Local films get regional recognition

THE local film industry recently got a major boost after two films titled Ngoda and Mirage received nominations for this year’s Sotambe Zambia International Film Festival (ZAMIFF).

ZAMIFF is Zambia’s biggest film festival and this year’s edition, which marks its 10th anniversary, takes place from September 23 to 30 at the Zambian Italian Cultural Centre and Nu Metro Cinema in Lusaka.

Ngoda got five nominations in Southern Africa for the Best Cinematography, Best Sound and Best Feature Film including individual nominations for Eddie Sandifolo and Joe Njagu for the Best Actor and Best Director, respectively.

Early this year Ngoda surprised all and sundry when it was voted for the Outstanding Screen Production (Full Length Film) before its premiere at the National Arts Merit Award.

The Malaika Mushandu-directed Mirage also got an avalanche of nominations at ZAMIFF, which include Best Feature Film, Best Sound and Best Screenplay in Southern Africa.

Mushandu, a former Miss Zimbabwe queen, has seen her production being nominated thrice at Africa’s most prestigious award, the African Movie Academy Award.

Last year Mushandu won the Best Film Director award at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival.

Mushandu and Njagu told NewsDay Life & Style that getting the 10th Sotambe ZAMIFF nominations evoked a feeling of encouragement.

“The feeling evoked because of these nominations is of encouragement as our industry is on the rise and at times the hurdles faced can be taxing. Recognitions from across the borders and internationally are like a well needed hug from the Almighty telling me to soldier on,” Mushandu said.

“In the day and age we live in, experience has taught me that it is not enough to just be storytellers. My exploration now is more towards the business aspect of film, this will help in the sustainability and longevity of my career as a storyteller. The accolades will hopefully open doors to be able to get commissioning and other deals.”

Njagu said he discovered that Ngoda had received nominations after receiving a congratulatory message from a colleague.

“These days with social media your news reaches you last. However, the excitement of being nominated is always nice. This is affirmation that we are doing something right,” Njagu said.

“Ngoda is a work of creative collaboration that is deliberate in upping the film game in Zimbabwe. So I guess if we are getting nominated outside our border it means we definitely did something right.”

ZAMIFF is run by the Sotambe Film Institute. It was established in 2014 in the Copperbelt province in Zambia. In the local language Sotambe means “come and watch”.

To celebrate the growth of the festival and its 10th anniversary, organisers have incorporated the business arena (content market) as part and parcel of the festival.

This year’s fiesta runs under the theme Expansion to the world, which represents the quality African content that is ready to be shared with the rest of the world.

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