SOTAMBE Documentary Film and Arts Festival (SOTAMBE DFAF) is an event held annually in the month of September with the main aim to educate and raise awareness on social issues through film and arts. This year’s festival was the fourth edition of the SOTAMBE DFAF held in the period 26 – 30 September 2017 at the Kitwe Little Theatre under the theme “The Future Belongs to Us.” Particular attention was given to the topics on Entrepreneurship, Environment and Wellness.
The SOTAMBE DFAF 2017 held several build up activities before the main event such as an Art workshop for Children that took place on 2 September 2017 in Chimwemwe community in Kitwe. Thirty-eight children from the community attended the workshop during which they created their own art work entitled “The Future Belongs to Us”. Parents that joined us made their own artwork as well in order to appreciate the importance of art as it was emphasized to them by the art teacher.
Another activity that took place before the main film festival was a 3 day outdoor screening event at Mukuba Mall (14 – 16 September 2016). Local film productions such as Dorika, Spoiler and the SOTAMBE winning movie in the Best Feature Film category of 2016 – Mufaya were screened in the course of the three days. Screenings were accompanied by rich entertainment programmes that included a musical performances by the renowned artist Krummy of the ‘Kanselele fame’, upcoming artists Kashman and Fantom. A Kitwe popular dancing group ‘Suspended Licence’ also performed.
Media houses were invited to attend a Festival Press Review // Press conference on Tuesday 19 September 2017 at the Kitwe Little Theatre. SOTAMBE DFAF Directors introduced the Festival’s activities and objectives and the main sponsors were given a platform to communicate their partnership between themselves and the film festival. MultiChoice Zambia was the main sponsor of the 2017 festival and Flava FM its official media partner. Other partners included Mopani Copper Mines, Nkana Golf Club, Yar FM, Vodafone, Eskayarts, Honourable Pavyuma and StoneCites. SOTAMBE DFAF is eternally grateful for this support and strong partnerships. Media houses in attendance included the following: Flava FM, Yar FM, ZNBC TV and Radio, ZANIS, Times of Zambia and Daily Mail.
Since the environment is one of the critical aspects of our future, SOTAMBE DFAF decided to be practical and undertook a tree planting exercise. One hundred trees were planted at Mpelembe Secondary School on 26 September 2017 in Kitwe, and the planned target is to plant 500 trees. The ongoing plan is to involve more schools, colleges and universities in the tree planting exercise on their campuses. This will expand the green areas in the city of Kitwe and teach students the value of tree planting. ‘Let us keep it GREEN’.
The main activity of the organisation is the SOTAMBE FILM FESTIVAL. This five day annual event consisted of documentary movie screenings which were followed up with panel discussions targeting students from colleges and universities, as well as screenings of locally produced movies that were followed by discussions with the producers and directors on the challenges they faced during the production process. SOTAMBE DFAF also promotes other art forms such as paintings, mosaics and theatrical performances. Two plays were staged this year entitled ‘Ama Levels’ and ‘Keep Zambia Clean’. During the art exhibition, over 50 art pieces (mixture of seed mosaics and paintings) were displayed in the festival period.
The official opening took place on Tuesday 26 September 2017 at the Kitwe Little Theatre and it was graced by the Guest of Honour the Permanent Secretary – Copperbelt Province, The Kitwe District Commissioner, CEO – Mopani Copper Mines Plc., PR Manager MultiChoice Zambia and the Czech Ambassador Mr. Radek Rubes. It was an exciting moment to remember with plenty of entertainment.
SOTAMBE DFAF is an educational platform allowing students to gain and deepen their knowledge on selected topics through discussions, and a platform for local filmmakers to showcase their projects. Therefore, it is pleasing to note that SOTAMBE DFAF received over 30 local submissions in the following categories: documentary movie, feature film and short film and one international submission of a short film from Tanzania. Discussions with the producers were fruitful and inspired many students from the following colleges Kitwe College of Education, Mufulira College of Education, Mpelembe Secondary School, Helen Kaunda Secondary School and ZIBSIP.
As a film festival, we emphasise local content. With the digital migration, new TV licencing and introduction of international channels such as Zambezi Magic and ZED One, there is a need to empower local filmmakers and provide them with necessary skills in order for them to produce quality content. Therefore, SOTAMBE DFAF also provides skills training workshops in filmmaking for both, upcoming and seasoned filmmakers.
Further, SOTAMBE DFAF 2017 was special because of the Film Entrepreneurship Conference entitled “Business of Filmmaking in Zambia” that was held on Friday 29 September 2017 at the Nkana Golf Club.
There were more than 60 attendees from different production houses some coming from faraway places such as Livingstone, Solwezi and Lusaka. Main speakers of the conference were Mr. Justin Kangwa, a Managing Consultant, Madame Musola Catherene Kaseketi, a renowned Filmmaker and human rights activist and Mr. Changa Kalumba, renowned Producer, Director and Filmmaker. This was followed up with the VIP discussion session. The panellist included the following; District Commissioner of Kitwe, National Arts Council Director, PR Manager of MultiChoice Zambia and representatives from the Independent Broadcasting Association (IBA). The interaction between film producers, government and private media houses was beneficial to all the stakeholders. The conference and VIP discussion was sponsored by Mopani Copper Mines.
The grand finale of the film festival took place on the 30 September 2017 at the Kitwe Little Theatre. The red carpet award night was graced by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, The Kitwe District Commissioner, National Arts Council Director, Managing Director MultiChoice, CEO – Mopani Copper Mines Plc, the PR Manager and Legal Advisor MultiChoice and the representatives from the Independent Broadcasting Association (IBA).
Winners in the following categories were announced as follows:
The Best Documentary 2017: A thorn to recall by James Chunga (Solwezi)
The Best Feature Film 2017: Vendetta by Robam Mwape (Ndola)
The Best Short Film 2017: Abortion by Webby Kasongo (Solwezi)
The SOTAMBE Recognition Award – Upcoming Filmmaker 2017: Richard Njovu (Solwezi)
The response from filmmakers and the general public was overwhelming. The musical performances by Krummy and MAG 44 was exceptional. The SOTAMBE sketch performed on stage by Kabwita Kusaloka and the crew depicted the challenges faced by local filmmakers. The evening was monumental.
SOTAMBE DFAF is a community event that serves as a platform to promote social awareness and change and also provides educational themes through film and arts. Therefore all of the festival’s activities and additional programmes are free of charge. In total, over 1,000 people attended the SOTAMBE DFAF 2017 film festival and its activities.
SOTAMBE DFAF 2018 is planned in period 18 -22 September 2018 under the theme “These are the days” – Celebrating a Zambian Filmmaker. The deadline for submissions of feature films, short films and documentaries is on 1st July 2018.