President Hichilema assures support to film industry

President Hakainde Hichilema says government will give necessary support to help develop and turn the film industry in the country into a productive sector.

President Hichilema said the film industry has immense potential to contribute to national economic development and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

ZANIS reports that Mr. Hichilema said this when he attended the premiere screening of a Zambian location film production called ‘Can You See Us’ at Ster Kinekor in Lusaka.

The film is an advocacy on the plight of people affected by albinism in the country.

The movie is centred on the true life story of musician and albinism activist John Chiti.

President Hichilema has since directed the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Arts to ensure that a Film Commission is created to address bottlenecks facing the full-fledged development of the industry.

The Head of State instructed Arts Permanent Secretary, Chileshe Kangwa to convene a meeting with stakeholders and ensure that the Commission is established.

The President said he was shocked at the level of talent in the Zambian film industry and called for enhanced efforts to harness the talent.

He said he was thrilled to watch the movie alongside the lead actor, Thabo Kaamba who despite being a girl played the role of a boy character.

The movie was directed by Kenny Mumba and Produced by Yasmin Dodia. 

He said his administration will do everything possible and ensure that Arts is not marginalized but takes a meaningful place in the country along with other careers and professions. 

The President urged people in the industry to get organized and advise government where increased funding is needed to support the growth of the industry. 

The Head of State said he is impressed that the industry employs a lot of Zambians and urged stakeholders and players to access government funds which include Constituency Development Fund(CDF).

The President said he is ready to talk to his counterparts in France, USA, India and Nigeria in order to have doors opened for the Zambian film industry.

Mr Hichilema also called on the business community and diplomatic corps to support Zambia’s film industry.

Speaking earlier, Executive Producer of the Can You See Us Film, Lawrence Thompson thanked government for the massive support it has given to the industry.

He appealed to President Hichilema to facilitate for the creation of a Film Commission to help attract international financing for local film productions.

And President of the Albinism Foundation of Zambian, John Chiti praised government for the support and called for increased awareness on the subject.

Mr. Chiti, on whose life experience the movie is based, said he intends to lobby for support to establish a Rhythm TV channel to heighten awareness campaigns on albinism.

He disclosed that there are over 30,000 Zambians living with albinism in the country 

Multichoice Zambia Managing Director, Leah Kaona said her company will continue to provide a platform for Zambian films in order to empower local film entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the same event, President of the National Media Arts, Bridget Chibwe thanked President Hichilema for the support and reminded him that he was the second President after Dr. Kaunda to watch a premier of a local film production.

After the premier of the movie, President Hichilema took time to take pictures and interact with the cast, as well as movie celebrities from Mpali and Zuba among others.

Former Vice President Nevers Mumba, and Minister of Information and Media Chushi Kasanda and her Community Development and Social Welfare counterpart Doreen Mwamba and other senior government officials also attended the premiere screening.