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Plans are afoot for Botswana to hold its inaugural International Film Festival (BBF-23) this month, a platform that seeks to promote the film and television industry.
The festival that is scheduled from 20th to 24th November 2023 at Protea Hotel and Capital Cinemas (Masa Square-CBD) in Gaborone will be held under the theme: Introductions, Capturing our Narratives. Organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Gender and Culture, the festival also aims to promote the Botswana’s story to the international film market.
The Botswana Film Association has previously blamed government for the failure of the film and television industry to thrive. The association complained that government was not keen on enabling players in the sector so as to maximize the available potential. Its chairperson, Prince Monna, highlighted that the statistical analysis shows that South African and American content dominate the local broadcast media.
When giving the State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the upcoming Botswana International Film Festival is a platform for networking with filmmakers, distributors, streaming platforms, financiers, writers and all other supporting industries.
“This will among others, unlock value chains in the sector, enhance distribution platforms and commercialise creative Intellectual Properties,” he added.
Calls for submission for the festival closed last month on the 12th.
Meanwhile Masisi has noted that the commercialisation of the creative industry presents a huge opportunity for Batswana creatives to generate employment and wealth, especially for the youth. Accordingly, the president said the National Arts Council has undertaken extensive consultations in order to formulate a strategy that will transform the local creative industry and protect the country’s cultural heritage.
Masisi indicated that the Council has started its operations by issuing grants to winning proposals in various categories of arts and crafts which has resulted in the engagement of 19 Youth Production Companies in the Industry. He revealed that Fifteen Million Pula (P15 Million) was spent on local Content 32 Acquisition during the 2022/23 financial year, as a way to continue creating economic activity in the Film and Television Industry.
“Consequently, 27 programme series sets have been acquired thereby, creating employment for two hundred and twenty (220) people within the creative industry value chain, such as production teams and actors. More local content will be acquired in the financial year 2023/24 to be played on Btv 3, the readiness of which is at 85 percent,” he stated.