Main content

Up in Smoke

Life 3 - Up in Smoke
In the southern African country of Malawi tobacco is the major export crop, responsible for 70% of all export earnings. Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi's economy, accounting for over 90% of GDP. Out of a total population of 11 million, the majority of Malawians are farmers, and seven million owe their livelihoods to the tobacco industry.

But economic dependency on tobacco has not brought the country wealth. According to the World Bank, over 60% of Malawians live below the poverty line, with limited access to land, little education, and poor health. Despite the diminished returns from tobacco growing, the government has actually increased the land under cultivation. Malawians are now questioning if the wealth promised from growing tobacco is really an illusion.

With the support of The Rockefeller Foundation.

'Up In Smoke is concise, yet it fully and fairly analyzes the impact of globalization in this setting. It is an excellent film for sparking debate among younger audiences, and is highly recommended to anyone high school age and over.' Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Otanez, Martin (film director)
Walker, Christopher (film director)
Khachooni, Lara (editor of moving image work)
Richards, Jenny (editor of moving image work)
Bradshaw, Steve (narrator)
Graham, Charles (on-screen participant)
Yach, Derek (on-screen participant)
Kapito, John (on-screen participant)
Chapola, Godfrey (on-screen participant)
Sangala, Wesley (on-screen participant)
Hofstetter, Marc (on-screen participant)
Magalasi, Collins (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Editor, Lara Khachooni; series editor, Jenny Richards.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Business Practices
Developing World
International Studies
International Trade


tobacco, agriculture, Malawi, southern Africa, Africa, poverty, World Bank; "Up in Smoke"; Bullfrog Films