Short film tack­les youth abor­tions

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment - Mo­halenyane Phakela

UP-AND-COM­ING film­maker, Lepheana Mosooane, will to­mor­row launch a short film en­ti­tled Mar­riage at the Bed­side of Death tack­ling abor­tion and pre-mar­i­tal preg­nancy among young peo­ple.

The 16-minute film is set to pre­miere at Kaycees Club in Roma to­mor­row, star­ring seven bud­ding ac­tors and ac­tresses.

In an in­ter­view this week, Mosooane said the film was premised on the ex­ploits of a 23-year old col­lege stu­dent called Le­soetsa who, upon dis­cov­er­ing that his girl­friend Mamello (20) was preg­nant, tries to force her into hav­ing an abor­tion.

How­ever, Mamello re­fuses to abort the preg­nancy, re­sult­ing in Le­soetsa dump­ing her. Three years later, Le­soetsa is in­fected with KVR-2, a new deadly virus which kills a per­son within three days of in­fec­tion. The only an­ti­dote to the dis­ease is the blood of an in­fected per­son’s child. Le­soetsa’s mother then fran­ti­cally looks for Mamello and her son. Af­ter be­ing found, Mamello agrees to save Le­soetsa’s life with her child’s blood on con­di­tion he mar­ries her on his deathbed.

Ac­cord­ing to Mosooane, the film was an al­ter­na­tive to the usual nar­ra­tive of women be­ing the vic­tims in cases of pre­mar­i­tal preg­nan­cies.

“The film’s un­der­ly­ing mes­sage is for men to take re­spon­si­bil­ity when they im­preg­nate out­side of wed­lock,” he said.

“In­stead of pro­duc­ing a film in which the girl is al­ways a vic­tim, I de­cided to come up with a story where the boy is a vic­tim and is saved by the blood of the child he wanted to abort.”

Mosooane said the film would also be in the run­ning for the Le­sotho Film Fes­ti­val Awards or­ga­nized by Se­sotho Me­dia and De­vel­op­ment. His first film Dark­est Hour won the Best Am­a­teur Doc­u­men­tary gong in 2013 while his sec­ond, Last Tear Drop, won an award last year for be­ing the best film made in 48 hours.

“Since I won two Le­sotho Film Fes­ti­val awards in a row while I was study­ing film pro­duc­tion at Kick­4life, I de­cided to pro­duce an­other film for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

“The other ob­jec­tives of this film are to un­earth bud­ding tal­ent and ad­dress so­cial is­sues es­pe­cially those af­fect­ing young peo­ple and marginalised groups in so­ci­ety.”

Mak­ing the film, Mosooane said, was no mean feat since he had nei­ther the financial nor hu­man resources to com­plete the project.

“We strug­gled to find ac­tors who were pre­pared to work for free, and find­ing free lo­ca­tions was no walk in the park either. Ul­ti­mately, we had no choice but to cast peo­ple who had not starred in any film pro­duc­tion be­fore,” he said.

“Most of the ac­tors were Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho stu­dents, and al­most all our scenes were shot in Roma. We had only three days to shoot the film and the ac­tors learnt their lines on set.”

Mosooane said the ma­jor ex­penses he in­curred was hir­ing cam­eras, buy­ing food as well as pro­vid­ing trans­port for ac­tors and crew, adding that he had to dig deep into his pock­ets to bankroll the project.

“I had no money, and the only as­set in my pos­ses­sion was an old car. So, I de­cided to sell it at half the price it was worth to get quick cash to fi­nance the film,” he said.

“The other ma­jor chal­lenge I en­coun­tered was land own­ers chang­ing their minds on the lo­ca­tions they would have promised. How­ever, de­spite the lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence, lim­ited time and lim­ited resources, we man­aged to pro­duce the 16-minute long short film.”

A Scene from the short film

Mar­riage at the bed­side of Death.

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