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Film festival ends on high note


Mohalenyane Phakela

THE curtain closed on the fifth edition of the Lesotho Film Festival (LFF) on Saturday last week, with a colourful awards ceremony for this year’s submissions at Victoria Hotel’s Kingsway Cinema.

The festival was held under the theme #TellingAfricanStories and featured eight local and 10 foreign films. It ran from 17 to 21 November 2015 with screenings held at Kingsway Cinema, Alliance Française and the State Library in Maseru.

Local productions acquitted themselves well during the glitzy award ceremony, with Habofane Letsosa’s I’m Alive winning the Lesotho Short Film category award, Morapeli Moseme’s Future Today the Lesotho Documentary award, Khabane Khongoane’s Bullet the Lesotho Student Film, Matauli Mokete’s Lekunutu the Lesotho Feature Film, Mosooane Lepheane’s Marriage by the Bedside of Death the Special Award, while Patrick Rorke’s Lifariki clinched the Jury’s Special Mention award.

LFF was formed in 2011 by non-profit making organisation, Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D), to give Basotho youth a platform to develop and showcase their film-making skills.

Addressing guests and the award winners, SM&D acting director, ‘Mamolefe Petlane, said the festival had become a success because of the hard work of budding Basotho filmmakers.

“Today, we are celebrating the work of young, aspiring filmmakers who have blessed us with their stories about different communities in Lesotho,” she said.

“They have made the festival a success and we are proud of the numbers and quality of the film submissions this year. Since the festival began on Tuesday, we watched extraordinary films.”

Petlane added: “This year’s theme was #TellingAfricanStories and I believe everybody has a story to tell. Our lives are full of stories, either sad or joyous, but everyone’s story is unique.

“We want to encourage Basotho and other Africans to tell their own stories from their own unique perspectives because sharing these stories can bring enormous value to us as we relate to, learn with, feel and take responsibility for each other. Let our stories impact on our nation.”

In an interview on the side-lines of the ceremony, Lepheane lauded SM&D for promoting up-and-coming filmmakers.

“SM&D has afforded us a platform to showcase our films and put us in the spotlight since established filmmakers can also identify nascent talent during the festival,” Lepheane said, adding that the award was his third consecutive accolade at the festival.

Mokete also told the Weekender that LFF was a stepping stone for making inroads beyond Lesotho’s borders.

“SM&D has inspired us to keep on producing films that resonate with Basotho and tell stories that are happening within our communities,” she said.

“They have also helped us believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and as we continue to sharpen our skills, we will make it to the top festivals such as the Berlinale in Europe.”

The Lesotho Feature Film was Mokete’s second LFF award as her first film, I am My Father’s Daughter, won the Best Student Docu-drama accolade in 2013.

“I started filmmaking in 2011 when I was a Television and Radio Broadcasting student at Limkokwing University. Film is a convenient medium of passing different messages. For instance, in Lekunutu which means secret, I relay the message that don’t keep secrets as they have a way of surfacing with disastrous consequences,” she said.

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