Shemu Joyah shares Amaa experiences


By Sam Banda Jnr:

Veteran filmmaker Shemu Joyah is back from Kigali, Rwanda, where he attended the 14th Edition of Africa Movie Academy Awards (Amaa).

Three films from Malawi, The Road to Sunrise which was voted Best Movie–Southern Africa during the 2018 Africa Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) by Joyah, Nyasaland by Joyce Mhango Chavula and My Mother’s Story by Flora Suya received nominations this year.


Joyah’s film received seven nominations, with Chavula and Suya films getting a nomination each.

However, there was no luck for Malawi films at the awards where the biggest single winner was Michael Matthew’s Five Fingers for Marseilles from South Africa.

The film picked up five awards including the biggest award of the night – Award for Best Film.


Joyah said he had a very good discussion with the producer of Five Fingers for Marseilles adding that he gave him some hints on online distribution.

“It is something that we have to look at seriously. Amaa 2018 was a good event and the attendance was lower than the ones we had in Nigeria, but the general organisation was very good,” he said.

Joyah said all his three films have received more nominations in Amaa.

“The Road to Sunrise had seven; The Last Fishing Boat had five with Seasons of a Life the highest with eight nominations,” he said.

Having got eight nominations with Seasons of a Life in 2010, the film won one for Best Actress in a Supporting role for Tapiwa Gwaza.

In The Last Fishing Boat in 2013, the film got five and won one for Best Soundtrack by Agorosso.

But this year with seven nominations, The Road to Sunrise failed to get any award in the categories of among others, Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Award for Achievement in Make-up and Award for Best Director.

Joyah said the country has to strive to produce better films.

“Our friends are putting in serious investment in film. For example Five Fingers for Marseilles had a budget of $1 million. It is very difficult to beat a film with that kind of budget,” he said.

On collaborations, the veteran filmmaker said he had a discussion with the president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria.

“He wants us to explore ways in which we can have Nigerian actors in our films and also how we can have Malawian actors in Nigerian films,” he said.

With South Africa on top as far as producing quality films is concerned, why not work with them as well?

“The challenge I see in doing a co-production with a South African team is that we have not yet reached the levels of investments that would make sense to them. Obviously they would prefer to do co-productions with American companies,” he said.

Joyah added that Five Fingers for Marseilles, for example, had American co-producers.

He said having three Malawian films this year is a huge improvement.

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