Contrary to views held by many about the No1 Ladies Detective Agency film currently being shot in the country that locals have been given a raw deal, the cast and crew include many Batswana.
Following an invitation by film publicist Joy Sapieka, Showbiz has discovered that the film producers have involved quite a number of locals in the project. While the film is being directed by renowned director Anthony Minghella, many Batswana are getting first hand training in film making through their active involvement in production. At the same time, a good number of local actors/actresses have found themselves a suitable niche in both speaking roles and extras (non-speaking roles).
Speaking to Mma-Ramotswe producer Amy Moore, Showbiz learnt that 46 percent of the crew are Batswana, while the top echelon is naturally dominated by movie industry gurus. Analysts regard this scenario as a welcome development in that while the country has a number of people, who can be said to have some experience in film making, no local producer has ever made a Hollywood movie.
Moore assured Showbiz that while the crew comprise mostly international experts "they have involved quite a substantial number of Batswana in the production". For instance, they have at least 30 people from Botswana Television (Btv) working on the set. She explained that they also held workshops for local film producers aimed at enhancing their film making skills. "We also had lunch with them so that we could have a chance for some informal discussions about the film industry."
Apart from those involved in the production crew, Moore stated that out of 41 speaking roles in the movie, 28 of them are played by Batswana. As is the norm in film making, moviemakers always give bigger roles to established actors, who are known globally, and obviously the featuring of local actors/actresses in the movie is a huge opportunity for them in terms of international exposure.
Among those involved is popular local designer Mpho Koahu, who is there as an assistant costume designer, and local filmmaker Pascal Proctor, who is in charge of the extras. Moore explained that their role is to set the tone while the "rest is up to the Botswana government" to establish and see how it nurtures the film industry in the country.
Meanwhile, Moore added that while they would soon be done with the shooting at Kgale View, the Roman Catholic land, on which they have erected structures for shooting the movie, has been leased with an option for renewal for 10 years. She noted that there is a possibility that they will be back in the country in May next year to shoot the series, depending on the success of the movie. The movie is scheduled to premiere on December 26 (Boxing Day) in the United Kingdom (UK).