Government Failing Film Industry – Association

Date:

The Botswana Film Association (BFA) chairperson Prince Monna has blamed government for the failure of the film and television industry to thrive.

Monna was speaking during a recent creative summit on film industry capacity building exercise held in Maun which aimed at creating stakeholder awareness regarding the mandate of the association. The meeting also focused on up- skilling of the film and video practitioners on various skill gaps identified.

Monna complained that the industry has over the years failed to thrive due to lack of proper coordination and collaboration between ministries responsible for license provision for the film production.   This he said include, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and that of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.

Monna highlighted that the tourism ministry which issue licenses for those who want to film in wildlife conservation areas has failed the local film producers as many licenses are given to foreigners than Batswana. He said local film makers could also incorporate wildlife documentaries in their production.

As for the ministry of youth he said they have failed to facilitate the Cinematograph Act review, so that it would allow the film and television industry to contribute to the growth of the national economy and improve the lives of Batswana involved in the creative industry.

He further complained that government was not keen on enabling players in the sector so as to maximize the available potential highlighting that the statistical analysis shows that South African and American content dominate the local broadcast media.

Monna has however stated that the local content is an effective tool for the promotion of culture and national identity and urged stakeholders to engage legislations that could be improved to suit the present day needs of film practitioners.

“We want production that can stimulate the local economy and ensure skills transfer and we should be having a booming film and television industry supported by a functional regulatory and legislative regime,” he pleaded.

Monna said the national policy on culture was also short on addressing how promotion of culture would be used to boost local content production for broadcasting. He said locals should also be capacitated for them to be able to document their unique culture which would in turn be aired on television. “At implementation level, there should be deliberate efforts to attract international co-productions with funds and incentives made available to develop the local industry,” he said.

In response Policy specialist of Arts and Culture from the ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture Dean Molebatsi however called for everyone to come on board and see what needs to be done, what role they can play to promote the industry so that eventually the nation can prosper. He is hopeful that once reviewed, the new Cinematograph Act would allow the film and television industry to contribute to the growth of the national economy and improve the lives of Batswana creative.

He added that the collaborations from different stakeholders can provide the much needed boost for the film and television production industry to thrive.

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