ORGANISERS of the annual Lesotho Film Festival (LFF) say the emphasis of the fifth edition would be on quality rather than quantity.
Held under the theme, #TellingAfricanStories, the festival will be held from 17 to 21 November 2015 with the screenings to be held at Kingsway Cinema at Victoria Hotel, Alliance Française and the State Library in Maseru.
LFF was formed in 2011 by non-profit making organisation, Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D), driven by the mission to give Basotho youth a platform to develop and showcase their film-making skills. The festival’s tentacles have since grown beyond Lesotho’s borders with the fete attracting entries from the African continent.
Addressing a press briefing in Maseru on Tuesday, SM&D Acting Director, Mamolefe Petlane, said eight local and 10 foreign films would be showcased during the festival, a marked decline from last year’s 25 local films and 24 from other African countries.
“We had 28 local and 15 foreign submissions this year, but some did not meet the requisite standards such as good quality picture and sound, as well as a clear storyline. As a result, the jury had to reduce the number of entries to 18 from the 43 we had,” she said.
“Our theme for this year, #TellingAfricanStories, is quite broad and the films that made it onto the list told the tale of the daily lives of people on the continent.”
Petlane urged up-and-coming Basotho filmmakers to aspire for international film festivals such as the Berlinale in Germany and the Durban Film Festival in South Africa.
“I also urge stakeholders such as government and the private sector to promote the nascent talent in Basotho youth by investing in their projects because it is through them that Lesotho’s story can be told to other nations,” she said.
SM&D LFF Coordinator Senate Pitso pitched in saying the festival would take a different form than last year.
“We had seven categories last year catering for both amateurs and professionals,” she said.
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“However, this time around we only have six categories namely; Lesotho Short Film, Lesotho Documentary, Lesotho Student Film, Lesotho Feature Film, Special Award and Jury’s Special Mention award. It is from these categories that the winners will be chosen.”
Pitso also revealed that SM&D’s relationship with the filmmakers continued beyond the festival since the organization also markets the films through countrywide screenings they hold throughout the year.
Among the local productions to be showcased at the festival is the recently-launched short film Marriage at the Bedside of Death which deals with abortion and pre-marital pregnancy among young people. Coming of Age, which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival in February this year, will be screened at Alliance Française next Wednesday. The documentary follows the lives of four teenagers, Lefa Letsie, Senate Mosothoane as well as Rethabile and Mosaku Leselo, as they grow up and face life’s challenges in the remote and mountainous Ha Sekake in Qacha’s Nek.
The festival will also feature its first animated film, Restoration of Peace, a 10-minute flick highlighting some of the challenges facing the country such as political instability and the famo-related killings.
Kingsway Cinema will, on Thursday, screen the documentary Chameleon which follows Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an investigative journalist from Ghana who exposes human rights abuses and violations as well as corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa.