Photo by PETER KLAUNZER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.
Botswana's First-Ever International Film Festival Steps into the Limelight
Botswana's film industry is having its moment. The Botswana International Film Festival debuted last night in Gaborone, bringing film professionals together and facilitating a bright future for the industry.
Promoting the nation's emerging film industry, the Botswana International Film Festival debuted on November 20th and will run till the 24th. Organized by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Gender, and Culture, the festival aims to inspire creators to weave the narrative of Botswana, ensuring its stories are not only told but also preserved.
During a recent press briefing in Gaborone, Tebogo Matebesi, Deputy Permanent Secretary – Library Services, Archives, Arts, and Culture, emphasized the festival's role in breaking down silos within the filmmaking community. "We are going to capture our stories; hence, we want to unite everyone and have a launching pad for our creatives to tell our beautiful stories," Matebesi declared.
The festival, beyond celebrating narratives and cinematic artistry, is designed to foster networking and collaboration among creatives, promoting healthy competition and growth within the industry. Creators showcasing their films at the festival will not only gain a platform for their work but also opportunities for collaboration, distribution, and funding.
"The festival will be used as a measure to see where the industry stands as a collective as we get to talk about the trends and how we can move together," explained Matebesi. Highlighting the economic benefits, he added, "After your work is seen, it will get to meet distributors as there is a plethora of opportunities and access to funding from people you will get to collaborate with."
Dean Molebatsi, Policy Specialist in Arts and Culture, underscored the festival's commitment to inclusivity. Capacitation workshops were conducted in 11 districts from May to July to ensure widespread participation beyond major towns and cities. Molebatsi sees the creative industry, along with its value chain, as a potential driver for diversifying the country's economy.
"We do not want to have only people in Gaborone or Francistown participating in this festival; hence, the countrywide workshops," Molebatsi stated. The festival, characterized by masterclasses, screening sessions, a film market, exhibitions, an awards ceremony, and a film showcase, marks a significant step in establishing Botswana's presence on the global cinematic stage.
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