‘Local film industry, a sleeping giant’


Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE local film industry could become one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economy if it is well structured, the South African film industry development facilitator, Aubrey Silinyana has said.

Silinyana said this during his presentation at an arts dialogue at the State Library yesterday.

The dialogue was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism Environment and Culture and was graced by the officials from government, business, film, art, music, fashion design, graphic design; and institutions of higher learning, tourism and entertainment.

The dialogue follows Silinyana’s short visit to Lesotho in November where he scouted for Sesotho films for the Sondela Youth Film Festival which ran from 27 November to 1 December 2018 in Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape Province.

Silinyana came to the country at the time when Lesotho was holding its annual film festival and got to interact with several Basotho film makers whom he eventually invited to attend that Sondela Youth Film Festival.

And yesterday Silinyana said a well-coordinated collaboration between different stakeholders and implementation of lessons learnt from neighboring countries can move the Lesotho film industry forward.

“Lesotho has a unique natural beauty, rich culture and local talent and it has a huge potential to be an international film production destination of choice,” Silinyana said.

He said it was sad that the country’s development agency, Lesotho National Development Cooperation (LNDC), does not prioritise the film sector as one of the key areas of the economy.

Silinyana said this means that the film industry is not prioritised yet in can generate revenue and create employment for the country.

“Looking at entities such as WESGRO, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, it has brought R1, 92 billion investment in film and media investment in the 2017/18 financial year.

“They have marketed the Western Cape and Cape Town as film production destinations of choice internationally. The capital injection will result in approximately 2500 full time jobs in the Western Cape,” he said.

Silinyana said it was from that background that he sees the potential which Lesotho has if she grows her film industry.

He further spoke of the development of the still photography market and the use of the Lesotho locations to record commercial adverts.

“Although it is already happening on a small scale through the Aranda blankets where they take pictures with the background of mountains for their billboards, there is still a need for still photography to be taken to a higher level where it can create employment for Basotho all year round,” Silinyana said

He said there could also be arrangements for automotive companies to come to the country to test their cars in the rough terrains thereby creating employment for Basotho just as is done in the Western Cape.

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