‘The Road to Sunrise’ premieres


Shemu Joyah’s third movie The Road to Sunrise finally premiered on Friday night at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

But the premiere, which was spiced up by a performance from musician Agorosso, who adds colour to the movie with his music, attracted a not-so-huge audience.

But Joyah said yesterday that, despite the low patronage, he was happy that the film has been premiered.


“It was great and the reaction of those who came was amazing,” the filmmaker said.

The film screened in Lilongwe barely a month after its international premiere at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival in the United States where it won a Special Recognition Award for a Narrative Feature Film.

Its triumph on the international platform is clear testimony that it is a good movie and worth watching. But it is strictly for those who are 18 years and above.


Germany Ambassador to Malawi, Juergen Borsch, could not hide his excitement with the movie, saying it blew him away.

“It’s an amazing movie. Great work from Shemu Joyah and crew and I was just talking to Shemu Joyah if he can take the film to Berlin Film Festival. The actors in the film were just marvellous and the story itself is so touching,” Borsch said.

He added:

“I see Malawi doing great things in the arts, which shows that Africa, Malawi, have something to offer.”

Another patron described The Road to Sunrise as a brilliant production and that the storyline is wonderful although it has an adult theme.

In the film, Joyah runs away from using well-known actors who starred in his two previous award-winning movies – Seasons A Life and The Last Fishing Boat.

The only old faces that are part of this movie are Hope Chisanu, Tapiwa Gwaza and Bennie Msuku.

Joyah, as director, appears briefly in the movie.

The crew did well in the movie in terms of sound and picture quality.

The movie follows the story of two women, Rubia, played by Mirriam Phiri, and Watipa played by Chantelle Phiri, who struggle with life in the townships of Blantyre.

The two are prostitutes. One day Rubia refuses to have sex with a very rich businessman, who is a regular client.

The businessman loses his temper and violently attempts to rape her.

In self defence, Rubia stabs the businessman to death. She is arrested and charged with murder.

Her subsequent trial becomes a battle not just to escape the death sentence but also a journey towards her inner emancipation.

“Stories of prostitutes have been told since time immemorial, with the Bible having its own share [of such stories] but this film is different as it tells the story from the point of view of prostitutes themselves,” Joyah said.

Prostitution is the key subject in the film but several issues are also also exposed in the movie, including that of power shortages being experienced in the country.

Joyah said the film interrogates society’s view of women who are exploited through the sex industry, and shows how society uses double standards to judge the men who exploit them.

Other actors starring in the movie are Nancy Phiri, Mphatso Mwale, Claude Simwaka, Yankho Seunda and Madock Masina, who plays Shoti, the switchblade-welding pimp who was a centre of attraction during the premiere.

Some of the actors starring in the movie were present during the premiere.

From Lilongwe, the movie will be screened at Robin’s Park in Blantyre on November 11.

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