Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Mhlanga’s ‘Lentswe la Baratani’ makes it to Zimbabwe International Film Festival

Otse’s amateur filmmaker and leading drummer, Phillip Mhlanga, is anxious to raise more funds to enable him to accommodate the village chief and other contributors to his film, Lentswe la Baratani, to Harare on the weekend after Independence Day.

Mhlanga has won a spot on the Zimbabwe International Film Trust Festival to be held from 30 September to the 7th when his movie shows at the Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Spain in Harare.
The annual festival ÔÇô this one is the thirteenth – promotes films made by amateur filmmakers who make movies that comment on African culture.

Mhlanga was alerted to the event by Nelly Potter of Alliance Françoise when he participated in the Fete de la Musique earlier this year. He submitted his film for review and won a spot.

Mhlanga says he made the film to help his home village at Otse to be recognised as a tourism venue that can bring money to the village. He says the village also hosts the Manyelanong, which is also home to vultures that could attract tourists.

“I made this film basically to highlight the potential of Otse to raise funds for itself. The film was inspired by the song Lentswe la Baratani, which I composed.

I hoped it would help to draw public attention to Otse so that the village can exploit its own resources so that Botswana does not only depend on the Okavango, which had almost monopolised local and international attention of the tourism industry, says Phillip.

“We could make a Village Development Trust to keep money for the smaller villages,” Phillip believes.

Hopefully the song, produced by Philip ‘Mosco’ Modise, also bandmaster at the BDF, will alert tourists all over the country to the beauty and historical significance of Otse.
“It cost a lot of money to make the film. I have not been able to show the people of the village the film.

“It would be improper to sell the movie before it is premiered. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Btv will put out tenders so that we can bid and that will give the Batswana an opportunity to view the film. It is rather ironic that the Zimbabweans will view the film even before the people who inspired it at Otse. I had intended to go with a crew of Nick Moatshe, the cinematographer, Kgomotso Tshwenyego, the co-producer and the king of the village, but I have not been able to raise enough funds.

“I have been lucky to get sponsorship from Brand Botswana, a subsidiary of BEDIA, only for two people. A Kasie also put in a hand with attire that shows the national colours of Botswana. Dirang Motors sponsored with T-shirts.

We are also keeping our fingers crossed that the Department of Culture will also help. At the end of the festival there will be awards. Who knows, if one gets lucky we might pull off an award,” a hopeful Phillip says.

At the end of the Awards ceremony, also organised by the International Film Trust. Ringo, Mtukudzi and many others from Zimbabwe and abroad will perform at the music festival.

“This will enable us to make contacts for ourselves and Botswana,” says Mhlanga
Mhlanga plans to raise funds at Eros in Tlokweng on Saturday 1 September.

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