Local drama series, Bophelo is one for the history books in the film and television industry of Lesotho as it is said to be gaining momentum.
In an interview with Newsday Arts, writer and director of the series, Paul Banda Luanga has hailed the sponsors in particular Econet Telecom Lesotho for supporting the production.
He said the drama series is on course to be one of the best productions to come out of Lesotho as it is steadily gaining momentum both locally as well as in the region and it is all thanks to Econet for showing confidence in the production.
Bophelo is a drama series that started airing on LTV on Dstv channel 292 last December. It has so far aired 10 episodes while production is ongoing for up to episode 12.
Banda mentioned that they are already in motion with plans for the second season as they are about to complete the first season.
â€œConversations are going well so far. On behalf of Pula Media and myself as the creator of the soap, I would like to thank our platinum sponsor, Econet Telecom Lesotho for believing and taking a chance on this production,â€ Banda said.
â€œBophelo has been gaining a lot of momentum and we are getting a lot of feedback from Basotho here at home and in diaspora as well as other international viewers. We have been bombarded with positive feedback,â€ he said.
â€œIt is no secret that authentic production is expensive hence we could not do this properly without the support of Econet,â€ he remarked.
He said the initial plan was to produce 13 episodes, however due to the demand they have decided on a possible two or three bonus episodes, which will take the current season to 15.
He also noted that the possibility of that will depend on negotiations with their sponsors. He said once the negotiations part is out of the way, they will be announcing dates and venues for the new seasonâ€™s auditions.
â€œThere are already applicants who want to be part of the series but we wonâ€™t be making drastic changes due to continuity of key characters,â€ he warned.
Banda also thanked other partners such as the Lesotho Funeral Services while not leaving behind Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS) for giving the local film industry an opportunity for growth. He said it is only through such support that they can create more part-time and full-time employment for actors and the production crew.
â€œWe have employed so far 165 to 200 just on the current season with some on part-time while others are on full-time. And for this we are grateful to Econet and all our sponsors as well as partners for showing faith in us,â€ he added.
He said they are not rushing to sell the series to other channels as yet as they are not focused on making money for now, but rather on quality production.
â€œWe do not want to rush to making money but we want to do things the right way and give the viewers top quality production,â€ he said.
He concluded by mentioning that a popular agency in South Africa has contacted them enquiring about the services of four Bophelo actors for a soon-to-be-announced project.
He stated that negotiations were back on the table with the main sponsor Econet for further sponsorship of the hit series.