Blantyre and Mulanje
After 5 and half weeks of travelling and screening around rural Malawi, we finally hit the metropolis of Blantyre, which, despite being the country’s business district, still seems calm, clean and friendly.
A very passionate representative from local NGO, SRGDI (Sustainable Rural Growth Development Initiative), took us 20km out of the city to Chikuli trading centre for an evening screening with an enthusiastic audience who really got into debating the issues of Mbeu Yosintha.
The next day, we travelled 40km south to Nkando trading centre, 20km from Mulanje, the epic mount Mulanje shimmering through the heat haze. Our friendly rep from REFORD took us on a tour into town, past vast tea plantations and onto the lower slopes of the lush, green mountain.
We had a great double-bill that evening of both Mawa Langa and Mbeu Yosintha, with insightful discussions from the area’s younger members, who excitedly cheered each other on.
And then we came back to Blantyre and arrived at the big four-oh! Our final screening was at Blantyre Secondary School with MANAD. It was unique to all the previous 39, the audience being made up of deaf members of the community. It was pretty amazing to see them engaging with Mawa Langa and then discuss the characters and issues in great detail – one aspiring filmmaker even pointed out the storyboarding and directing tips he’d picked up – another first for the Kugawana festival.
And that pretty much sums up our experience over the past 6 weeks. We have shown PFP’s fantastic, educational dramas across the length and breadth of Malawi – and every single screening and audience has been memorable and special in its own way. From the reactions to the comments; from the venues to the ever-changing beauty of the country – it has been one special journey.
PFP’s latest film is now underway. Shooting started last Thursday after Tim, the sound editor and Ronit, the editor, arrived in Malawi.
After Colin and the team had found all the locations they needed, they had to hold auditions to get the right actors for the drama. They have all put in a lot of work to prepare and by now, we have 3 days worth of film towards a finished story.
Ten year old Suley and his friends sleep in the space between the top of this read container and the roof of the building.
Our plan is for each member of the adult group to meet up with one child, and to learn from them about the factors that cause children to be on the street, what life there is like, and the feelings, hopes and fears of the children concerned. In this picture, the woman police officer meets 16 year old Fatmatah who has recently left the street with the help of a local NGO.
Hawa (not her real name) is one of the children whom we plan to feature. She lives by selling oranges on the street – gets up at 6 a.m. to start preparing the fruit, then walks round the market all day with a bucket of them on her head. She hopes for about 80p profit before evening when she goes home to prepare a meal for her “auntie” and the rest of the family.