Great times for film industry

SHARE   |   Sunday, 25 January 2015   |   By Ontlametse Sugar
Maretlwaneng, Dee-Zone productions Director Maretlwaneng, Dee-Zone productions Director

The local film industry is still growing and has had a lot of challenges. Film companies like Dee zone Productions has made it in the local film scene.
They had their productions playing on the national television station Botswana Television (Btv) since its inception in 2008. The Director of the production house, Thabiso Maretlwaneng revealed that for this year, Batswana should expect to see more high quality productions on television. Maretlwaneng said that he is very appreciative of their growth as a production house because they built a solid foundation in the beginning. As the current big local production house that provides Botswana Television with content, Maretlwaneng said they want to help fulfil the mandate of Btv and their aim of having more than 60% of the local content that is locally produced. He recalled of how their production house used to focus on making music videos because that was what was affordable to Batswana and to them, but has now since grown to produce long period programs with many episodes; from First Issues, to ‘Ntwakgolo’ docudrama, to ‘Trends’, and now their latest offering called ‘Pula Power’.
"Whatever that we do, we aim for quality and we want to set certain reputation, and this can be seen through productions like ‘Pula Power’. When we do a production, we aim for international standards; to have productions that can be appreciated everywhere in the world,” he said.
He said despite all the criticism and the challenges that they face in the local industry, this year they are bringing the ball game to another level. Among others, they have a local reality show is in the pipeline.
“‘Trends’, which is now running on Btv at 0630 pm on Fridays, has also secured a three year contract with the station. We want to make it more diverse and travel around the country because in the past episodes we were only doing a trial and operating under-budget, so now a sponsor will have to be on board," he said. ‘Pula power’ has taken entertainment in the country to another level in its first few episodes, and for sure promises growth.
He added that the aim of the show is also to appreciate the people behind the cameras like the producers and script writers among others in order to escalate art in all aspects. "We also have fashion show features. So this is to showcase Botswana and offer a platform for critique so that we will know how to improve on what we do,” he said.
He said new dramas will also grace the local screens, with season 2 of ‘Ntwakgolo’ having been already submitted to Btv. It is only awaiting slotting time, he said. Meanwhile Pelokgale, which focuses on abuse of women and based on true stories will also hit the screen. He said as the production company is proud to have been able to shoot a real story drama. He said another drama which deals with behavioural change and substance abuse is also on the pipeline. However he remained very tight lipped on the reality show and a talk show, saying those will be sweet surprises to the local audience. He said they don't want to be limited in what they do, but rather always wants to be diverse and balance everything in order to cater for different audiences from all walks of life. He said with Pula Power showing in 13 countries through their partnership with PRTV channel, there have been ample positive feedback, and as such Batswana should look forward to the first Pula Power Music Video Awards this year which promises to be a knockout. He said that as always they will be participating in many festivals around the world in order to benchmark and seek collaboration from other filmmakers. Other local production houses are also expected to bring forth more of their works for television. Among them are Club Media which  confirmed that they are working on some projects.

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