The country will tomorrow be looking at nothing but the best during the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) where Malawi’s flag is being flown by Young Travellers Theatre through their movie – The Beautiful Hen Behind the Yao Mountain.
The venue is the usual Eko Expo Hall in Lagos, Nigeria, where the country in 2016 made history by being the first to grab the Best Film – Southern Africa Award which had just been introduced by the organisers.
Actress and filmmaker, Joyce Mhango Chavula, was the history maker as she triumphed with her film Lilongwe.
The country has proved that it has potential by dominating in the competition particularly the Best Movie – Southern Africa as Charles Shemu Joyah won it for the second time in 2018 with his movie – The Road to Sunrise.
The country is thus seeking a third award in the competition with Young Travellers Theatre.
Mhango Chavula and Joyah have had the opportunity to travel to Nigeria to receive the awards and be part of the red-carpet event which attracts filmmakers and different players in the creative industry.
Young Travellers Director, Imran Shaban, has failed to travel to the event.
“I wish I had made it but due to some other challenges I have failed. All the same we are happy to represent Malawi this time and we hope to do well,” Shaban said.
The red-carpet event is expected to be beamed live on DStv and GOtv this weekend.
The film –The Beautiful Hen Behind Yao Mountain which was shot in Mangochi District in the area of Traditional Authority Chowe, was produced by Imran Pitersen Kaisi and directed by Shaban.
The film tells the story of a young man named Amadu, who fell in love with a young woman from the Yao Mountain. He later impregnated the woman without knowing that it was his sister.
“I first wrote the play to tell the story in a Malawian way and I thought it could also be better to put it into a movie,” Shaban said.
He said they decided to submit the film to the AMVCAs after participating in the Sotambe Film Festival in Zambia where they were given tips and encouraged to submit the film.
Shaban also said the 2018 winner, Joyah, helped and guided them by taking them through the steps on how to submit their entry.
“The nomination alone is a plus because we never expected it and to us, this is a dream come true. We are happy to raise the Malawian flag on the international scene,” Shaban said.
MultiChoice Malawi Managing Director, Gus Banda, said this was a great development for the country.
“Two years ago, we celebrated Shemu Joyah and we did say that the quality of films coming out of Malawi was improving and certainly, for the third time in three years for a small industry like ours, we have proven this to be true. A nomination at the AMVCAs is a big deal in the African film industry,” Banda said.
He said as MultiChoice Malawi, they were proud to see the great strides being made by the industry so far in AMVCAs.
“We see a bright future in filmmaking and we believe that this is very crucial to our nation because it allows us to tell the world about our experiences, culture and traditions. We are very proud of Imran Shaban and we are confident that we will see more,” Banda said.
Shaban has since indicated that The Beautiful Hen Behind Yao Mountain’s DVDs will go on sale from April 1 2020.
Meanwhile, MultiChoice Malawi has said the AMVCAs will be broadcast live on all Africa Magic channels on DStv and GOtv and that the red carpet will start at 7pm with the main event at 8pm.
Since its inception in 2013, AMVCAs have risen to the occasion to motivate players in the film industry by decorating them with various awards in different categories.
In its early years, the platform was dominated by West Africa with Southern Africa playing second fiddle.
But in 2016, organisers of AMVCAs decided to hear the voices from players in East and Southern Africa when they came up with categories such as Best Movie – Southern Africa and Best Movie – East Africa in order to accommodate more films from the two regions.
Despite its film industry being in its infancy, Malawi has done exceptionally well in the competition since AMVCAs added the Best Movie – Southern Africa.
With AMVCAs in its seventh edition in 2020, Malawi has managed to win the award twice through Mhango Chavula and Joyah.
In 2016, Chavula’s Lilongwe triumphed in the category beating two South African movies – Ayanda by Sarah Bletcher and Tell Me Sweet Something by Akin Omotosho, both of which had more nominations.
In 2017, Malawi did not participate as there were no films which were submitted but in 2018 the country returned with Joyah writing his own history as the second recipient of the Best Movie –Southern Africa for his film The Road to Sunrise.
Joyah’s The Road to Sunrise outclassed four other films in the category including Nyasaland by Mhango Chavula. The other films were Descent by Awal Abdulfatai, Salute by Philippe Talavera and Jomako Black Democracy by Abraham Kabwe.
This year, The Beautiful Hen Behind the Yao Mountain is battling it out with Kukuri by Philippe Talavera from Namibia and Dalitso by Abraham Kabwe and Kwacha by Cassie Kabwikta, all from Zambia.
Young Travellers first performed The Beautiful Hen Behind the Yao Mountain for the stage before adapting it for the movie.
The nominees for this year’s AMVCAs in all the 28 categories were announced on February 6 2020.
The seventh AMVCAs this year are being brought to viewers across the continent by Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice and are proudly sponsored by Amstel Malta.
Channel Director, Africa Magic, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, said recently the journey to select nominees from over 200 entries received was exciting.
“We are once again reminded of the important role the AMVCAs play in shaping the African film and television narrative,” Mba-Uzoukwu told Africa Magic.
According to Africa Magic, for the seventh edition, awards will be presented in 28 categories, with seven categories open to public voting and 21 to be decided by the AMVCA panel of judges. This year there is an inclusion of a new category, the MultiChoice Talent Factory ( MTF) Award.
AMVCA Head of Jury, Femi Odugbemi, feels that Africa is ready to change the narrative because “we have a global audience, improving skills and a location that is of cultural interest”.
“We are excited with the quality of entries. Every project nominated is good,” Odugbemi said.
He said AMVCAs were all about celebrating Africa’s untold stories observing that Africa has not been telling its positive stories with news of war and poverty dominating.