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Making strides in movie making

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Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) will be the venue to first sample a movie that has been perfected by the old hands of Peter Kepkay a Canadian born film maker.

This film titled Unappreciated was first produced in 2014 by Malawi’s self made film maker Pascal Bagaluza and was launched with much fanfare at the American Embassy’s Public Affairs Office auditorium in Lilongwe.

But when Bagaluza teamed up with Kepkay last year, they started reworking on Unappreciated and it has now been touched up to an international standard ready for premiere now.

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Under the name United in Culture, Education and Developing Artists (Uceda) the film will show at Luanar Friday night.

“We are preparing to premiere Unappreciated which has been perfected into a new and much improved version,” said Bagaluza.

He said their premiere of the movie Friday is to entertain as well as educate the masses.

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“We want to use this to show people on how the movie industry can create jobs for the youth. All along people have been misunderstanding the industry. The movie industry is not all about acting. There are so many people behind the camera,” he said.

Some quarters who have sampled the movie have heaped praise on. Unappreciated saying it stands out as one of the good films.

“After Bunda College (Luanar) I would like to move on to Chancellor College and Mzuzu University and any other venue that would have us – for the benefit of the people as well as students,” said Bagaluza.

He said as leaders of tomorrow they are targeting students who can help to create a sustainable industry and supporting the country’s development.

“My dream is to have offices across the country whereby anyone who would like our services or would like to learn more, could be assisted, to a very high standard according to their needs,” he said.

One of the brains behind this final product, Kepkay came into the country in 2012 and fell in love with it.

He says with 14 years experience in the movie industry he has worked with so many firms in the Hollywood film industry including Paramount, Disney, Colombia, Fox, Nation Geographic to mention but a few.

Kepkay has also travelled to China, Cuba, across Canada and has been to Africa on several occasions as well pursuing different projects in the movie industry.

He met Bagaluza last year through one of the actresses that he was teaching, where he learned of Pascal and his movie “Unappreciated”.

“So I organised a day to meet with Peter. We got along very well. I shared him the movie and when he had watched it he told me exactly what he thought about Unappreciated – he was not impressed and he told me why,” recalls Bagaluza.

He said all the little things that he pointed out made sense.

“I learned what makes it better in both audio and video. So we started to re cut, reedit, correct – so many things that I did not even see were wrong. I have learned so much from him. I really appreciate him and his knowledge. And yet at the same time I too have taught him some things beyond his expectation so it is a nice balance as well,” he said.

Bagaluza says the movie is now much better in terms of colour, sound, and the scenes are much tighter and the story flows better as well.

“So the contribution that Peter has given combined with what I know – we make a very good team and I am very happy about that,” he said.

“It is important to show people that we can do something good here in Malawi and that we have the ability to make things that are worthwhile,” he added.

In the next few years Bagaluza says will be good for Malawi’s movie industry as they have lined many projects.

“We also have to teach and educate so many people in the art of this industry. We need skilled people. We need to change how people see this unborn industry. To show them that Malawi can produce very high quality movies or commercials or anything we want to media related.

And I look forward to meeting the world on this point,” declared Bagaluza.

He however said the biggest problem that Malawi has is that everyone thinks that working on your own is the best way.

“But you can’t do everything on your own. You need to partner up with people, we all have to work together to make an industry here. Other countries work together – why can’t we?” he queried.

Bagaluza said he grateful to some of the companies and NGOs and Embassies that are trying to support the movie industry in Malawi including Teveta, Norwegian Embassy, American Embassy to name but a few.

Kepkay brought with him sophisticated movie making equipment of international standard which is of high class in recording sound and picture and with better skills they will be able to meet the international market with great success.

Bagaluza who is the script writer and the initial producer of the

mivie started from a scratch having had a keen interest in movies and music.

He says in his early years Arnold Schwarzenegger was his favourite actor.

“I was inspired by how someone who came from one field (body building) and made a complete and utter change in his career – and was extremely successful at it. Sure it took time and he had difficulties – but don’t all good things take time?” he says.

He decided to reach for a goal that was in the industry and started with a Bachelors Degree in Communication with a minor in Journalism and after graduation; he started teaching at Good Hope Private School (Malawi) and Ntonya International School.

In 2009 Pascal decided to follow his true passion to become an actor as he self funded his first movie called “The lost advice”. It was never released.

He however thought that the quality was not good enough although he learned many a valuable lessons.

“It was shot like a wedding” Pascal remembers “can you imagine a movie looking like a wedding? I sold my car just to make that movie. I didn’t have any knowledge or skills of how to make a movie.”

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