Friday, December 12, 2008

NO 1 Ladies' Detective Agency movie coming soon

source: Mmegi

Staff Writer

The Producer of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Timothy Bricknell has revealed that he is making arrangements to screen the movie on Botswana Television (Btv).

Speaking to Mmegi yesterday, Bricknell said that they are trying to screen the movie at the same time that M-Net, which has the rights, will be screening it. Currently the movie is being shown free of charge to interested individuals at the No 1 Ladies Opera House in Gaborone until next week.

Bricknell disclosed that the movie has been well received in the United Kingdom (UK) where it was shown on BBC and watched by 6.7 million people. He said HBO Channel has also come on board to screen the movie, which was shot last year, followed by the six-part series being currently shot in Botswana.

"We want the six-part series to be shown in the UK by end of March at [continue reading]

Friday, December 5, 2008

BBC McCall Smith bonanza

source: The Bookseller
04.12.08 Katie Allen

Alexander McCall Smith's The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is returning to the BBC with TV and radio projects lined up for Christmas and the new year. The BBC1 series of six 60-minute episodes will be based on McCall Smith's novels (Abacus), and is being filmed on location in Botswana. It was written by Nicholas Wright and Robert Jones and directed by Charles Sturridge and Tim Fywell. It continues from the feature-length, one-off film production of the first novel, The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which was directed by the late Anthony Minghella and broadcast in March, attracting 6.9 million viewers. Singer Jill Scott is returning to star in the new series, with "Survivors" star Paterson Joseph to join.

Producer Timothy Bricknell said: "We were thrilled with the reception to the film from critics and BBC viewers. Anthony was so proud of the project and would have been delighted to see it do so well." He added: "We are [continue reading]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Minghella, Pollack to receive posthumous credits

source: Reuters

By Mimi Turner

LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack will receive posthumous executive producer credits as the BBC moves forward with its six-part TV series based on Alexander McCall-Smith's "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

The series, officially announced Monday, continues the vision of Minghella, whose feature-length adaptation of the first book premiered to huge success in the U.K. shortly after his death in March. Pollack, whose Mirage Enterprises -- a co-venture with Minghella -- co-produced the telefilm, died two months later.

Filming has begun on location in Botswana on six 60-minute episodes, which will chronicle the poignant and amusing adventures of Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana.

Grammy winner Jill Scott will reprise her role as Botswana's first female sleuth and be joined by [continue reading]

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Man behind lady detective

source: The Telegraph (India)

He is the man behind The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, located in modern-day Gaborone, Botswana and founded by Mma Precious Ramotswe. And he is coming to Calcutta.

The theme this book fair is Scotland. That’s the reason Alexander McCall Smith, the writer of the detective series featuring the rotund, wise, independent-minded, stew-making loveable Ms Ramotswe, will deliver the inaugural lecture.

McCall Smith, apart from being Scot, is a former professor of medical law and worked in universities in the UK and abroad. After the publication of his highly successful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over 15 million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction. The various series he has written have been translated into over 45 languages and have become bestsellers through the world.

The various series are about different places. “In Botswana, we have [continue reading]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mma Ramotswe series on track

source: Botswana Press Agency
16 October, 2008

GABORONE - The shooting of the the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series has provided employment and experience for locals.

The movie, also known as Mma Ramotswe, generated a lot of publicity and excitement when it was shown locally early this year.

The shooting started six weeks ago and the episodes are expected to be ready next year. The series has 99 actors and 52 of them are locals.

The executive producer of the movie, Ms Amy Moore, said the filming of the movie has had a positive impact on Botswana and its people.

She said they employed 2 300 adding that they favoured women as an empowerment measure.

She also noted that they have given exposure to a number of local artists, hence promoting the Setswana culture.

She further noted that the filming of the series gave the country experience in [continue reading]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Traditional rest camp opens

source: Botswana Press Agency
24 September, 2008

GABORONE - Officials of the Botswana Tourism Board, participants in the tourism industry and media practitioners had an experience of a life time at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve recently when they were taken on a game drive to coincide with the official opening of Alexander McCall Smith Traditional Rest Camp.

The traditional rest camp which is located in the south western part of the reserve comprises five thatched huts and a lolwapa amid esthetically placed lead wood and natural morula trees.

The building styles come directly from the neighbouring community and only natural attributes were used in the structures.

Officially opening the Rest Camp, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Tourism Board, Ms Myra Sekgororoane, described the development as an additional facility which adds value to the tourism industry.

She said Alexander McCall Smith is not a stranger to Botswana and his footprints from his renowned book series and financing the rest camp, are felt all over Botswana.

Book number seven of the Alexander Mc Call Smith's series titled Blue Shoes and Happiness has prominently featured Mokolodi Nature Reserve and the park manager who appeared as a real life character.

Sekgororoane added that the mention of the place in the book on its own provided some unprecedented publicity which if well used would push [continue reading]

Friday, September 26, 2008

No. 1 Ladies' Detective movie continues?

source: Mmegi

The first movie ever to be filmed in Botswana is being continued on a location near Gaborone.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency movie, starring American songbird, Jill Scott, as the main actor and the lady detective, is being continued in Gabane, four kilometres from Gaborone. Jill Scott stars as Mma Ramotswe, a lady detective.

The first part of the movie was filmed in 2007 on a location built especially for the movie at Kgale View in Gaborone. However, this time around, the movie producers have taken over an old abandoned and dilapidated school in Gabane.

The script for the first part of the movie was from a book by author Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The director of the [continue reading]

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mma Ramotswe`s opera and couscous

source: Mail & Guardian
SELLO MOTSETA - Jul 09 2008 06:00

About 5km outside the central business district of Gaborone, set in the subdued tranquility of the relatively untouched countryside overlooking the Kgale Mountains, sits the new Number One Ladies Opera House.

The official opening was attended by Alexander McCall Smith, the author famous for his detective books, who is also a co-owner of the new opera house. The opening event was held on a wobbly makeshift stage in a small hall able to accommodate 60 appreciative classical music lovers.

"Precious Ramotswe had never been to an opera. In fact, her only contact with music other than Botswana's rich traditional music was through her first husband, Note Makote, a jazz trumpeter," said David Slater, the director of the opera house.

He noted: "Of course she heard Jimmy Molefhe's Sunday evening programme of [continue reading]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Botswana opening of the No 1 Ladies` Opera House

source: Times Online

The baritone paused as a train rattled by on the first night of Botswana’s new opera house

It was by far Botswana’s biggest musical event of the year – in fact, ever. Attending the official opening of the No 1 Ladies’ Opera House was Precious Ramotswe, Africa’s most famous detective – in the shape of Sheila Tlou, a former Minister of Health, who claims to be the person on whom the character in the book is based – and her creator, the Rhodesian-born Alexander McCall Smith.

The tiny “opera house”, a converted garage which served as the inspiration for J. L. B. Maketoni’s Speedy Motors in the detective stories, seats a mere 60 people. It may be no Covent Garden or La Scala, but in the capital, Gaborone, which has no other classical music venue, its arrival has been welcomed with enthusiasm.

The best of the country’s small, but growing band of classical music singers was on display. Gape Motswaledi, at 33 Botswana’s only professional (semi-professional actually) baritone, had been practising for months. He had to wait for a train to rumble past before launching into his first solo, Di Provenza il mar, from La traviata. For a maths teacher who taught himself to [continue reading]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An enemy in the heart of the No 1 Ladies` Detective Agency

source: Mmegi

Alexander McCall Smith (2008)

The ninth volume in the series, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith was released by the Penguin Group in South Africa in April this year. It is already in to its sixth reprinting, sales probably stimulated by the release of the TV film of Precious Ramotswe and her friends (Mmegi, 25 April 2008).

The Miracle at Speedy Motors takes the various adventures of the main characters forward, including: Grace Makutsi, assistant detective who would like to advance to associate detective, and her betrothed Mr Phuti Radiphuti of the Double Comfort Furniture Store - they are not yet married; Mr Polopetsi the obsequious part-time detective who also works at the Speedy Motors garage; the matron at the [continue reading]

Sunday, June 1, 2008

No. 1 Ladies` Opera House to bring arias to Botswana`s bushland

source: The Independent
By Lynne Walker
Sunday, 1 June 2008

It may only be a matter of time before Precious Ramotswe is operatically trilling her way through her private investigations. Alexander McCall Smith, the author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, has founded Botswana's first opera house, The No. 1 Ladies' Opera House. But the writer, who is himself no mean bassoonist, is keeping his plans for a future world premiere at the new venue firmly under wraps. He's brimming with enthusiasm, however, over immediate plans for his latest project which opens with "a grand-ish concert" on 21 June, sponsored by the Edinburgh-based author.

The building has been transformed from a 1940s recruitment station for miners to an extraordinary performing arts centre cum café in the African bush, about 10 minutes from the capital, Gaborone. McCall Smith first spotted its potential during the making of a BBC documentary about his novels, struck by its resemblance to his fictional Speedy Motors garage, and discovered it was available for lease. In collaboration with the former director of [continue reading]

Monday, April 28, 2008

No 1 Ladies` Opera House is open

source: Mmegi

A new restaurant, music centre and opera house is now open to the public. It is located at Kgale Siding beyond St Joseph's Senior Secondary School and open from 7 am to 4 pm (except Sundays) for breakfast, bush tea, lunch and afternoon coffee and cakes.

Meals offered include, in the morning, Alexander McCall Smith's favourite breakfast, Mr J L B Matekoni's breakfast, Mma Makutsi's pancakes with a Mma Ramotswe's pot of bush tea. In the afternoon dishes like a Speedy Motors trusted lunch or an Angelika Orford special are on offer. They are well cooked by John and Alphonce, served by Smokey the waiter and with Vivian for backup.

The No 1 Ladies' Opera House is the brainchild of David Slater, formally of Maitisong and Alexander McCall Smith, formerly of the University of Botswana, but now a professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was teaching medical ethics until the success of his over 55 books changed his life. He is best known for his series of novels, "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency", that have sold [continue reading]

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mma-ramotswe in NZ

source: Mmegi (Botswana)

Mma-ramotswe in NZ Alexander McCall Smith's novels about The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency have captured imaginations around the world and prompted a BBC TV series. BOB MADDAMS follows in Precious Ramotswe's footsteps around Gaborone before investigating the real Botswana.

It wasn't your typical stake-out. We had parked right outside the suspect's house, which stood in a wide tree-lined street in a quiet residential part of Gaborone, Botswana's capital. "OK," whispered Tim, "this is the place."

But Tim Race is no private eye. He's the boss of Africa Insight, which runs the official No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Tour. "You don't need to be an expert on the whole series of books," he reassured me. "So long as you've at least read the first one you'll get a lot out of it."

However, those who sign up for the tour often have more than a passing acquaintance with the adventures of [continue reading]

The irony of Mma ramotswe

source: Mmegi (Botswana)

I had the wonderful privilege ofattending the premiere of our so long-awaited-for picture of "The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency", commonly known around households as Mma Ramotswe, courtesy of the Botswana Tourism Board.

Popular as it seems to have become, I am still tempted to contemplate whether the Government of Botswana still holds that this concept is worth the financial muscle it commanded because I personally reckon it leaves a lot to be desired.

Mma Ramotswe is definitely not the first picture to be produced in Botswana and exported to the outside world. We boast of "Thokolosi" and 'Re Bina Mmogo" which were screened on Btv and South African Broadcasting Corporation. The only notable difference between such pictures and Mma Ramotswe is that the likes of [continue reading]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It`s A Night Of Celebration For Mma Ramotswe

source: Mmegi


The movie No 1 Ladies' Detective or Mma Ramotswe premiered last weekend in different locations including the New Capitol Cinema, Riverwalk and the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) and on Friday night the British Council hosted an evening of cultural entertainment at the Botswana Craft Marketing to honour movie participants.

All the local artistes whose songs were used in the movie's sound track were invited to perform at the show. It was a cool night of live music featuring Botswana's cream of the top, Maxy Mogwana, Vee, Stampore, Shanti Lo, Chris Manto 7 and Gogo jazz band. But as they say class is permanent while form is only temporary. One of Botswana's pioneer musicians, the respected Mmashoro vocalist Gaotwesepe Robalang proved her mettle against a young generation of artistes who are regarded as celebrities.

Patrons had raised over P2,000 for the aging singer whose song, Gokatweng dominated the airwaves during the [continue reading]

MmaRamotswe promotes Botswana

source: Botswana Press Agency
15 April, 2008

GABORONE: - The making of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency movies has raised Botswanas international profile and attracted an increased interest in Botswana, Director of British Council, Mr Stephen Forbes says.

He was speaking at an event to commemorate Anthony Minghella and celebrate artists in the film. The event dubbed No 1 Ladies Detective Agency -The Music was held at BotswanaCraft on Friday Mr Forbes said that when the film was screened in the UK on BBC TV recently, it attracted an audience of over 6 million.

He said this has already attracted an increased interest in Botswana. He said that before the film, they had to persuade British partners to visit the country and had to do a lot of background explaining about the situation in Botswana.

He said that British organisations are now phoning and suggesting projects they can do and are asking to be invited to Botswana.

This presents us with the opportunity to build on the successful collaboration of the film to enhance links in film and film production He said the No 1 Ladies Detective could also help in [continue reading]

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Botswana: Mma-Ramotswe gets warm reception

source: Botswana Press Agency
14 April, 2008

GABORONE - The much talked about movie No.1 Ladies Detective Agency popularly known as Mma-Ramotswe has already generated more than P18 million since its first premiere in London, UK, on March 14 this year, says Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Mr Kitso Mokaila.

Speaking at the first screening of the movie locally, Mr Mokaila said the television adapted movie, based on the series of books by the Scottish author, Alexander Mc Call Smith, is a significant effort by the government in its quest to sell the country internationally.

He said the movie, which tells a story about Botswana and the Batswana culture and values through humor has so far not disappointed.

Mr Mokaila said the media reviews that have followed the London premiering have been phenomenal.

He said positive testimonies from the international stars that participated in the movie, among them the lead actress Jill Scott have sold Botswana to the international market.

The Minister said the movie scored yet another achievement during Easter Sunday by attracting more than six million viewers on the UK local channel BBC 1 BBC producers acknowledged that this was the biggest television show over the Easter weekend, he said.

He said for the local market negotiations are at an advanced stage for a [continue reading]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

GICC hosts Mma-Ramotswe premiere on Saturday

source: Botswana Press Agency
09 April, 2008

GABORONE - The long awaited local premiere of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency movie popularly known as Mma-Ramotswe is scheduled for Saturday at GICC.

According to a release from the Botswana Tourism Board The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency movie is the first major film to be undertaken in the country after a P30 Million contribution by the government towards the production of the movie.

The movie whose theme is centered on a Motswana woman, features US singer Jill Scott in the lead role of Precious Ramotswe, who is the owner of a Botswana Detective Agency.

The part of Grace Makutsi, Mma Ramotswes secretary is played by singer and actress Anika Noni Rose, who starred in the film Dreamgirls.

Locals benefited by playing supporting characters in the movie.The series is filmed in Botswana.

The first premier of the movie was held twice in London hosted by Botswana Tourism Board in association with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and [continue reading]

Weinsteins Launch International TV Distribution Unit


NEW YORK, April 7: The Weinstein Company has created a new international television division, which is making its debut at MIPTV with The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, based on Alexander McCall Smith’s novel of the same name.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency launched to 6.3 million viewers in the U.K. on the BBC. HBO has already ordered 13 one-hour episodes that will begin filming this summer, with HBO obtaining the U.S. and Canadian television and home-video rights, and the BBC taking [continue reading]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The No.1 ladies left us hungry for more

source: getworkingham
By Mike Jennings
26/ 3/2008

After storming best-seller lists as a series of nine successful books, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has made the transition to the small-screen, with a feature-length pilot aired on Easter Sunday and a 13-part series that begins production in the summer.

The plot is similar to the book: after losing her wise, kind father, Precious Ramotswe travels to the Botswanan capital, Gaborone, and establishes herself as the best female private detective in the whole country – because she’s the only female detective in Botswana.

What follows is a charming mix of light-hearted detective work and the kind of [continue reading]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Minghella`s No 1 Ladies` Detective Agency pulls in 6.3m

source: BrandRepublic

by Darren Davidson Brand Republic 25-Mar-08, 11:10

LONDON - The late Anthony Minghella's feature-length version of 'The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' pulled in an impressive 6.3m viewers for BBC One on Easter Sunday, condemning the launch of ITV1's new drama 'He Kills Coppers' to only 3.8m.

The BBC drama, based on Alexander McCall Smith's bestselling novel, attracted a 27% share of [continue reading]

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mma Ramotswe attracts international press

source: Botswana Press Agency
20 March, 2008

LONDON - The producer of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency movie Anthony Minghella died in London on Tuesday as the second private screening of the movie was held at the British Film Auditorium in Southbanks.

Minghella, who was the director and writer of many television movies, was born on Jan. 6, 1954 on the Isle of Wight, England.

He graduated from the University of Hull where he studied English and Drama, and began his career in television in the 1980s.

He has in the past scripted childrens shows for the BBC and for Jim Hensons The Storyteller.

He first attracted international attention with his first big screen film in 1990. In 1996, he tackled the screenplay adaptation of Michael Ondaatjes novel The English Patient.

He has won a Best Director Academy Award for the beautifully filmed epic starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche.

Minghella was set for an anthology film with a title New York, I Love You. The British writer, director and producer was well respected in the film industry, and in 2003 he wrote and directed the blockbuster Cold Mountain, an adapted movie from Charles Fraziers best selling book.

He was also a theatrical and TV director who staged many productions including [continue reading]

How a U.S. soul singer became Africa's No.1 Lady Detective ... with a little help from a padded behind

Source: Daily Mail

01:26am on 21st March 2008

On the first day of filming the BBC drama The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in hot and dusty Botswana, southern Africa, the show's leading lady, Jill Scott, could be forgiven for having her thoughts elsewhere.

For one thing, there's her mother to be concerned about. She is in the USA, 8,000 miles away from the film's location, recovering — successfully, thankfully — from cancer.

And then there's the pain of Jill's recent divorce from her husband of seven years and partner of 12, Lyzel Williams, to play on her mind.

Most pressingly, there's the [continue reading]

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jill Scott treasures local experience

source: Botswana Press Agency
19 March, 2008

LONDON - The immensely successful advertisement for the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency-Mma Ramotswe movie has put Botswana on the international map.

The London daily newspaper, The Independent has already interviewed the movies leading actress Jill Scott.

The American singer told the paper that she had not visited Africa before she came to Botswana for the film, and that she will forever treasure the experience.

She said before her visit she had plenty of questions in her mind and had no idea what to expect.

But after a few days of looking for what they didnt have, I noticed all the things they have. My eyes suddenly opened, and everything was new and wonderful, she told the paper.

Scott said Africa does not leap on you immediately, but it seeps slowly and its incredibly important to be respectful and humble there.

She mentioned a couple of places in Botswana that took her breath away. One of the things she talked about was the Safari experience in the Kalahari Desert.

I was stuck by the pure silence and the stillness. I looked around [continue reading]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jill Scott Mourns Loss Of Anthony Minghella

source: HippHopp Elements
Posted on: March 19, 2008 08:04 PDT

British filmmaker Anthony Minghella, who directed the upcoming two-hour HBO pilot "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" starring Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose, died in a London hospital on Tuesday after a short illness, reports the AP. He was 54.

"Much more than a TRUE artist who thrilled in offering his divine gift with the world, Anthony Minghella was a dear, dear trusted friend," said Scott in a statement. "My heart aches with grief. Words can not express how deeply he will be missed or [continue reading]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oscar-winning film man Anthony Minghella dies aged 54

source: AdelaideNow
March 18, 2008 09:00am

OSCAR-winning director Anthony Minghella, who turned literary works "The English Patient," and "Cold Mountain" into acclaimed movies, has died aged 54.

Minghella died yesterday of a hemorrhage following surgery.

Minghella's publicist, Jonathan Rutter, said the filmmaker died at London's Charing Cross Hospital. He said Minghella was operated on last week for a growth in his neck, "and the operation seemed to have gone well. At 5 a.m. today he had a fatal hemorrhage."

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who became friends with Minghella after the filmmaker directed a [continue reading]

see also: Director Anthony Minghella, 1954-2008 (Time)

Monday, March 10, 2008

HBO enlists Minghella's `Agency`

source: The Hollywood Reporter
By Kimberly Nordyke

March 10, 2008
HBO has retained the services of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency."

It had been rumored for months that Anthony Minghella's adaptation of the best-selling books by Alexander McCall Smith could wind up as a TV series, though nothing was official until now.

HBO has partnered with the Weinstein Co. and the BBC on the drama series, ordering 13 hourlong episodes to begin filming in the summer. That's in addition to the two-hour pilot that Minghella recently shot in Botswana from a script he wrote with Richard Curtis ("Four Weddings and a Funeral").

HBO has obtained U.S. and Canadian television and home video rights, and the BBC
has taken U.K. television distribution. TWC, which controls all other international territories, is planning to take the project to MIP in April.

"Agency" stars Jill Scott as Precious Ramotswe, the proprietor of the only female-owned [continue reading]

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mma Ramotswe to be aired on BBC

source: Mmegi

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency film, otherwise known as the Mma Ramotswe is scheduled for airing on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) UK Channel One on Easter Monday - March 24.

Before this, the film is expected to premiere at the British Film Institute's Southbank's Auditoriums in London on March 14. The screening is organised by the [continue reading]

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Opera house in the bush is author`s musical miracle

source: The Scotsman

IF YOU drive south from Gabarone, the capital of Botswana, until the houses stop and the bush begins, you'll find yourself passing a building that used to be a garage.
When Edinburgh author Alexander McCall Smith used to drive past it, he was reminded of the fictional Speedy Motors garage in his No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which has been translated into 44 languages and sold 15 million copies in English alone.

The writer has now taken over the building, and in June it will get a new lease of life – as Botswana's first opera house.

The signs for the No 1 Ladies Opera House have already been designed by Iain McIntosh, who illustrates McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series in The Scotsman.

A new floor has been put in, the roof repaired, the walls [continue reading]

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Anthony Daniels reviews The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith

The lost world of Mma Ramotswe
source: Telegraph UK

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 24/02/2008

Anthony Daniels reviews The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith

There are few more difficult tasks in literature than to create a character who is both morally good and interesting. In Precious Ramotswe, the traditionally built proprietress of the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency of Gaborone, Botswana, Africa, Alexander McCall Smith has succeeded triumphantly: so triumphantly, in fact, that Mma Ramotswe's favourite beverage, redbush tea, is now sold in our supermarkets.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith

A large part of the charm of the Mma Ramotswe books, and the [continue reading]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tourism board to use Mma Ramotswe movie set

source: Botswana Press Agency

13 February, 2008

GABORONE - The Botswana Tourism Board is negotiating with producers of the No1. Ladies Detective Agency to use the movie set for tourism purposes.

The boards public relations and communications manager Keitumetse Setlang says the producers have agreed in principle to the set being used for tourism purposes.

She said they are very optimistic that the ongoing negotiations will be successful. The set, which is nestled at the foot of the Kgale Hill, has been closed to the public except for a few authorised tours since the filming wrapped up last year.

Setlang said although no feasibility study has been done yet, it is very likely that a lot of interest will be generated once the tours of the set are commissioned. Currently there are a growing number of Mma Ramotswe tours being carried out by [continue reading]

Monday, January 21, 2008

What chance of a film industry in Botswana?

source: Mmegi

Last year saw the first production of a big drama movie in Botswana-The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, directed by the internationally-renowned Anthony Minghella.

More recently we have had news of two satellite television content-providers, SABIDO (holding company of etv) and Munhumutape Pay-TV, setting up shop in transmission or production facilities in Gaborone. Over the past 10 or 20 years, digital cameras and computer editing have dramatically opened up filmmaking possibilities in "remote" places. Things are looking up for drama films and documentaries made in Botswana.

Botswana already has one of the world's major wildlife film industries, based in Maun and Chobe. Dereck and Beverly Joubert have made prize-winning films for international television channels, and a full-length elephant drama called Whispers for Hollywood (Buena Vista). Tim and June Liversedge have rivalled them in producing wildlife documentaries, and are building on the success of their lion documentary Roar! being shown on giant Imax screens in major cities around the world.

Maun-Chobe wildlife films took off in the late 1980s, as a spin-off from safari industries moving into Botswana from East Africa. By comparison, Gaborone's film industry is small and still struggling. The oldest established Gaborone firm is Dipolelo/Storyline (Renee Gilbert & John Clement), set up in 1994, which made its name in human documentaries and is about to flight 26 half hour episodes of its drama "soapie" Lelia & Co on Botswana Television (BTV) in 2008. Two other Gaborone filmmakers, with reputations made prior to or separate from BTV, are the documentarist Billy Kokorwe and Moabi Mogorosi famous for his short drama film Hot Chillie.

The big buzz seven or eight years ago was the [continue reading]