* Join 4 others — Jonathan Kapumba; Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba (2019) and Mphatso Makamo; Chisomo Livason (2010)
* The graduation event was a celebration of the hard work and dedication of the 57 graduating students
* As well as the success of MultiChoice’s Talent Factory concept
By Duncan Mlanjira
Chisomo Kawaga and Asante Mbaimbai were part of 57 students across three academies in Southern, Western and Eastern Africa who graduated as the 3rd cohort of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) that trains and develops skills in filmmaking.
They join four other Malawians from two previous cohorts — Jonathan Kapumba and Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba from Class of 2019) and Mphatso Makamo and Chisomo Livason (2010).
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.
A statement from MultiChoice says the MTF Academy has proven that the African entertainment industry is ripe with gripping stories that are waiting to be told, saying all 57 students across the three academies “demonstrated the calibre of talent that exists in Africa”.
“Through their hard work and dedication, they have developed skills that will help them achieve their filmmaking goals.”
Chisomo Kawaga is quoted as saying her time as Malawi’s representative at the MTF Academy graduate was an “amazing experience, adding that she got the chance “to meet different creatives from other countries and also learn from them”.
“It was a WOW experience” Asante is quoted as saying. “We were given a chance to learn from different production companies in Zambia and from facilitators from different countries which will make us improve our country’s film industry through the knowledge we received.”
The students received qualifications accredited by the Academy’s three partner universities — University of Zambia, Kenyatta University in Kenya and Pan Atlantic University in Nigeria.
Alongside the graduates’ family members, government officials, high commissioners, MTF partner organisations and stakeholders also attended the illustrious graduation ceremony in support.
MultiChoice further says in the statement that MTF initiative has enjoyed continued success thanks to its 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 MTF 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 films, which will be launching on DStv local channels.
“The graduates will soon enter the working world with deeper and more strategic insight into the film and TV business, and take on the exciting challenge of re-shaping and re-telling African stories.”
Last month, when MultiChoice Malawi announced that they are set to unveil the successful candidate of the Masterclass in scriptwriting to start producing Malawi’s TV series to be shown on OneZed channel on both DStv and GOtv, Managing Director, Emma Gichonge took cognizance that the MTF Academy is actively supporting the growth of qualified Malawian filmmakers.
She had said: “And not only does MTF upskill, inspire and nurture talented young people to work in local creative industries, but it is also helping to establish a sustainable pipeline of quality local film and TV content within Malawi.”
She added that Malawians should celebrate with MultiChoice once Kawaga and Mbaimbai would graduate as well as Makamu’s, Livason’s, Kapumba’s and Mkwezalamba’s achievements.
She further emphasized that four MTF alumni are a “working film industry professionals in their own right, actively contributing to the growth of Malawi’s creative arts landscape” and looked forward “to seeing them using their acquired knowledge to help build the Malawian film industry, like the cohorts that came before them”.
“We are committed to providing our customers with the right mix of local, pan-African and international content to ensure we provide our customers with a world of choice and even more value,” Gichonge had said at the 2022 Media Showcase — which is MultiChoice’s annual engagement with the media, which aims to summarize and exhibit how MultiChoice embraces its role as Africa’s most-loved storyteller.
She had said they target to start production for OneZed materials at the beginning of November, with the series slated to premiere at the beginning of 2023 on OneZed — having successfully hosted their first physical Masterclass in scriptwriting.
These Masterclasses were led by industry veteran; actor; producer; and director, Neil McCarthy in conjunction with the Ministry of Information & Digitization following a recent establishment of the MultiChoice Expansion program, dubbed Project Pamodzi.
MultiChoice Expansion program — the collaborative project between MultiChoice, local television stations and local content producers — was launched in Malawi for industry-development and training programs facilitated by MTF Masterclasses.
Gichonge explained that Masterclasses “are vital in equipping content producers with the tools and knowledge to fulfill their true potential and cultivate work that represents truly Malawian stories”.
“Such stories should embody essence of ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ — with a hint of international appeal and flare. We look forward to hosting more of these sessions in the near future.
“We are committed to ensuring Malawian stories are told and it brings me great joy to have observed such a positively overwhelming response to the call for proposals for the first Malawian comedy or drama series that has been commissioned for OneZed channel.”
OneZed, which was added onto GOtv last July, a pan-African channel that caters to the Zambian and Malawian markets — is a full family entertainment channel through which DStv and GOtv viewers are enjoying shows that tell authentic African stories with international appeal.
Some popular shows on the channel include drama/comedy, ‘Landlady Meets Landlord’ and thought-provoking drama series ‘Ubuntu’, afro-novela’s ‘Zuba’ and ‘Mpali’.
Gichoge emphasised that telling the African story is not just MultiChoice Africa’s statement but “is woven in the fabric of its existence” — pledging that the TV entertainment provider had made it “a priority to invest in African content and continues to introduce channels that add value to our customers and grow Africa’s video entertainment industry”.
She had said MultiChoice focuses on providing a world of choice to its customers, adding: “We hope what we share here today resonates with you the journalists — as esteemed story tellers in your own right”.