THE fourth edition of the annual Lesotho Film Festival (LFF) was officially launched on Tuesday with a media briefing held at Lehakoe Club in Maseru.
Incepted in 2011 by non-profit making organisation, Sesotho Media and Development (SM&D), LFF is driven by the mission to give Basotho youth a platform to develop and showcase their film-making skills. Local film-makers submit their productions before the festival starts which are then screened in different districts on a mobile screen.
The festival runs over a month’s period with screening taking place in up to six districts. LFF has grown beyond catering for local filmmakers only with 24 of the 49 total films, in this year’ edition, coming from other African countries. The screenings are always followed by a dialogue session facilitated by SM&D’s officials.
In an interview this week, SM&D Executive Director Mpho Letima described film as a multi-dimensional tool which helps in the gaining of insight into other cultures, ideas, thoughts and expectations
“The films that will be shown throughout the festival will allow a migration of the mind, a first step towards tolerance and understanding to achieve a sense of human rights for all, especially those of women, youth and children with the full support of men,” ,” Letima said.
“This year we are launching a new programme which will give a platform to the youth to express themselves freely and artistically, whilst also recognising those who need to be encouraged to participate in events such as this one.”
Different sponsors and partners hailed SM&D for pioneering such an initiative which appreciates and uplifts the film production in Lesotho.
UNICEF representative, Makhetha Moshabesha, said because of that, they felt compelled to be part of the festival.
“UNICEF applauds Sesotho Media for the good work it has been doing which is teaching people, mostly those in remote areas, through film,” said Moshabesha.
Since UNICEF’s mission is to advocate for children’s rights, he added, the activities of Sesotho Media naturally appealed to the agency.
Filmmaker, Kalosi Ramakhula, who spoke on behalf of Motion Pictures Association Lesotho, thanked Sesotho Media and Development for affording them the platform to showcase their productions,” said Ramakhula.
“Sesotho Media has provided local filmmakers with a platform to showcase their productions, and furthermore, presenting trophies to outstanding films at the end of the festival.
“We would like to see the film industry as one from which we can make a living. It costs a lot to produce a film of high quality, but with initiatives such as this, we will definitely get there.”
At the same event, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso was announced as the LFF patron with Robert Likhang as the co-patron.
The festival will run from tomorrow, starting in Qacha’s Nek, till November 21 where there will be a black-tie closing ceremony.