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MPALE hails Sondela Film Festival

Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE Motion Pictures Association of Lesotho (MPALE) president, Mpho Letima, says local filmmakers’ participation in the Sondela Youth Film Festival will result in collaborations with South African counterparts and government entities for the development of the film industry.

Letima said this following the attendance of seven local filmmakers in the Sondela Youth Film Festival 2018 in Eastern Cape from 27 November to 1 December 2018.

The three-year old film festival is a project of the Eastern Cape Department of Sport Recreation Arts and Culture in partnership with the Joe Ggabi District Municipality. The festival takes place annually and usually consists of three days of workshop and two days of film screening.

Letima said they should work together to develop the Lesotho Film Festival under the management of Sesotho Media and Development.

A film industry development consultant from South Africa, Aubrey Silinyana, visited Lesotho in the first week of November 2018 to invite local filmmakers to the event and to initiate a film industry development programme collaboration with Lesotho.

Letima said Silinyana will work with the team from Lesotho to grow the event in 2019, borrowing from lessons learnt from the Sondela Youth film festival 2018.

“There will be an increase in the participation of Lesotho Filmmakers in the 2019 instalment of the Sondela Youth Film Festival. Scum Africans are also learning from the Lesotho Film Festival,” Letima said.

Letima said they shold also implement capacity, building programmes to ensure that industry development is matched with skills development.

The filmmakers who travelled to South Africa for the Sondela Film Festival unanimously agreed that attending the event was a great step towards their own development as individuals and will culminate into broader film industry development in Lesotho.

The seven filmmakers were Senate Pitso, an official of Sesotho Media and Development, Habo Fanoe Letsosa, an award-winning filmmaker in the Lesotho Best Film Category of 2018 with his film, Ingxowa, Makalang Justin Mokere, an award-winning filmmaker in the Lesotho Best Film Category of 2018, with his film, Sleep Aftermath, Matauli Mokete member of Mpale, Malehlohonolo Mutsi lead character of Zoleka in lngxowa, Halieo Motanyane, former presenter and studio personnel at Lesotho TV and Khefsi Rapita, the leading actor in the country with a number of award-winning films since 2016 and also an actor for several local series including Lesotho TV based soapie Our Times.

Silinyana is the festival’s coordinator on behalf of Eastern Cape Department of Sport Recreation Arts and Culture. During his visit, Silinyana attended and participated in the Lesotho Film Festival and networked with a number of organisations, including the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and MPALE, Sesotho Media and Development, TRC, Alliance Francaise and the South African High Commission.

Silinyana said they needed to work together to grow festivals because the Lesotho film industry is still in its infancy.

He said the event presented an opportunity for Lesotho filmmakers to meet and network with four top film industry players in South Africa such as former Generations and Rhythm City actor, Dumisani Mbebe, Generations’ Gaddafi (real name Vuyo Dabula), writer and co-producer of Five Fingers for Marseilles Sean Drummond and a Gauteng based cinematographer, Katlego Shibambo.

“At the festival, Lesotho filmmakers were also provided with an opportunity to share their knowledge with South African filmmakers makers,” Silinyana said.

He said at the festival, Pitso facilitated on producing edutainment films for social development while Mokere presented on scriptwriting and character development and Letsosa was facilitated the topic on cinematography and DSLR photography.

“The movie Five Fingers for Marseilles was screened at the festival and the Sondela Youth Festival music event that featured live performances by Vusi Nova, Zahara, Semito and many other South Africans,” he said.

Winner of the Lesotho Best Film Category of 2018, Mokere said his participation at the Sondela Film Festival showed that local filmmakers are heading in the right direction.

He said there were other self-trained filmmakers who produce good movies and being able to attend such festivals without qualifications means that there is a lot of talent in the country.

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