PFP undertook a six week Mobile Film Festival in Malawi as part of its distribution programme in rural areas of the country in partnership with locally operating NGOs. The aim was to bring crucial life-changing information to as many people as possible by means of PFP’s four existing Malawian films and the introduction of a new digital magazine, Kugawana.
Kugawana, which mean sharing, is a DVD collection in Chichewa of short films and clips of films by PFP and other contributors. The films selected for the first digital magazine cover a wide range of topics from health issues to agriculture to disability awareness.
During the six week festival we used our new pedal-powered ‘Backpack Cinema’ that weighs less than 18 kgs and is conveniently packed in two backpacks so that it can be easily conveyed over the roughest terrain by only two people. The whole system, being easily transportable and obviating the need for a diesel generator or electricity supply, overcomes many of the obstacles in bringing film to the remotest areas of Malawi.
Our UK Representative, George Salt, along with the local distribution team, Steward Mgombo and Lemani Makina, pedalled the equivalent of approximately 1000kms, carried out 40 screenings travelling 1500kms up and down the length of the country. Working with 14 NGO’s they managed to reach audiences in excess of 9,500 people, many living in very remote areas.
The festival also highlighted to us once again the importance of facilitated discussions following each screening. They provided an opportunity to bring issues very relevant to the communities out into the open, producing much laughter and promoting lively discussions.
By establishing working distribution partners, training up local distribution managers and distributing DVDs, PFP hope to ensure the sustainability of our distribution programme plans for Malawi, providing an opportunity for the films to have a lasting impact.