THE Motion Pictures Association of Lesotho (MPALE) has hit out at filmmakers charging people for auditioning, saying they were tarnishing the image of the fledgling movie industry.
MPALE chairperson, Kalosi Ramakhula, this week told the Weekender they had come across a number of posters in Maseru calling on people to audition for film roles for a fee. He said charging people for auditioning was not standard practice anywhere in the world, and thus unethical.
“MPALE was established with the intention of bringing together filmmakers as well as to standardise and industrialise the sector,” Ramakhula said.
“If aspiring actors are having to pay for auditions, we will not achieve anything as a budding film industry since we would now be perceived as crooks.”
He said the association had resolved to lobby the government to come up with a policy that regulated the film industry.
“What we plan to do is to plead with the government to gazette a law that would forbid such practices, so we can have solid grounds to reprimand those people killing our industry,” said Ramakhula.
“We also want to meet the people charging for auditions so that we can hear their side of the story. After their presentation, we will then show them what we believe is ethical behaviour.”
He also urged aspiring actors to refuse to pay for auditioning since it was unethical.
Film producer and director, Kaizer Matsumunyane, echoed the sentiment saying paying for an audition was ludicrous since it was similar to an interview.
“Asking people to pay to audition for any film production is totally wrong because it is just like when a company is holding interviews for people to fill certain positions and then asking them to pay. It is not only unreasonable, but also ridiculous,” he said.
“Filmmaking is still an emerging industry in the country, and it is a pity that we have people who see it as a way of making a quick buck. By so doing, they are destroying what people who are passionate about the film sector are trying to build.”
Resultantly, Matsumunyane said, all filmmakers were being painted with the same brush of being exploitative.
“Such people are tarnishing our industry by taking advantage of people who are desperate to be on films,” he said.
“Some people now believe that local filmmakers are out to make money from them, yet that does not apply to all of us.”
Matsumunyane added: “It is a pity that we don’t have laws that forbid such conduct which, in some countries, is regarded as a crime. What we can only do for now is warn people not to pay for auditions. Actors are hired for their ability to execute their assigned roles, and not because they paid.”