Focus and commitment has helped independent local film company Lion Trek Pictures to earn an opportunity to share their production with the international community with their upcoming project.
Based in Kasane a Botswana tourism destination, Lion trek Pictures established in 2015, is a production company made up of six self-taught Batswana youth united by a passion in film making. Their journey in filmmaking began with short clips uploaded in social media and their area of interest being fictional films around wildlife conservation.
In an interview Lion trek Pictures spokesperson Segolame Gaebepe said “I had an interest in film making since I finished my form 5 in 2013 and we started off with shooting short five minute clips and uploading them on Facebook. Things changed in 2018 we started creating and uploading longer videos, one of them was called `Unleash the wild dogs.` it is about raising awareness on elephant poaching and that is when international film producer Robbie Moffat showed interest in our clips.”
“Moffat wanted to buy some of the stock footage we used in our videos and our relationship with him started from there. In 2019 we created a thirty-minute video about decreasing rhino poaching in Botswana. Film making for us has been about creating a better livelihood for ourselves and not to depend too much on government as well as help the local industry grow,” Gaebepe said.
Initially Gaebepe shared that they used one camera and relied on borrowing laptops from friends to edit their clips. However, the continued working relationship between Lion trek Pictures and Moffat created benefits for both parties, as after selling some of their stock footage they bought more production equipments, Moffat also donated some of his unused cameras.
Furthermore, this year Moffat will co-produce with them a feature film called “Safari” and assistant director being one of their crew members Onkagetse Gaebepe. “We have already approached a television station in South Africa, Mnet confirmed to air and we are yet to approach local stations. Even though we are doing this part time, our upcoming short film will create jobs for Batswana interested in film making, as we are looking at having fifteen crew members; Batswana producers and head members in our production. We are going to need costume designers, makeup artists and boom swingers to name a few and we also welcome others who want to view how a film is made to come and watch,” Gaebepe said.
Though some people may consider independent filmmaking a part time leisure activity because some of the production quality are usually below industry approved standards, for Lion Trek Pictures the same does not apply as Gaebepe explained it’s a process one goes through to grow in the craft. For them their film making journey was mostly on a part time basis and they all contributed the little they had to pay for transport, equipment and even the license to shoot in Botswana`s nature parks.
On the challenges they encountered is the current Corona Virus epidemic which changed their filming schedule. “Filming was to Begin in April so we followed suit with government recommendation to prevent Corona virus spread and we changed the date to June 2020. Film making in Botswana has many challenges such as lack of sponsors, local Television support in us as film makers is still very low.”