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Historic film festival on the cards

Nthatuoa Koeshe

SOUTH AFRICAN film industry development facilitator, Aubrey Silinyana, will next year lead a team of 49 Basotho filmmakers, film students and various arts practitioners to a historic film festival to commemorate King Moshoeshoe I.

The 49 Basotho filmmakers will be divided into three groups to compete against each other in different categories.

Speaking to Xpress People, Silinyana said the film makers will make different productions including adverts for private sector companies, government ministries, funders of the programme, short films, music videos, documentaries and general television programming.

He said the festival has three different segments for film awards where each will have short films, full length feature films, documentaries, product adverts and music videos.

“The film segment is high school students in the Young Filmmakers Content, the second category is the more professional Basotho Emerging Filmmaker Contest and the third is the SADC professional filmmaker which is open to people from all SADC countries to submit their films,” Silinyana said.

He said the filmmakers all volunteered to participate adding that in March, he spoke to a few film practitioners and Limkokwing film students to assist him to train high school students.

“The 12 people I spoke to recruited others and I have watched this growing to a mass movement which now has 49 people,” he said

He said having worked closely with the students, he already discovered a number of areas where they still need capacitation.

He said some of the filmmakers are students from five high schools in three districts and they will be beneficiaries of a cellphone film competition pilot programme.

“Tried and tested by me in Aliwal North, this programme enables the youth to learn skills in basic production, TV presenting, teamwork and project management,” he said adding that the young filmmakers will battle it out in making product adverts and short films using cellphones.

The schools include Bocheletsane High School in Thaba-Tseka, Lesia High school in Maseru, Lesotho High School in Maseru, Masianokeng High school in Maseru and Molapo High School in Leribe.

Silinyana said the government can also use the film industry to stimulate the populace’s interest in the ongoing national reforms process.

“The film festival offers the government an opportunity to use film, music and fashion to stimulate the desired national dialogue.”

He said in preparation for the festival, there will be a film production training to produce content that will compete at the festival.

“This is done at two levels – in five high schools and also by three teams of incubates of the programme who consist of film practitioners from Lesotho and film students from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

“The bulk of the funding for implementing the festival is coming from donors from different fields such as the private sector, Lesotho ministries and international donors.

“We are in boardroom engagements with them to come on board and we are also establishing strong links with various formations and institutions that will benefit from the implementation of this festival,” Silinyana said.

He said their partners include the Motion Pictures Association of Lesotho (MPALE), the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Faculty of Film Studies, Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), Lesotho Television, Alliance Francaise of Maseru, the Ministry of Tourism Environment and Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC).

“Marketing of event and invitation of the participation of filmmakers in the entire SADC region. That is why we’ve had to engage the likes of Nollywood heavyweights and top actors in Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa to ensure that we host an event that will draw the interest of filmmakers all over the SADC region.”

Silinyana said the film festival seeks to advance the economy of Lesotho and help its people prosper by being a catalyst to the long overdue formalisation of the film industry.

“In doing so, we recognised the importance of political stability in the kingdom and the implementation of policies that take the country forward. So we are aligning the event with the National Reforms Programme,” Silinyana said.


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