UBWINO THE YOUNG MAGICAL FILMING STAR
Ubwino Phikira is a 20-year-old Malawian music video director and photographer based in Lilongwe. He is currently a student at Malawi Assemblies of God University studying Business Information Systems. He first got his taste of being a director when he shot one of his friend’s music videos and used KineMaster, a video editing software for Android, to piece it together. Since then, his interest has led him on a journey of discovering and exploring his creative capabilities.
Without his own camera to start with, Ubwino worked out a deal with a friend of his where he would use his camera in exchange for shooting music videos for him and gaining experience. Looking at his work, both video and photography, Ubwino would describe it as very grungy and abnormal yet pleasing to the eye. His choice of color-grading was inspired by Hollywood movies which led to him doing research on the various techniques and methods of creating imagery that sparks emotion in the viewer.
Through practice, his work is eye-catching and inspires a flurry of emotions through his choice of colors, camera angles and image placement. Combined with shooting in his neighborhood, in area 25, he merges the worlds of rustic, run down infrastructure, crowded market places and dusty roads with clean shots of models dressed in old school fashion. And as a testament of how his creativity inspires emotions, people from all walks of life have been giving him overwhelming feedback on how they connect with his work. He sees that as one of the many achievements from following his passion, being able to add value to the lives of others through visuals.
He imagines a future where his work with both local and international artists spans across various international platforms extensively. Ubwino’s take on collaborations is that he welcomes it.
“I love the process of creating something solid through exchanging ideas with fellow creatives and artists” he says. Already in his portfolio is music videos he has shot for music artists; Classick’s Not for Too Long, Paris Oak’s Hot Head, Valine’s Selena and KIM of Diamond’s Heart Go, just to name a few.
However, the process of creating is not always straight forward or without its own challenges. Being a student during the week and shooting videos over the weekends makes for a demanding schedule for the young director. For now, he hires equipment to use in his shoots, something he is working towards changing by investing in his own gear which would cost more than two million Malawian kwachas.
In terms of support from his family, Ubwino reckons he receives substantial support. They are understanding of what he is creating and who he is working to be, even though this usually means he spends most of his time glued to the screen and editing videos to meet deadlines for both artists and school.