place Like This and Aliyense Ali Ndi Luso, respectively. They pocketed $500 each (approximately K400,000).
Nyondo, who is based in Nkhotakota District and is president of Screen Writers Guide, said they made the film long time ago.
“This film was already there and, so, when I heard about Focus on Ability, I decided to submit. It is a film that talks about persons with albinism and I am happy to have won,” he said.
Nyondo then called upon fellow filmmakers to take interest in tackling issues about persons with disability.
“We watched so many films today talking about persons with disability and there is so much potential in them because disability is not inability,” he said.
In the category of best actors (persons with disability featuring in the film), the winners were Luis Nsomba for the film titled The Cornerstone and Agnes Kachule with a movie titled I Do Believe. The two received $250 each approximately (K200,000).
Kachule, who is into small-scale businesses, said she never imagined that she could win.
“This is the first time to win in a competition and the money I have won will help me developing my businesses,” she said.
Kachule, who is based in Makwasa, Thyolo District, also thanked the filmmaker who got interested in her story.
“It’s difficult these days when people just come to shoot a movie telling your story; people feel they use them for their own benefits,” Kachule, who was born in 1966, said.
Focus on Ability Society (Foas) Executive Director MacDonald Nyirenda said the festival was a success.
“We watched exciting short films and it is all about showing the abilities of persons with disability. We saw films such as that of Louis Nsomba, from Dziwe in Chileka, who is disabled but repairs phones,” Nyirenda said.
He then urged persons with disability to open up to filmmakers to have their stories told.
“I also want to call upon parents of disabled children to send them to school and support them whenever you see talent. We also call upon companies and players out there to partner us. We need support,” Nyirenda said.
Focus on Ability Short Film Festival is an annual initiative by Foas in partnership with Nova Employment of Australia.
The festival, which was spiced up with different performances, is aimed at raising awareness about abilities of people with disability through the medium of film.
According to Nyirenda, the international winners will be announced on October 27 2021.