Telling Malawian story
A movie for HD Plus Creations
Social media on Friday was awash with congratulatory messages from different people praising a team of young men and women in the country which has come out with a movie that is yet to be officially released later this year.
A trailer the team posted on social media of the film titled Fatsani A Tale of Survival caught even the attention of renowned players in film industry such as South Africa-based actor Eugene Khumbanyiwa.
Khumbanyiwa—a stage, television, film and voice actor, widely known for playing the role of Obesandjo in the 2009 Oscar- nominated sci-fi hit District 9, commended the team behind Fatsani A Tale of Survival for a job well done in their yet to be premiered movie.
“I love this trailer of a Malawian film Fatsani from Hastings Golosi and his team. Big up. We know Netflix is busy looking for quality, original African content, Malawian filmmakers should not be left behind. Keep pushing. This is great,” Khumbanyiwa said.
Although yet to make it big on the international platform, the country seems to be making strides as far as growing its film industry is concerned and this has been observed through the several films that are on the market at the moment produced by different filmmakers.
In the past, the industry was only talking of a few names such as award winning veteran filmmaker, Shemu Joyah, whose three films Seasons of A Life, The Last Fishing Boat and The Road to Sunrise did well on the market.
There also have been filmmakers such as Flora Suya and Joyce Mhango Chavula, who have showed the best through their movies.
But more players continue to come out and show that the film industry has a lot to offer and at the same time show that Malawi has lots of stories that need to be told.
In 2019 the country spoke volumes of the Chiwetel Ejiofor’s film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind which speaks volumes of the life of the country’s innovator William Kamkwamba.
But here is another production that, through its trailer has already won the hearts of many, Fatsani A Tale of Survival watching the trailer which shows that it also has some of the actors such as Kelvin Ngoma, who starred in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
According to its synopsis, Fatsani A Tale of Survival is a movie about a young girl who helps her sick grandmother and is forced to sell bananas in the streets to survive, after her school was closed due to corruption by the authorities.
This is the creation of HD Plus, which, inspired by true life events, decided to create the film which the trailer has indicated would be out in summer of this year.
Produced and directed by Hastings Hago Golosi and Gift Sukez Sukali respectively, the film was written by Gilbert Mphatso Moyo.
Golosi said the film’s inspiration comes from the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that aims at ending poverty in all its forms. However, a report by International Labour Organisation (ILO) states that Malawi is positioned among the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This means that a lot of Malawians live below poverty line and struggle to survive and in the course of the struggle survival, some people use children for economic gains.
“In other words, most children become involved in child labour. The report cited above also indicates that 2.1 million Malawian children remain trapped in child labour. This is despite the efforts by a lot of organisations and the government to end the malpractice,” Golosi said.
He said one example of child labour common in the cities of Malawi, was using children as street food vendors, adding this example of child labour was rarely documented.
“So as HD Plus Creations we embarked on a mission to tell such a story by using a feature film,” Golosi said.
He recalls that it was in 2014 when a team of young people (Sukali, Moyo and Golosi) while still at the University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic in Blantyre came up with a concept of the film and that the first draft of the script was completed the same year.
“The draft went through numerous amendments until a final draft was settled for in 2019. In the same year, HD Plus Creations began shooting the film, which developed into an hour-long dramatic thriller about a 13-year-old girl called Fatsani,” Golosi said.
He said they researched using different methodologies to come up with the storyline, including monitoring media reports, observation and interviews with people.
“This effort led to an authentic story inspired by true events. The story is about a young girl who is forced to sell bananas in the streets for survival. The key characters in this film are two young children, Fatsani and Chikondi, who face the harsh reality of survival through an ugly example of child labour,” Golosi said.
He said as HD Plus Creation they believe in team work and that their goal was to let the world know that Malawi has talent as well as good stories.
“It doesn’t feel good to see other production companies coming to Africa to tell our stories. I think it’s high time we told our stories. Our stories can be told better by us. So the production involves HD Plus Creations, a Malawian-based videography and advertising agency that specialises in producing creative audio-visual content for non-governmental organisations, corporations and individuals,” Golosi said.
In the film, Golosi said they have also worked with Animal Lab, Zozizwa Studios, Kwacha Creations and National Screenwriters Guild.
Apart from Ngoma and Edwin Chonde, who starred in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the other actors, who are part of the movie are Hanna Sukali, who plays Fatsani and Former Mr Malawi, Patrick Mhango.
The trailer for sure looks good and well done and one can only say bravo as we wait for the movie to truly to experience to how good it is.
“We wanted to tell a story that depicts our day to day life. As indicated earlier, we were inspired by true events. A lot of people here in Malawi judge street kids who are vendors. As a filmmaker, my role is to tell stories that do not only entertain but also depict the reality on the ground. I know it could have been very easy for us to start with a fancy movie but we thought it wise to start with a story about issues that affect us every day,” Golosi said.
Sam Kabambe, the man behind casting, said they auditioned the team before getting them on board for various roles.
“We have invested a lot in equipment in the movie so as to get the best results,” Kabambe said.
Although a trailer for the movie has been posted, the film will not come out until summer as the team is yet to finalise everything.
“We are still looking for more partners to assist in production, marketing and other areas. The current status is that we are still in production and 60 percent has been shot and edited and principal photography was done in Lilongwe from August to September 2019. We are planning to resume production in March once we have funding in place,” Kabambe said.
Sukali said they have been working on the project for close to six years now.
“In 2014 we came up with a concept of this movie but we could not shoot it because we did not have the equipment and the man power, first draft script was done and amended over the years until 2019, early February we had the gear and resources (the crew and the actors),” Sukali widely known as Sukez, who has produced music videos for a number of musicians said.
He said they were still looking for someone to be the executive producer targeting companies or individuals.
“The movie is scheduled to be released by the end of the year and we will have a red carpet event. We have always said we will venture into a full movie company. We understand funding iota challenge but that won’t limit us,” Sukali said.