Content News: In Brief

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According to a 3 June 2010 report in FilmContact.com, the producers of the popular MamaRamotswe movie also known as the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency have auctioned their property, including movie equipment, cars, computers, costumes and other props at their Gaborone base and relocated to Cape town, South Africa. Pre-casting is already on-going in South Africa, where the next Mmaramotswe movie, possibly a 60-minute feature, is being shot by film the producer, Tim Bricknell. Informed sources said that the producers will only come to Botswana to shoot a few scenes around the Kgale Hill, and the Okavango Delta, while most of the set has now relocated to Cape Town. Gaborone-based production manager of the MmaRamotswe movie Ndipo Mokoka, who also sits in the Botswana Confederation of Trade, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), over the weekend confirmed that the movie's head office was recently closed down after all equipment was auctioned as the office relocated to South Africa, after being offered better incentives by the Film Commission in Cape Town. The warehouse, which used to house the movie offices, is now being rented by a logistics company. "We finished relocating last week to South Africa, but the producers say if the government (Botswana) can commit itself financially they can come back. But it does not show that Botswana government will change its stance. I think there is a lot of politics in it despite the fact that the president has supported the move to finance the movie. Mokoka told Mmegi that the producers relocated to South Africa after realising that the Botswana government was dragging too long to release mobilisation funds and avail tax rebates for the movie company, a practice he says is common all over the world. Mokoka says here the Botswana government said funding the movie was a very expensive exercise. The Botswana government funded the first movie for US 5 million, three years ago. The production manager says President Ian Khama had directed that the film producers should be assisted after a study was presented to him regarding the growth of the film industry in Botswana. " A film commission, which was supposed to disburse funds and give film companies tax rebates was set up, I was supposed to sit in that Commission but it never took off, I'm not sure whether the change of ministries and ministers had something to do with the failure. As you might be aware during that time, Pelonommi Venson Moitoi was in charge, she has since changed ministries, the Permanent Secretary, Festinah Bakwena has also changed ministries, while the same ministry has also been divided into several components", Mokoka said. Solomon Monyame, a member of BOCCIM who lobbied for the establishment of the Film Commission, confirmed to Showbiz that he is aware that the No.1 Lady's Detective Agency has relocated to Cape Town. "We have lost opportunities, a lot of people as well as production companies were employed by the production", said Monyame whose studios were also engaged to provide local music to be used as sound tracks in the movie. Monyame also said the change of ministers and ministries resulted in the establishment of the Film Commission losing momentum as the commission had to look for a new home. He said they recently met with Lesego Motsumi, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, who showed keenness to house the Film Commission. " We had to start afresh, we will meet with her again when she returns from an overseas trip, and hopefully this will be the commission's final home.