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Young Batswana to shoot movie on anti-poaching

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Rhinos PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
A young Motswana script-writer, Edward Sebati who is currently based in the United States of America (USA) will be shooting a movie titled Blood Brothers. The film is mainly inspired by poaching of rhinos in the country.

Growing up in Botswana for some 20 years, he never appreciated the beauty of the country, especially the Okavango wetlands, until he was kilometres away from home.

Sebati is the author of Memories Of Lotsane: The Chronicles Of An African Boarding School.  He wrote the script for Blood Brothers, which will be filmed in the Okavango Delta as a dedication to Botswana.  This movie will be an addition to his other work, Black Cobra. 

Blood Brothers will spread the message of anti-poaching. Although the beautiful Okanvango Delta inspired the film, Sebati’s love for martial arts also played a major role in creating the movie. 

“I have loved action movies since I was a child.  Having trained (in) Karate for as long as I could remember, it has always been my dream to tell a great martial arts story, or rather a great story through the eyes of martial arts,” he explained. 

He said the movie centres around two young Batswana brothers, Dumisani and Sasha McDaniels, who were nature conservationists working for National Geographic and very much in tune with Botswana’s care for wildlife. 

“The two brothers then encounter a deadly gang of poachers, which eventually alters the course of their lives forever, leading them back to their roots in the United States, where they are caught up in a political conspiracy,” he said. He said the movie should be expected to premiere in 2017. 

If things goes as planned, the movie will first shoot in Botswana towards the end of this year, and finish filming in Los Angeles, USA, where the storyline ends.

However, Sebati pointed out that unlike the previous movies that had been shot locally, they intend to create jobs for Batswana. 

Batswana will also be given an opportunity to play major roles than in the case of some of the productions such as the movie adaptation of Alexander McCall

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Smith’s  The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Mma Ramotswe), where locals were exploited and foreigners given major roles. Sebati’s production will see a Motswana shine alongside one of Africa’s supreme martial artists, Aurelien Henry Obama.  Apart from Obama, he explained that they are in negotiations with some of the popular action movie actors in the likes of Michael Jai White and Chuck Norris.

Sebati also pointed out that they were interested in working with other renowned actors like Virginia Madsen, Richard Norton, Jackie Chan and one of the most prominent directors, Isaac Florentine.

Even though they want the movie to measure up to global standards, there were challenges more especially among black producers in Hollywood. Sebati pointed out that the industry is even harder for black African producers and directors. 

He added that he knew there were challenges before him, but was determined to see his dreams come true.  He said even though the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development had sponsored them with P10 million it is not enough to cover the costs of the movie production. Sebati noted that they also managed to raise P3 million in the USA. He called on the business community and locals who are keen to help to donate whatever they had to turn that dream into a reality.

“This will help create jobs for a lot of young Batswana and would help diversify the economy of this country.  We would be holding auditions around the country so that those from different corners of Botswana can benefit from our project and therefore we will need as much sponsorship as possible to reach those people,” he said.

However, Sebati is optimistic about the latest development from Amazon Inc, the Internet retailer, of the movie to make and distribute films and most importantly acquiring productions from independent filmmakers like him.



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