Local creatives and students alike gathered at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports arena this past Saturday to hear from film industry experts and trend setters at the annual Botswana National Youth Council TV and film festival.
Held under the theme, mobilizing partnerships for the development of the local TV/ film industry, the event was officially opened by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Sport and Culture Development, Kago Ramokate.
In his opening remarks Ramokate said, “The intention of the festival is to facilitate the participation of young people pertaining to the role of the local TV/ film industry in developing Botswana’s economy and in creating sustainable jobs for our youth. This festival also serves as a vehicle to capacitate Botswana youth and youth serving organizations, to enable them to take advantage of international trends and opportunities in the film industry.”
The discussion comprising Duma Ndlovu – who is the executive producer of award winning soapie Muvhango, Ralph “Stagga Don Dada” Williams – associate producer in the United Kingdom, Entertainment lawyer in the United States Carlos Pimentel as well as Thato Thebe of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology discussed, “The Power of Collaborations in accessing the international markets”.
“Botswana has a lack of entertainment lawyers and that’s something we have to rectify immediately. And it starts with education, so we have to engage with academia to make sure to integrate legal education into the classroom. One-Way is for the students to empower themselves, to lead that movement,” said Pimentel who went on to explain that the basis of survival of any collaboratory business is the understanding of the legalities involved.
The last panel consisting of Dr. Kennedy Ramojela, University of Botswana, Presley Chweneyagae of The River, Chef Joseph Seeletso, and Maxwell Dichi of Muvhango discussed, “The Available Opportunities for On-Screen Talent”.
“If I am sitting somewhere maybe in Mozambique and I’ve never been to Botswana and there’s a film that shows the Okavango or a place in Ramotswa, then I’ll get curious and say ‘I must go and see this place’ Those are some of the things that the screen does to help us economically to develop our tourism and our businesses, ”said Presley as he shed some light on how on screen opportunities could still create more opportunities in business.
In an interview with Voice Entertainment after the discussion, Ndlovu boldly told the publication that, “I think producers and stakeholders should really try and find partners from outside, first of all to produce content for Batswana but also to make it commercial so it can go to other markets and that’s important.”
Asked how local television content and film producers could penetrate the relatively small Botswana market, Ndlovu said “the world is crying for international content so we all need to rush to try and position ourselves. It’s not like before when Hollywood had a front row seat. Now we can also reach through streaming platforms. There is so much where we can share our content, and it’s no longer as expensive as it used to be.”
The film festival is on its second year and continues to attract attention of local creatives evident by the growing turn out each year.