Malawi’s second edition of the European Film Festival opened on Friday by Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi.
“Malawi and EU relations are of crucial importance,” said the Usi while launching the event, "I feel honoured that the EU is celebrating this relationship through film. Culture is one of the key priority areas for Malawi’s Vision 2063.
'We hope this event will contribute to making the film sector a key driver for dialogue, especially at atime when culture and creativity have becomemore important than ever.”
Presented by the European Union, the festival took place over two days in the beautiful outdoor setting of the EU Ambassador’s residence in Lilongwe and at the Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre.
The festival showcased established and rising talents in filmmaking from both Europeand Malawi. Entrance to all sixteen screenings was free and observed COVID-19 protocols.
“Europe’s cinema industry is thriving and producingaward-winning visual storytelling. The European Union is delighted to support Malawi’s film industry as we learn from each other andgrow together,” said Aurélie Valtat, EU Chargé d’affaires.
“This festival displays the variety and the complexity of both Malawi and the European Union’s cultures, opening up paths for further fruitful interpersonal and cultural relationships.”
Usi and EU representatives stressed the importance of listening to each other, and growing together through dialogue and friendship.
“It’s great to see Europeans and Malawians connecting through the stories we tell on screen,” said filmmaker and actor Mwizalero Nyirenda. “We can learn from each other.”
“Films express our cultural identity,” said Director of Arts Humphrey Mpondaminga adding, “The Malawian film industry is still young but holds muchpromise to deliver growth. Thanks to the European Union for organising this festival and supporting young filmmakers to realise their dreams.”
The festival follows a series of workshops for filmmakers, including a short film challenge with the winning entry screened at the event.
“I loved Tiza and the Robot,” said festival goer Kondwani about one of the Malawian films screened at the event.
“It was inspiring to see a vivid portrayal of the Malawi I know and recognise on the big screen. It was also incredible to see animation and technical excellence in a really touching story.”
“This festival has been fundamental to building our film industry. We need to applaud the European Union for supporting this learning and exchange,” said Ezaius Mkandawire, President of the Film Association of Malawi.
“We must be ambassadors for our own work. For any meaningful development, there must be strong support for and investment in the creative sector.”
The in-person event will be followed by an online film festival.
“As a little gift from the EU as we celebrate EuropeDay on 9 May, we’re delighted to make aspecial selection of films available to watch online,” said Aurélie Valtat, EU Chargé d’affaires.
“It’s completely for free for anyone in Malawi.”
The films may be streamed from 9 May to 5 June by visiting www.eurofilmfestmw.com.