The 5th SOTAMBE FILM FESTIVAL – “THE CANNES” IN ZAMBIA

Moonze Mwiinga

Published October 10, 2018

"Lights! Camera! Action!" Is something that every passionate filmmaker dreams of screaming before the reels hit their motion and make magical moments before the eyes of a thousand, if not a million, curious minds eager to see what the next scene unfolds. 'These Are the Days: Celebrating a Zambian Filmmaker' was the theme of the 5th SOTAMBE Documentary Film and Arts Festival and it was all about the film.

From the 18th - 23rd September 2018, the SOTAMBE Film Institute hosted the 5th SOTAMBE Film Festival at the Kitwe Little Theatre in Kitwe. The Festival spreads over a period of six scintillating days that had an amazing preamble of three (3) days of free outdoor screenings and an Art Exposition where emotions and skill with paint was displayed on canvas for the whole period of the Festival.

It was the Film Festival to be remembered. Tuesday 18 September saw the opening ceremony with a traditional attire dress code. The Official Opening of the Festival was graced by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Honourable Dora Siliya and many influential political and business figures from the Zambia’s Film Industry. Entertained by one of Zambia’s most remarkable comedians Bob Nkosha, the ceremony made filmmakers settle into the rhythm of the Festival’s official song performed by B’Flow and got the whole audience to their feet. The night ended with a bang when the afterparty at Quenchers Pub poolside had massive feet-stomping and waist-shaking music to the delight of all who attended. The 5 days of the celebration of the national filmmaking skills begun.

About forty (40) local filmmakers from all parts of Zambia took time of their busy schedules to attend this important five-day event. The amount of discussions, networking, sharing of ideas and learning was that of the one can experience at CANNES, the biggest Film Festival hosted in France.

The Festival’s programme was filled with various workshops happening concurrently at different venues and daily movie and documentary screenings at the Little Theatre. Noticeable workshops included one with the international guests, Warren Bleksley and his team from the Blade Postproduction based in South Africa, who shared their vast knowledge of the film industry with those that attended. Filmmakers enjoyed the workshop to the fullest as well as discussions with the Festival’s special guests: The Vice President of the National Association of Media Arts (NAMA) Changa Kalumba, the representative form Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Katumbi Wandi, renowned actor Henry Phiri and popular filmmakers Wycliff Mwamba and Nasho Mapulanga.

As per tradition, the morning sessions were dedicated to the screenings for secondary school, college and university students and were followed up by the panel discussions. Friday’s evening of 20 September belonged to the stage play titled 'The Walk Ahead' which starred an amazing cast as they told a short story about Nelson Mandela’s first day out of prison. The Kitwe Little Theatre was sold out! Festival’s nights ended at Quenchers with DJ Kartel, for those who were able and sought to wet one's beak and network with the fellow filmmakers.

What would a Film Festival be without that one night when everyone becomes glamourous and exotic? The Awards Night took place on Saturday 22 September and saw exquisite dress attire of organisers, guests and filmmakers. One would almost say it was of filmlike fantasy fairy-tale evening. Awards were handed in select categories of documentary, feature film, short film, the best use of music in film and the SOTAMBE Award for the Upcoming Filmmaker all in the rhythm of performances by Mag 44 and Mwila Mulenga’s live band.

Thanks to the main sponsor Multichoice Zambia, and sponsors such as BLADE Postproduction, Mopani Copper Mines, Flava FM and many partner organisations, the 5th Anniversary of the SOTAMBE Documentary, Film and Arts Festival was a huge success. For more information please see the Final Report 2018.

As we hit the new year 2019, we look forward to a bigger and better 6th Film Festival, already themed "Southern Africa Reels". Look out for more and ‘SO TAMBE’!!!