Local poetry and arts movement, Poetavango in collaboration with European Union in Botswana and the Alliance de Gaborone recently held the European Film Festival in Maun as a way of building strong relationships and bringing hope to families following the devastating impacts brought by Covid-19.
The Maun edition followed the fourth edition of the festival that was held in Gaborone in the previous week since its resumption in 2018 after a long interruption.
The Film Festival was then halted again in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was however held last year in November with a series of films that were all, in one way or the other, dealing with environmental issues, and interactions between humans and nature.
In Maun the festival kick started at the Botswana Open University with the movie Romy’s Salon followed by the children’s animated movie Son of Big Foot and the two locally produced Docu-dramas, Ka Nswazi and the award winning Dithunya Tsa Rona. The film Festival came to a close with the final screening of another European movie My Brother Dinosaurs.
Speaking during the official opening of the event, Deputy Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Silvia Bopp-Hamrouni explained that the films were meant to show the struggles families are subjected to as well as the need to accept and support each other within families, with all the differences and across generations.
She revealed that the theme of the event ‘Family’ go along with the huge impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic had on families all over the world. Bopp-Hamrouni highlighted that many families lost their loved ones due to Covid-19 and others needed to take care of family members who struggled with the long-term consequences of the disease.
Bopp-Hamrouni further highlighted that families had to carry extra burdens because of home office and home schooling which in many cases led to burn-outs, and mental health issues due to extended lock-downs. She pointed that domestic and gender-based violence also increased. The Deputy Ambassador added that many people around the world also lost their jobs and income and were consequently unable to feed their families.
“However, despite all these negative impacts, the pandemic has also brought families closer together, it has shown us how fragile our lives are and how important it is to be there for each other,” she noted.
In addition, Bopp-Hamrouni has revealed that the European Film Festival aims to showcase the diversity of the film production in the European Union family. She highlighted that they could not show films of each and every 27 Member States hence they selected co-productions from, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain for the festival.
“Europe’s contemporary creativity, its diversity of cultural expressions and multifaceted artistic vision are reflected in our selection of films that ranges from drama and comedy to animation for children. Since 1991, the EU has supported Europe’s film and TV industries through the media programme, encouraging the competitiveness, innovation, and sustainability of the European audio-visual sector, and helping European talents to work together across borders,” she stated.