‘Swahiliwood’ film trio to hit the marketPosted: 22 Feb, 2014
After a successful debut of the long running ‘Wa Hapa Hapa’ radio drama and popular award winning films and television programmes including ‘Chumo’ and ‘Siri ya Mtungi’, Media for Development International (MFDI) has launched three Swahiliwood enter-educate feature films.
The three feature films was launched in a colourful ceremony held on Friday and graced by local artists including JB, Dr Cheni, Mpoto, Steve Nyerere, Shilole, Ray Kigosi, Cheche, Chekibudi to mention a few.
The three feature films that are Mdundiko, Sunshine and Network, which carries unique stories from three unique voices. Mdundiko is a story about conflict between morality and tradition in the community life of a village.
Network is a haunting story about a serial murder case to be solved by an ageing detective and his young attractive colleague, while Sunshine is a touching modern urban story about the temptations of crime and unconditional love between a son and his mother.
MFDI Country Director John Riber said that the first three feature films produced under the Swahiliwood banner are mainly focused on HIV prevention and treatment. Riber said that the three films will reach vast audiences across Tanzania and wider into the Swahili speaking region.
“The Swahiliwood model harnesses the youthful energy of Tanzania’s exploding film industry to communicate social complexities around HIV, which is recognised by the government of Tanzania as one of the most serious health challenges facing the nation,” explains Riber.
Ribber also explained that the films will be distributed commercially through broadcast, internet and on DVD format and also through a private sector partnership with Proin Promotions which will reach millions of Swahili speaking audience in Tanzania and the region at large.
“It will be interesting to see how Swahili speakers in East Africa and around the world will decide which are their favourites movies,” he explained. A number of popular actors featured in Mdundiko film includes Lumole Matovolwa, Julieth Samson, Richard Masinde. Others are Veronica Shayo, Salmini Omary, Adam Melele, Hissani Muya, Simon Mwapagata, Denis Sweya and Ummy Wenceslaus.
Yvonne Cherry, Brian Ibrick, Simon Mwakifwamba were the casts that starred in another feature film Network.Others are Kendrick Niaumba, Shikunzi Haonga and Chales In Sunshine films popular actors featured are Ben Pol, Christina Mbunda, Gwaii Mwanjabala, Sabrina Muya and Lupyana Kihaka.
The three films also included the best directors in Tanzania’s music and films including Karabani Jackson Laulent, Kabirigia and John Justin Kallage.Others are Timoth Conrad who is a writer, producer, cameraman and editor, Abdu Simba who was the chief mentor during the script development phase of the Swahiliwood project.
Riber said that MFDI recognises the great potential of Tanzania’s film industry affectionately known as Bongo Movies, not only as a platform to present social issues, but also as an industry that can affect development through the creation of employment for Tanzanian youth.
He also said that Swahiliwood is about capacity building; providing practical training and mentoring for young Tanzanian filmmakers in all aspects of feature film production, from concept and script development, through production, marketing and distribution.
“Swahiliwood is about production, we provide training and mentoring within the context of making, marketing and distributing commercially viable feature films,” said Riber.
Speaking on Swahili film industry in Tanzania, MFD Programme Officer Louise Kamin said that the Swahili film industry is growing very fast.
“Every week, ten new low budget movies are produced, and six are released into the market consisting of 132 million potential viewers spread across East Africa and reaching into Central and Southern Africa,” explains Kamin .
Expounding further Riber said that MFDI is engaging practically with this vibrant industry through co-productions with local filmmakers on feature films that embrace Entertainment-Education approaches in storytelling. MFDI-Tanzania seeks to promote development and transformation through socially conscious media.
The firm works with bilateral development agencies, government and nongovernment organisations and private sector partners.
The project has been made possible by the generous support of the American People through USAID in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programmes in partnership with Proin Promotions, Tanzania’s fastest growing commercial DVD distribution company.Source: