By Brian Mulenga

Published September 22, 2019

The “hive of excitement” is how I described Kitwe on the 21st September 2019, during the official opening ceremony of the 6th SOTAMBE Documentary Film and Arts Festival. It was yet another successful and well organized SOTAMBE Film Festival which was held at the newly opened ECL Mall in Kitwe, top deck carpark. It is noteworthy that during this 6th Sotambe film festival recognition and popularity continues to grow and this has been the trend since the first film festival in 2014.

This year the festival welcomed talents from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, some of the facilitators for the Masterclasses travelled all the way from South Africa and the Czech Republic to celebrate the success and growth of arts and the film industry in the Southern African region. The local facilitators invited and hosted at this year’s film festival included some of Zambia’s Film Industry greats and these included: Becky Ngoma, Jessie Chisi, Cassie Kabwita, Bridget Kashiba, Henry Joe Sakala and Doctor Abraham Nonde Kabwe to mention a few. It is SOTAMBE Film Institute’s wish to continue to collaborate with these and many more of the Zambian Film Industry powerhouse.

The film festival is becoming more popular each year and this time it received vast support from stakeholders who believe filmmaking can take the Zambian Creative Industry to higher heights, can also create entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth in a country where employment creation is cardinal. The festival was celebrated under the theme “Southern African Reels” which emphasized how Southern Africa as a whole can embrace filmmaking and other forms of arts as a way of creating professional networks, communicating and showcasing to the world talents, feelings and emotions from this region.

Every year, the Festival opens with a song which highlights the theme of the year. This time the song entitled “Proudly African” was composed and performed by one of Zambia’s popular singers, the beautiful and talented KANTU, who performed the song live with backing from Tlow. Tlow is one of the young talented and upcoming Zambian musicians. Over 300 people came to open the Festival with us this year!

The Kitwe District Commissioner Mr Binwell Mpundu, SOTAMBE’s and also Kitwe’s arts ambassador graced this memorable opening ceremony. Mr Mpundu who has been in full support of the festival from its inception called on corporate entities to support the Zambian film industry by rendering financial support, adding that it is one way the government can create jobs for talented youths as opportunities for employment in the creative industry are immense.

Some of the special guests who attended the opening ceremony were the NAC Vice Chairperson Agness Nyendwa, ZNBC Regional Director Anne Mukabe, Photography and Virtuality masterclasses facilitators from Czech Republic Jiri Pasz and Adela Plechata, Director of MultiChoice Talent Factory Berry Lwando and the MultiChoice Head of Corporate Affairs Mwiika Malindima.

Furthermore, the SOTAMBE team expresses many thanks to the main sponsors MultiChoice and MultiChoice Talent Factory and other partners and sponsors: Garden Court Kitwe, Power Tools Logistics, Copper Bullet Sports Bar, Embassy of the Czech Republic, ECL Mall, Media partners ZNBC and Flava FM, Visualize Solutions, the Nkana Arts Society and many more partners and organizations and individuals.

The Opening ceremony included screening of the first horror movie produced on the Copperbelt, The Lunar Effect and afterwards a VIP cocktail party was hosted at the Copper Bullet Sports Bar where artists mingled, shared and enjoyed themselves!