The delegates at the content validation meeting
* The 10-year project aims at linking Malawians to content that talk about their own stories * Broadcasters that will not comply with this will face some licensing conditions
* MACRA is trying everything to provide a conducive environment for them to cooperate
* We have already provided equipment to MUBAS and we are working on opening a studio
By Loness Gwazanga, MANA
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has partnered University of Malawi (UNIMA), Malawi University of Business & Applied Sciences (MUBAS) and the Film Association of Malawi (FAMA) to promote local film content production.
The deal was sealed on Monday at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre during a content validation meeting aimed at unpacking curriculum content that the two universities are expected to offer, as well as seek more views from the players in the industry before rolling out the short courses.
MACRA’s acting Director of Broadcasting, Matilda Kanjeri said the 10-year project aims at linking Malawians to content that talk about their own stories.
She emphasized that broadcasters that will not comply with this will face some licensing conditions as MACRA is trying everything to provide a conducive environment for them to cooperate.
”We have already provided equipment to MUBAS and we are working on opening a studio,” she said. “Right now, we are also in the process of procuring equipment for UNIMA.
“Currently, we are having some challenges in television broadcasting and the whole idea is that we should have a lot of options as well as give room to content producers to have the liberty to produce content at subsidised rates.”
Sydney Kamkuzi, UNIMA’s senior lecturer in the department of media & communication studies within the school of arts Communication & designing, said although the project will set a minimum qualification for admission, all content creators regardless of their level of education will be accommodated.
“As a university, we believe that before implementing any project, we should get the views from those who are going to implement the project,” he said. “Therefore, we will start with defining what local content is, some are producing content they think is local but when you look at it with a critical point of view, you will note that the content is not local.”
FAMA president, Gift Sukali commended MACRA for their involvement, saying this will help set excellent standards in terms of local content production.
He described the curriculum as the essential aspect that Malawi needs in order to promote the production of local content, hence need for guidance academic wise on how to go about it.
“We have had trainings in the past and it was more of what we thought was right. But now, even those aspiring to join the industry will know what is expected of them in order to create content that can be ably consumed by the audience.
“Some universities may also need some people who are actually on the ground to provide training or even public lectures so this development is welcome,” Sukali said.
Content in the curriculum will include production and management, new media and broadcasting as well as monetarisation of the created content.
Meanwhile, MultiChoice Malawi is committed to provide for Malawian film production to be beamed on OneZed channel on DStv and GOtv and it commissioned Tauka Arts Pictures Production Company — managed by actor, script writer, producer, editor and director, Precious Pungulani Denja — to produce the first of such series.
This initiative to have Malawian stories be featured on OneZed is part of the MultiChoice Expansion Program-Project Pamodzi, which was launched in Malawi in July — which seeks to reiterate MultiChoice’s commitment in investing in Malawi’s TV and film industry through skills development programmes offered through the MultiChoice Talent Factory.
OneZed, which was added onto GOtv in July last, is a pan-African channel that caters to the Zambian and Malawian markets — a full family entertainment channel through which DStv and GOtv viewers are enjoying shows that tell authentic African stories with international appeal.
The MultiChoice Talent Factory trains and develops skills in filmmaking from which six Malawians graduated from through Chisomo Kawaga and Asante Mbaimbai from the 3rd cohort of 2022; Mphatso Makamo and Chisomo Livason (2020) and Jonathan Kapumba and Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba (2019).
Kapumba now owns his own film production company; Mkwezalamba is a professional filmmaker and actor; Makamo is a lecturer of film theory and professional filmmaker while Livason is a producer; graphics artist and owns a media consultancy business.
The MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy has strong partnerships with renowned organisations such as NYFA, Dolby Studios, Canon, Zee World, Pan-Atlantic University in Nigeria, Kenyatta University in Kenya, and the University of Zambia.
The specialised academy provides a 12-month accredited programme in filmmaking and as part of their curriculum, the students participate in various courses under the tutelage of seasoned industry professionals from all over the continent, including Nigerian filmmaker Tunde Kelani and veteran Kenyan producer Appie Matere.
The final requirement of their curriculum was to create and develop feature African stories in films for DStv local channels.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express