Batho ba Lorato film festival set for this month

Scheduled to take place in a three-day marathon (from February 21 to February 23) the annual Batho ba Lorato film festival is once again upon us.

The 7th installment of the annual event will be held at the New Capitol Cinema in Riverwalk and takes place under the theme ‘Being True To Yourself’.

According to organisers, the festival aims to raise awareness on social justice issues, with particular focus on sexual orientation and gender identity.

It also seeks to highlight the experiences of Lesbians Gays Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Botswana and around the world.

In a brief interview with Voice Entertainment, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), Communication and Documentations Officer, Bradley Fortuin said, “The film festival aims to raise awareness on issues of SOGIESC, including family, love, religion and acceptance.

“It also aims to be that repository for queer Botswana LGBTIQ documentation and help uplift talents that promote and defend human rights.”

This year the festival will feature four movies and a documentary and will conclude with a panel discussion with debates on issues that affect the LGBTI community.

These will include ‘Rafiki’ a film based on the concept ‘Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives’. However, the movie’s central characters Kena and Ziki long for something more.

Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the duo will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.

Another exciting offering is ‘I am Sheriff’ which tells the story of young trans-man as he travels the mountain kingdom of Lesotho showing his film in remote villages, schools and communities.

Sheriff was born with a girl’s body, but as the grandmother in his film recounts, he refused to wear dresses and always wanted to play with the boys.

“My name is Sheriff now,” he says, “if you want me to come home and visit my home village you have to learn to call me by my name!”

His spectators react with surprise and curiosity, but also offer remarkable warmth, love and acceptance.

Also on the screens will be ‘Have It All’, which is a documentary showing the life and times of five Batswana living openly on HIV treatment.

The documentary shows it is possible to live a long and productive life with the virus, to have HIV negative children, and keep your partner HIV-free if treatment is taken faithfully.

Finally the film marathon will also feature ‘Black Bird’ which focuses on Randy, a devout high school choirboy’s struggle with his sexuality while living in a conservative Mississippi town.

His mother blames him for his sister’s disappearance as his father guides him into manhood.

The event is co-hosted by Black Queer DocX and House of Rainbow Fellowship, and proudly funded by the U.S. Embassy Botswana and the Australian High Commission.

All screenings are free for everyone with admission reserved for 18+ years only.

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