‘Botswood’ sees film production start to blossom in Botswana

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If recent happenings are anything to go by, Botswana is also set to establish its own solid film industry, dubbed « Botswood » in the style of Nollywood and Riverwood in Kenya. After years of only wildlife filming taking place in the country and the filming of Alexander McCall Smiths’ Number 1 Lady’s Detective wrapping up in 2007, a lot of young Batswana with much interest in film-making have decided to take up the camera to showcase their production and acting skills.

Local movies produced and acted out by Batswana such as ‘Rra Dijo’, Chobolo, Ramco’s Flash and many more have been released on DVD. These films are now starting to give Nigerian movies massive competition for space in the living rooms of many Batswana. With local celebrities such funny man Joel ‘Ntsoro’ Keitumele and Vee showing what they can do in front of the silver screen, Batswana have grown fond of the movies which are usually filled with lots of laughter and a moral lesson in the end. With quite a small budget as compared to those in media houses across the border and no glitz and glamour of Tinsel town, local media houses have slowly started to producer top quality films, most of which depict the true lives of ordinary Batswana.

One company by the name Dargie Advertising Agency seems to be leading the way, having produced and published a number of movies on DVD. Mogotsi Mox Gaolathe of Dargie Advertising Agency is of the view that the local industry is growing at a very rapid pace. “We have a great pool of talent in the country and this can only help us grow.” He however regrets that there are huge stumbling blocks. “Pirating of our production åis our biggest enemy; some foreign nationals tend to copy works and sell them for as cheap as P20,” says Gaolathe. He laments that even with the introduction of holograms the problem still persists because local authorities like the Botswana police still don’t have the full understanding of the copyrights laws.

Asked why locally produced movies are not being showed in cinemas he said: “The people who own the cinemas in Botswana still don’t have faith in what we produce, they still need more convincing and that is why we are constantly engaging them on the matter.” He also criticises Botswana Television (Btv) for their lack of support for the industry which is still in its infancy.

“Btv have failed to give local content any support even though most Batswana what to see them. When we try to show trailers of our movies they charge us exorbitant prices which might retard growth because capital is had to come by.” Gaolathe says his company has just released a DVD called O bone o je sereto Part 3 and 4, explaining that the movie focuses on the great in our society and local acting talents, Ntsoro and Mazabathi take leading roles in it.

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