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Film director

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From a young age he knew he was destined to film director.

Immediately after he finished high school he headed to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to study film.

After ten years, in the industry working in film industry overseas he has seen the need to come back to Botswana to impart what he has learned.

Meet Mpho Dintwa a young charismatic talented boy who grew in Gaborone as he talks to MMIKA SOLOMON in a candid interview they had recently at the posh hotel.

Q: Hello brother how are you?

I am good and the weather is fine.

Indeed. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My names are Mpho Dintwa. I was born 31 years ago.

Q: What do you do for a living?

I am Film maker.

Q: Do you have a company that you operate under?

Yes. I have a company it is called Boxscreen pictures.

Q: What do you do in this company?

In film there is a director and a producer. I am a director.

Q: When did you start?

I have been in the industry for 12 years as we speak.

The 12 years include my school days.

I studied film both in the United Kingdom and Canada up to Post graduate.

Q: I see. So what does your company really deal with?

For now I am trying to develop local content for our local film industry.

My primary focus will be to develop documentaries.

There is need to develop local documentaries so that the future generation will have something to remember about this country.

I want to develop local content that will be able to compete with the rest of the world.

The market is still not fully developed so there are prospects in that regard.

Q: When did you develop love for the Film industry?

After I have finished high school, I went to Zimbabwe to study introduction to Film. My family sponsored myself.

Q: In your own opinion is the local film industry growing?

It is an emerging industry. It is still at an infant stage but we are getting there slowly but surely.

However, if you compare ourselves with South Africa we are still far behind in terms of both the quality of production and the actors.

Both the government and the private sector are not investing in the industry.

There is need to train the film personnel in the whole industry.

As it is anybody can masquerade as a film producer without the relevant skills that are required.

For it to grow we need professionals in the industry to grow it.

In South Africa the industry is taken seriously, I am comparing it with it because we are close to them and we consume a lot of South African material.

Q: My understanding of the film industry is that there are many players such script writers, producers, directors and others where exactly do you fall?

In the industry there is what we call above the line and below the line.

Above the line we are talking about those who are in the creative department directors for instance are above the line.

Those below the line are camera people, lights and the technical staff.

I decided to be above the line, as I am a movie director.

Mpho

Q: You only specialize in documentaries?

Not really. I am focusing on documentaries for now because I feel there is need for that.

I will be doing dramas as well. Because besides being a director I am a writer as well.

Television drama is one area where Botswana is lacking behind in both content and quality.

Before I can embark on it I need to really be good in whatever we are doing.

Because our actors here are not trained. We need to train them first either through workshops or take them to school.

What we see in our local television leaves a lot to be desired.

Interesting please explain further.

What we watch on BTV, is not what we are supposed to be watching.

The television drama starts with the writers’ right through to the director.

BTV does not have entertainment documentaries its lineup is packed with informative programme.

There is need to diversify the station, remember this is a highly creative industry so therefore you need all elements in the station.

Q: What projects are you working on?

I am working on producing a documentary called, ‘Little Giant of Bechuanaland’.

It is a biography of William Charles Willougby. He was a missionary and a scholar.

The book is written by John Rutherford. I have signed a deal with the publishers Mmegi Publishing to produce a documentary about their book.

I have also signed with SANI Films a company based in South Africa to distribute the documentary.

I choose the company because it has a vast network across the world for easy distribution of the book.

Locally we don’t have distribution companies with contacts all over the world.

Q: How much will it cost to produce this documentary?

It will cost about half a million pula or thereabout.

I don’t have the budget already, but I have talked to various companies and the government through the department of arts and culture to help me.

I will shoot some scene in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

You can see that a lot of money is needed to finance this project.

Q: Why this book?

I feel as a creative person I should be open to new suggestions.

I feel this guy had an influence in the formation of Botswana.

He is the one who facilitated the three (3) Batswana chiefs to travel to England to seek a protection from the then Masters.

Q: Has his family agreed to work with you on the documentary?

His grandchildren have agreed to work with me.

They have been very helpful in providing other material to me that I did not have.

Q: Thank God it’s Friday. What are you up to?

Hey! All is good. I will be home trying to do some research on my projects.

I don’t have time to socialize really.