Dissecting the local film industry

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 31 May 2016   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Panelists at the Muitichoice Africa Day celebrations, talking about the local film industry Panelists at the Muitichoice Africa Day celebrations, talking about the local film industry

MultiChoice Botswana hosted the media and industry personalities in entertainment and film in an interactive panel discussion at Sgotti Restaurant in Masa on May 25 – Africa Day. Publicity Executive at MultiChoice Thembile Legwaila the event was hosted in recognition of the Africa day. The panelists included Donald Molosi, Mbali Kgosidintsi, Lauretta Mekgwe, Tshepo Ntshole and AFDA Campus Dean Mothusi Phuthego. One of the arguments by Molosi was that people should create work that is not about boundaries but rather about what embodies Africa, citing an example of the Nigerian film industry which despite of the low quality of produced films became the most watched all around the world as people yearn an authentic African story. Mekgwe believes the reason those movies were very successful and contributed immensely to the growth of the Nollywood film industry was that there was a hunger for African movies and Nigeria fed that. “That is why those films were consumed despite how bad they were,” she said. For Botswana, she said only well produced movies with great actors can work.

This led to an argument on why Botswana content was not making it in MultiChoice even if it was as bad as Nigerian films. MultiChoice representatives Basadi Masimolole and Legwaila insisted that they fight for the engagement of Batswana staff in the channels. However, they regretted that the problem was that not many Batswana are authentic in their story telling. Masimolole gave an example that Batswana can’t even make traditional programmes that will be interesting for Africa to watch considering that Setswana traditional dance and music is one thing that always amazes people. “There are many stories that many Batswana can tell, but they like opting for the glitz and glamour which is something that everyone knows other than going to the roots to tell hard hitting stories,” she said.
Some of the filmmakers maintained that have good stories but Batswana do not support them enough and that they are made to go through many channels by MultiChoice for their work to be considered. 

Molosi underlined that sometimes talent end up outside like O’Neal, Kaone Kario, Connie Ferguson, Shona Ferguson and DJ Fresh only because in Botswana they felt under appreciated. He gave example that even his Seretse film was first sponsored by Taiwanese government before Botswana contributed. “I am also the only Motswana who has been on Broadway, and this was also made to happen by different governments and not my government because they believed in the talent that I have,” he said. He added that most of his film sponsors are from different countries, but even though they do not have that much support locally he always comes back to Botswana to try and resuscitate the industry because of his love for his country.