Lesotho: Gem Awakens Film Industry

Gem Institute, in partnership with the National Commission for UNESCO, have launched a new film series which they said was the first of many aimed at uplifting the country’s film industry.

The initiative called ‘Wish for my daughter’, is an umbrella of 10 films, which will be locally produced by Basotho and Batswana who are partners in this project.

The project has raised over M1 million from supporting partners namely the European Union (EU), Motion Pictures, UNESCO and Kanye Bulletin.

The pilot film of the project is Li eme ka Lekoa, a Sesotho idiom which means the going has become tough. Filming commenced on Monday while the plot runs around the culture and heritage of Basotho.

The Managing Director and founder of Gem Institute, Mpho Letima, told the media on Monday at UNESCO offices that the initiative was meant to test the markets for Lesotho-produced films, both locally and internationally.

“Through this project, we want to test the value chain and supply chain of Basotho’s home-grown film content,” said Ms Letima.

“Foreign countries have made millions from documenting African cultures, and it was about time we started documenting our own heritage and culture for sale because we have realised that it has value.

“Our first film shall focus more on heritage and culture, and customary and civil laws impact on the inheritance of a girl child in Lesotho.”

Ms Letima explained that Li eme ka Lekoa is a story about a girl from a royal family who wants to succeed her father on the throne after his death. This is because the male child of the family is still too young to lead the nation. However, the culture-oriented relatives are strongly opposed to the idea and the issue ends up in court. The film has over 70 cast members and is expected to premiere in December this year.

“We have learnt that some Basotho had already started on the journey of producing their films though there are no markets to sell their work. We have taken a giant leap to be the movers and shakers of the industry,” added Ms Letima.

She said to market their films, they are going to reintroduce cinemas in communities of the North, South and Central regions.


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