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  • Writer's pictureJonny Guardiani

Filming at Malaika school in Congo

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

The best part about being a freelance filmmaker is when your finished work is shown even outside the Internet.

On September 22, Noella, founder of Malaika, shown the video 'What is Malaika' in front of thousands of attendees during the Music Beyond anniversary Gala, which took place at the Concordia Annual Summit 2019, New York.

Music Beyond, a non-profit organisation established by the renowned Kaori Fujii, operates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to empower people through music. To achieve this, they partner with schools; Malaika being one of them.


To create the video I flew to Lubumbashi, south east DRC and spent four days collaborating with colleague and photographer Ryan capturing content for the Malaika charity fundraising video.

After the first days, it became clear that the hardest part of the operation would be ensuring all my equipment remained clean of the rust-orange floors.

The dusky ground also threw technical challenges my way on a daily basis.

Ensuring the white balance was correct at all times, as the scorching sun cast lengthy shadows across a brown-orange back-drop was difficult.

Thanks to the amazing schedule prepared by the team at Malaika, I managed to experience and shoot all the fields in which the organisation operates, from the school, the community centre, the new construction site, the vegetable garden as well as the village. Elvis, which manage the Community Center has been the best assistant I ever had - he made sure everything ran smoothly.

I kept the equipment tight to the essential in order to be able to move around with ease and focus on the surroundings. The whole film is been shot on a Sony A7III a Canon 24-70mm (MKII) and a Canon 100mm Macro.

For the steadycam shots I've used the latest and greatest DJI Ronin-S. Few radio mics for the interviews and a nice big reflector - which I found way more effective than my light panel!

Back in London, the big challenge was to cut-down the hours of footage to a social-friendly edit. I find very helpful direct, shoot and edit a whole helps in post-production like magic! I have a very efficient system to ingest and organise my footages so that I can easily pick the strongest pieces. I edited the video on Adobe Premiere Pro and used Lumetri Color for grading.

All the animations and tracking shots where done in After Effects.

I'm very grateful to Malaika for the amazing hospitality and all the help and support they offered before, during and after the whole process, a relationship which we will definitely develop further in the future.

I'm grateful to Noella and Malaika for such a unique and I'm sure our relationship will continue further in the future.

To find out about Malaika please visit the website

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