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‘Technical error’ spoils ‘Dear Pen Pal’s Blantyre premiere

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The premiere of Flora Suya’s second film Dear Pen Pal at The Underground, formerly M-Theatres, in Blantyre on Saturday night suffered a setback due to what the filmmaker said was a ‘technical error’.

As the film was heating the climax, an error occurred disappointing the not so impressive audience.

Suya wore a brave face to apologise for the ‘technical error’.

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“That’s not the end of the film, I have to apologise there is an error, I don’t know what has happened. But I apologise, you get hold of your tickets and then you can watch the film tomorrow (Sunday) as we have another screening,” Suya said.

But this did not go down well with some of the patrons, who said they had spared their precious time to watch the film on Saturday night.

“This is not on; I think you have showed unprofessionalism on this. You were supposed to check everything before the premiere. These are the things that sometimes put people off on watching some of the local stuff. We want to support you but you give us a raw deal,” said one of the patrons.

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Although faults happen, the organisers surely could have done better by watching the film first from the beginning to the end before screening.

Efforts had to be made later to play the remaining part of the film using a different system and it worked although there were challenges with sound.

The red carpet premiere started on time but the challenges started appearing earlier when brightness and colour for the film was not on spot and so these were being checked while the film was running.

Earlier, before the screening, Suya hailed people for their support and said she has fun working on the second movie having debuted with My Mother’s Story.

The romantic film which stars, among others, George Misinde, Ebony Phiri, Yankho Seunda and Tapiwa Gwaza, delves into the issues of relationship, love and marriage with a key word that love always finds its way.

Before the Blantyre screening, Dear Pen Pal premiered at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe before screening again at the same venue on Saturday afternoon.

On Friday in Lilongwe, the Ministry of Civic Education, Cult u r e and Commu n i ty Development, acknowledged that there are a number of challenges in the creative industry that have to be addressed in the country.

Acting Deputy Director in the Department of Arts, Humphrey Mpondaminga, highlighted the absence of formalised markets, growing rate of piracy, high costs of producing quality films and lack of infrastructure for film screenings.

Mpondaminga also said there was limited expertise to groom the talent that Malawi has for filmmaking.

He, however, said the government is doing all it can to address the challenges.

One of the initiatives he cited is Integrated Arts Development Programme being implemented by the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) and Department of Culture.

“Again the Copyright Act was reviewed and amended and we now have the amended Copyright Act of 2016 which will effectively respond to challenges of piracy, and introduce a broader regime for the collection and management of royalties,” he said.

Mpondaminga, however, said, for the challenges to be dealt with completely, there is need for collaboration by all stakeholders.

“Let me therefore appeal to the corporate sector as well as organisations to support the film industry and the creative industry at large, to help build a vibrant industry that will enhance wealth creation and jobs for Malawians,” he said.

During the premiere businessperson Abida Mia bought the first DVD of the film at K1 million. Other patrons bought more copies at an accumulated sum of K730,000.

Suya said she was happy that the movie was finally launched after working on it for two years.

“It was nice tonight. I am happy with the feedback I have received, although the patronage [is not what] I expected. May be it is because of the holiday that’s why few people turned up,” Suya said.

Dear Pen Pal, is a movie about two pen pals, Prisca and Steve, who agree not to exchange pictures as a measure of making their first meeting exciting. However, when they agree to meet, circumstances make it impossible. It is, however, Steve’s friend, Ian, who deceives Prisca, by saying he was Steve, and ends up marrying her later.

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