Botswana: Deputy Permanent Secretary- Library Services, Archives, Arts and Culture Tebogo Matebesi yesterday urged local film makers to tell Botswana Narrative in the films.
Deputy Permanent Secretary states,” We must document and capture our traditional narratives and thus ensure that our intangible storytelling cultural heritage is immortalised.” This was said by Deputy Permanent Secretary- Library Services, Archives, Arts and Culture, Tebogo Matebesi, yesterday at a press briefing to launch the Botswana International Film Festival (BIFF) in Gaborone.
Matebesi revealed that, the BIFF aims to provide a launch pad for film practitioners to not only make a living from but to memorialise Botswana folktales.
He added that the inaugural BIFF seeks to provide creatives with a platform to network and share skills and ideas with their counterparts from across the continent and internationally.
Matebesi noted that a “plethora of opportunities exist within the film industry and its value chains as such a film festival of this magnitude will result in the convergence of relevant stakeholders such as content generators, film fanatics and funding institutions in a melting pot premised on the development of the television and film production industry.
For his part, Policy Specialist Arts and Culture Dean Molebatsi reiterated that the onus is on film aficionados and Batswana to proliferate the uptake of local narratives through the use of film production to ensure sustainable development and national pride while making Botswana a destination of choice to the international community.
In addition, Molebatsi noted that capacitation workshops have been held across 11 districts as a precursor to the launch of the Botswana International Film Festival to close gaps with regard to production, script writing, and mentorship.
Speaking to issues of the film festival format, facilities and film freeway, Local Organising Committee Chairperson S. Kganya Kwalate alluded that the BIFF will be held from the 20th-24th November 2023 and will be held in Gaborone. She further noted that Masterclasses, screening sessions, a film market and exhibitions, an awards ceremony and a film showcase will characterise the film festival.
In this context, the Botswana Government has identified the creative industry as a powerful engine for economic growth and diversification and a potential mass employer for Botswana, especially youth whose unemployment rate has hit.
As such, the engagement of young film practitioners through such as the Botswana International Film Festival has the potential to drive economic activity and contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).