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Filmmaker charmed by Lesotho

Mamohlakola Letuka 

IARA Lee, a Brazilian filmmaker, who was in Lesotho last week for the screening of two of her films, says she has been charmed by the country and is interested to come back for different initiatives.

Lee showcased her films, Cultures of Resistance and Burkinabè Rising and is already working on a documentary on the country.

Culture of Resistance was shown at Café What? on 10 May while Burkinabè Rising was screened twice at Alliance Française on the 11th and Morija The Hub on the 12th of May 2018.

Lee, who departed from the country last week, left her videographer behind to film interviews with local people for the upcoming documentary, From Trash to treasure: the art of reinvention in Lesotho.  

She said through the film, she intends to expose the beauty of the country in the project as she has been inspired by how people work to elevate themselves from poverty.

She said she was intrigued to come across artistes who are fighting poverty using craft.

“The unemployment rate in this country is high but I admire people who make something out of nothing and view problems as opportunities,” Lee said.

She said having artistes who still believe in peaceful activism shows intelligence and a spirit of patriotism to fight to better one’s country instead of running to greener pastures.

“I admire people who stand and fight for their country like the creative youths here are doing. Instead of crossing to South Africa where I hear many people migrate to for better opportunities,” she said.

“Lesotho is literally a hidden gem, with so much to offer. The fact that I was invited to hold workshops for local filmmakers during the screenings shows that the industry is passionate about the development of the creative industry.”

She said despite the several challenges that befall the citizens, there were also numerous positives that needed to be documented.

“We cannot always focus on the negative alone and I am documenting that.”

The film shows a variety of inventive creators, introducing viewers to a cast of local residents who use art as a means of communication a communal desire for positive change.

The short film explores the possibility of using art as a weapon to transform the country.

Lee said during the documentation, her team connected different artistes who are keen to forge partnerships.

“Sometimes it takes someone from outside to connect the local people and that is what we are doing,” she said.

“I loved it here, the people are friendly and warm and forthcoming with information.

“I will surely come back and hopefully we will work with local videographers.”

Lee said she hopes to participate in local film initiatives like the Lesotho Film Festival that is held annually in November.

“I was fascinated when I learnt about the community screenings that are done in the country. I want to be part of the filmmakers screening during the film festival,” Lee said.

Lee is a Brazilian of Korean descent. She is an activist, filmmaker, and founder and director of the Cultures of Resistance Network, an organisation that promotes global solidarity. It also connects and supports agitators, educators, farmers, and artistes to build a more just and peaceful world through creative resistance and nonviolent action.


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