By Sam Banda Jnr:
Filmmaker Shemu Joyah on Monday screened his award-winning movie The Road to Sunrise at Kino Kunstlerhaus in Hannover, Germany.
The Road to Sunrise is Joyah’s third film and last year scooped the Best Movie – Southern Africa in the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCAs) and also received seven nominations in Africa Movie Academy Awards (Amaa).
The film was selected as the Malawian entry for the-Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It was the first film to be submitted by Malawi in the Foreign Language Oscar category.
The film delves into the story of two prostitutes, who exploited by men and ridiculed by the world, struggle to survive in the rough, unforgiving slums of Blantyre.
Some of the actors starring in the film include Madock Masina, Miriam Phiri and Hope Chisanu.
Several people on social media have since hailed Joyah for flying the country’s flag through the screening of the film in Germany.
“That is what we need to be reading and hearing more about mother Malawi. You are carrying our national flag and wide,” Leonard Zondetsa said.
Joyah said Tuesday that, with many parts of the film being in Chichewa with English subtitles, he was worried that the German audience would not find the film interesting.
“Most people prefer to watch a movie instead of reading it. But, to my pleasant surprise, the people enjoyed the film very much. I also had a wonderful question-and-answer session after the screening,” Joyah wrote on his Facebook page.
The filmmaker left the country early this month for the Germany tour initiated by German Ambassador to Malawi, Juergen Borsch, after being impressed by The Road to Sunrise during its premiere in Lilongwe in 2017.
“I am happy to have screened the movie in Germany. I have also learned a lot through this tour particularly during the study tour of Berlin International Film Festival. The most important thing being discussions with representatives of funding institutions such as World Cinema Fund,” he said.
Joyah said the representatives gave them a lot of information on how to apply for funding.
“In our programme, there were 24 filmmakers and film professionals from different countries. I am also happy to have had a chat with a representative of Netflix and I learned a lot about Netflix,” he said.
Apart from screening his film, Joyah, also had a chance to watch The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a film by British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, which was shot in Kasungu District and tells the story of the country’s innovator William Kamkwamba. The film will be premiered globally on Netflix next month.
He said he got a chance to screen his movie in Hannover through the Friends of Malawi spearheaded by Silvia Hesse.
Joyah returns home today.
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