Sunday, September 23, 2007

The No. 1 Botswana Movie Shoot

source: The New York Times

AS Alexander McCall Smith writes in the opening of his best-selling novel “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” “Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Botswana, at the foot of Kgale Hill.” Though her cases tend to dwell on sins like philandering and low-level insurance scams, her greatest mystery these days is whether her story can translate to film.

Precious Ramotswe has no blue steel pistol, just two desks, two chairs, a telephone and an old typewriter. Her tiny white van is incapable of high-speed chases and fiery stunts. Then there is Mma Ramotswe herself. (Mma is a local honorific.) Film sleuths usually exude chiseled sexiness and a noir persona. But as Mr. McCall Smith puts it, Precious Ramotswe is “the fat lady detective”: rounded, not chiseled; softhearted, not dark.

Would anyone watch a film about a “traditionally built” (as she puts it) shamus whose main preoccupation is contemplating her cases under an acacia tree?

The director Anthony Minghella allows that it [continue reading]

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mma Ramotswe Movie: Boom for Botswana?


Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
Thu, 06 Sep 2007

Its sleepy nature was an essential ingredient to the book but tourist bosses are hoping a film version of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" will provide a shot in the arm to Botswana's laidback capital.

Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella has brought a rare bustle to Gaborone since he and his crew arrived 10 weeks ago to bring Alexander McCall Smith's best-selling novel to an even wider audience.

As well as filming in the capital, Minghella of "The English Patient" fame is planning to shoot scenes in the stunning Makgadikgadi Pans, huge salt flats in northern Botswana, and has roped in locals for a funeral scene at a village on the outskirts of Gaborone.

Although one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, Botswana is keen to drum up alternative sources of income apart from its diamond mines and spectacular wildlife, which draws in hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors each year.

Gaborone a must-see destination

Tourism is now the [continue reading]

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mma-Ramotswe Scenes Shift To Salt Pans, Okavango

source: Mmegi (Botswana)


The Hollywood euphoria that engulfed Gaborone for the last 10 weeks has finally ended after the Mma-Ramotswe movie crew wrapped up the filming at their Gaborone West Industrial production base last Thursday.

By late Thursday afternoon and the next morning, the big vehicles used by the crew were streaming out of the city to the north of the country where they will be shooting for 10 days at the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and the Okavango Delta. Movie producer Amy-J Moore says the Delta and the pans scenes, which do not appear in Alexander Mcall Smith's book, are meant to showcase Botswana's natural beauty.

Although there are no hotels in Gweta, where the film crew and the actors will be based, Moore says accommodation is not a hindrance. " We will be using tents. We are setting up hundreds of tents at Gweta, that's where we will be staying for the next few days," she said as the team prepared to decamp.

The nation's capital may be quiet for now as far as [continue reading]