Controversy at Kitwe Little Theatre: Filmmakers and Executives Clash Over Movie Premieres
Kitwe Little Theatre is known for being one of the most iconic theaters in the Copperbelt, with a history of screening a wide range of plays from independent productions as well as in-house.
Kitwe Little Theatre is known for being one of the most iconic theaters in the Copperbelt, with a history of screening a wide range of plays from independent productions as well as in-house. Kitwe Little Theatre also screens movies from local producers However, recently, there has been some tension between the filmmakers and the theater executives due to a controversial screening procedure put up by the interim that caused a stir in the local film industry.
The filmmakers, who had opted to hire the theater for screening, were upset by the executives' decision not to grant the screening citing the filmmaker should have consulted before producing the film as the film did not meet the Theatre's quality expectations. They claimed that they had followed all the necessary procedures and were ready to pay the required fees to secure the screening, but were disappointed by the abrupt cancellation.
In response to the incident, a filmmaker met with a theater executive during the
Premier of Afilika to iron out the current issue of the power outage and find a way forward. Boyd Musunga complained about why the Theatre was the only place without power among its neighboring buildings. An executive assure the filmmaker of a quick solution to the problem which never came until the premier was over using an alternative power source.
In his verbatim, Mr. Musunga says "artists will opt to take their film premiers to the neighboring Garden Court Hotel instead of supporting our local theatre house which according to him management must put in place a conducive environment to attract artists as opposed to chasing them away."
In a separate incident, another filmmaker from Ndola raised a similar complaint regarding failure to secure a screening of his movie at the theatre due to a lack of quality that did not meet the theatre's expectations.
"I was asked for the trailer which I gave them. Now they are saying unless they watch the full movie. And we were supposed to seek their advice before shooting" Abednego says
The discussion centered on the issue of the quality of the films being screened at the theater. Filmmakers argued that once they hire the theater, they have the right to screen their movies regardless of their quality, as long as they comply with the standard procedures and regulations. They also expressed their frustration with the lack of communication and transparency from the theater executives regarding their decision not to grant the screenings.
On the other hand, the theater executives defended their decision, saying that they have a responsibility to ensure that the films screened at the theater meet a certain quality standard. They argued that if a film is deemed to be of low quality or does not meet the required standards, it may harm the theater's reputation and lead to a decline in patronage.
After a lengthy and sometimes heated discussion, Kopala Kalemba feels both parties need to agree to find a compromise that would ensure that the theater maintains its reputation as a top-class venue for film screenings, while also accommodating the needs of the filmmakers.
The filmmakers say they can agree to work with the theater executives to ensure that their films meet the required standards before being screened at the theater if the theater executives, in turn, agreed to communicate more effectively with the filmmakers and provide them with clear guidelines on the standards that their films must meet.
It is expected that the meeting for the filmmakers and the theatre executives is made possible soonest in order to reach a consensus to work together to promote the local film industry and provide audiences with quality entertainment. It is hoped that this meeting will serve as a starting point for more constructive engagements between filmmakers and theater executives, and pave the way for a more collaborative and productive relationship between the two parties.
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