|Occupation||film director, screenwriter, entrepreneur|
|Known for||Zambia Short Film Festival founder|
|Relatives||Esther Phiri (cousin)|
Jessie Chisi is a Zambian film director, screenwriter and entrepreneur. She is a founder and Festival Director for the Zambia Short Film Festival and Young Cinema in Zambia through which she trains young filmmakers and entrepreneurs.
Early life and education
Chisi started writing stories when she was twelve years old. She later got inspiration from people like Cathrine Kaseketi who trained her for a long period or time. Her mentor, Sakafunya Chinyinka, also played a significant role.
She graduated from The Zambia Institute of Mass Communication in 2008 and undertook further training as a film director in Finland in 2009. In the same year she attended the Durban Talent Campus and was then accepted at the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2010.
An Alumni for Berlin and Durban Talent Campus, she has worked on various film sets including her own written and directed short fiction films “Goodbye”, “Every Woman Knows”, “Soldier”, “Buried”, "Between Rings" and “Her Nyari”.
Between Rings is her first feature length film co-directed with Salla Sorri. The film tells the story of Zambian professional boxing champion Esther Phiri and narrates Phiri’s battle to overcome poverty and make a few sacrifices along her path to became one of Zambia’s most talked about female athletes.
In 2014 Chisi began collaboration with retired US Army Soldier and American author Coren Jonathan Allen on a project to develop a short film based on Coren's book "What if it Just Started Raining?" Since their initial partnership, with special inspiration from Zambian singer-song writer Mumba Yachi, a foundation for The Kambimbi Academy was born. "What if it Just Started Raining?" contains the foundational concepts upon which the Kambimbi Academy is built and Chisi / Allen intend to develop an additional film which captures this powerful concept of breathing life to an legend — the Legend of the African Rain Bird! They anticipate launching a pilot documentary in Lusaka sometime during the fall of 2017.
She has also worked on Karl Francis’ "Hope Eternal" as continuity supervisor, Cathrine Kaseketi’s "Suwi" and "Zambian Kitchen Party".
Chisi is fervent campaigner and supporter of human rights. She is also a Mandela Washington Fellow for 2015. She has used film as an advocacy and campaign tool, empowering women to find and use their own voices.
Her film “Woman On Hold” won her Women of the Year in Film. It opened in CPH doc; Helsinki Film Festival and it won Diploma of Merit at the 2015 Tampere Film Festival.