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Seeing gender-based violence through films

Scars seeks space for ‘Spaces’

TALKING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE—Some of the scenes in ‘Spaces’

Art will always play a crucial role in offering entertainment but also at the same time being used as a vehicle for disseminating key information to the masses.

This is why some artists utilising their talents but also the little resources have committed themselves to nothing but tackling various issues affecting people in the society.

Much as they would like to entertain, their main aim in exploring arts and moving on with their talents is to use it as arts for a cause.

One of the groups that have kept itself active in the creative world but with a focus on using art for a cause include Blantyre-based Scar of Life Films.

They may be strange to others but for those who have followed their recent exploits, then they will attest that they are doing a very good job as young people and also going the right direction.

Spearheaded by Valentino Molosen, Scar of Life Films has come out with different projects and in April this year they released a music video bringing awareness on persons living with albinism.

“We feel art is a powerful tool that can help bring about change much as it is also there to offer the much needed entertainment. As Scar of Life we want to help change the world and apart from music, we are also into film and drama,” Molosen said.

The youthful group according to Molosen wants to show that as youth, they have a responsibility to use their talents to tackle different issues.

Scar of Life Films has since come out with a film titled Spaces.

Molosen said the film is based on a true story and that they engaged in the production as part of taking up a leading role to fight gender-based violence.

He said the film would be finally on the market in December 2019.

“This film is based on a research we undertook as Scar of Life and this is why I am saying it is based on a true story. Through the research I conducted, I found out that gender-based violence is all over and most women do not report the different incidences they encounter in their families,” Molosen said.

Molosen, who is also a police officer, said through the film, they are speaking for the voiceless but also at the same time hear the message about gender-based violence.

“There are a lot of women, who are experiencing gender-based violence but are afraid to report it. It is only when they report it that they can be assisted. Staying quiet is something which is not good in today’s life,” he said.

Molosen said the gender-based violence is a huge project to them and that they have called it ‘working with gender-based violence survivors”.

“This is our first big movie as Scar of Life Films but we have done short films. We did a short film titled Kulibosya and this is yao meaning abstain. There is so much we want to do and for these projects, we are not only targeting Malawi but we are speaking to the world because there issues are happening in the world,” he said.

TALKING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE—Some of the scenes in ‘Spaces’

Early this year the Department for International Development (DfID) urged Malawi to mainstream gender-based violence prevention into all sectors to end incidences and deliver better development outcomes.

Head of DfID, Dave Beer, made the call at the pre-launch of the United Kingdom development arm’s flagship programme Tithetse Nkhanza which seeks to end gender-based violence (GBV) against women and children in Malawi.

According to UN Women, 20 percent of women have experienced sexual violence.

Molosen said young people have the talent but lack the necessary support to engage in various projects which are crucial to the development of the country.

“At the moment we have some series we would want to work on but the biggest challenge is funding,” he said.

With the film industry slowly making positive strides in the country where several filmmakers have come out with movies, Molosen, said they are building on the success of the music video.

“We would also want to engage some celebrities just to make sure that we drum up support against gender-based violence. Now we have Robin Ngalande, national team player as ambassador for gender-based violence and also Aggy Michaels as female ambassador on gender-based violence survivor’s school outreach,” the filmmaker said.

Some of the actors, who are part of the cast in the film include Bright Seyani, Mphatso Munkha, Ellen Banda, Secret Noah, Kondwani Chinjota, Florence Magombo, Tadala Petani, Triss Phiri and Alice Maluwa.

Young people have seen the importance of utilising their talents although many still lack the necessary platforms to come out.

Recently MultiChoice Africa called on young people, who are in filmmaking to take up a leading role in telling Africa’s stories.

MultiChoice observed that there are several stories in the continent which needed to be told through films.

Veteran filmmaker, Shemu Joyah, who has produced award winning movies – Seasons of a Life, The Last Fishing Boat and The Road to Sunrise said recently that the film industry is going the right direction in the country.

He however, said recently that filmmakers must strive to tell these stories professionally.

Joyah said he is always happy to see young people coming out with different products on the art scene including movies.

The filmmaker, who recently bagged four awards at the Shungu Namutitima International Festival in Zambia said recently that they were trying to build a film industry in Malawi.

“We are building the film industry in Malawi and perhaps not in the most favourable conditions,” he said.

Joyah said now they need the business community to start looking at investing in film production as a potential business.

“This is by way of product placement, co-productions and also assisting as social responsibility. A blossoming film industry would improve the economic environment,” he said.

Molosen said as Scar Films, they have always looked up to veterans such as Joyah and that they have been motivated by his films.

“There is just so much for us to do but as I said earlier, as young people we are on a mission and our aim is to tackle various issues people are facing in the society. We need to talk about gender-based violence and stop it, if we don’t then we are creating problems.

Films or art in general has proved to be an important vehicle for information dissemination and we hope Spaces will be given the space,” Molosen said.

For Scar of Life Films, Spaces is a project worth pursuing as it is tackling issues of gender-based violence and hopefully they do more and tell these stories beautifully and creatively.

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