US opportunities open up for filmmakers, writers


Residency programmes for filmmakers and writers have opened up in United States of America (USA).

US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Namita Biggins said Wednesday that, since 1967, over 1,500 writers from more than 150 countries have been in residence at the University of Iowa.

She said the residency, which usually runs from late August to mid-November, is designed for established and emerging creative writers — poets, fiction writers, dramatists and non-fiction writers.


“Writers Shadreck Chikoti, Muthi Nhlema and Steve Sharra are among the Malawians who have participated in the International Writing Programme. The US Embassy will nominate three Malawians for the International Writing Programme, and final selection will be done by the programme organisers,” Biggins said.

Apart from the residency for writers, Biggins also said that there was another opportunity for filmmakers.

She said in June 2023, the American Film Showcase will welcome 12 emerging documentary filmmakers from across the globe for an intensive, all expenses paid, 10-day documentary development and pitch workshop.


“The workshop will immerse filmmakers in the craft of documentary storytelling with a multi-day development workshop led by renowned faculty at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts (SCA),” she said.

Biggins said the US Department of State has a partnership with SCA to engage international audiences through American film.

“This people-to-people exchange will send American filmmakers and film experts overseas and bring emerging international filmmakers to SCA to learn from American experts. The US Embassy will nominate two Malawians for the American Film Showcase, and final selection will be done by the programme organisers,” she said.

Biggins said that the two programmes are aimed at promoting an exchange of ideas and expertise.

“The programmes equip participants with the skills to improve their work, learn from American experts, and establish a powerful network with other artists in their fields from around the world. The eligibility criteria, how to apply, and deadlines are available on the US Embassy web pages,” she said.

The US Embassy in Lilongwe recently also organised film screenings and discussions as part of Black History Month.

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