No progress yet for Chilembwe film–Joyah


By Sam Banda Jnr:

As the country remembered one of its heroes John Chilembwe Tuesday, award-winning filmmaker, Shemu Joyah, said there was no progress yet for the Chilembwe movie he wants to work on.

Joyah, who last year did the country proud scooping the Best Movie -Southern Africa Award in the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) for his film The Road to Sunrise, said he wants to work on the Chilembwe movie as part of preserving the country’s history.


For Joyah to work on the Chilembwe film, he needs a lot of funds and, so far, he has not been successful.

“There is no progress yet and that is what I can say as regards the Chilembwe movie. I am hoping that something will come up but, for now, there is nothing yet,” Joyah said.

And as he waits for the project, he has continued to work on small budget films and one of them is The Road to Sunrise which will be entered in the Oscars 2019 having done well last year.


Apart from scooping an award in the 2018 AMVCAs, The Road to Sunrise, which is Joyah’s third movie, also received seven nominations in the 2018 Africa Movie Academy Awards (Amaa).

After attending Amaa last year in Kigali, Rwanda, where the film failed to get an award out of the seven nominations, Joyah said he had a chance of interacting with several film producers, who expressed interest in working with him.

Asked on the budget for the Chilembwe film, Joyah said, with time, the budget will continue to go up.

“I worked out the budget in United States of America dollars but there are three different budgets depending on what we can afford. However, my concentration now is on another movie, for I think it is easier to get funding for it has a smaller budget,” he said.

Some quarters have called on well-wishers, the government and the corporate world to support Joyah in the production of the Chilembwe film for the good of the country.

“This project is worth supporting because it is for the good of the country especially in preserving our history but also telling the story of Chilembwe through a film. We need the story on a film and Shemu Joyah has shown potential looking at his three movies he has produced so far,” theatre lover Bright Sambo said.

Chilembwe was a Baptist pastor and educator, who trained in the United States, returning to Nyasaland in 1901.

He was an early figure in the resistance to colonialism in Nyasaland, now Malawi, opposing both the treatment of Africans working in agriculture on European-owned plantations and the colonial government’s failure to promote the social and political advancement of Africans.

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, Chilembwe organised an unsuccessful uprising against colonial rule.

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