Moipolai resonates with global film audiences

The short film receives African festival selection from the Real Time Film Festival in Nigeria


Botswana’s fledgling film industry has another reason to celebrate as local film, ‘Moipolai’ continues to capture audiences in another year of successful runs in the global cinema circuit. Moipolai explores issues of trauma response, specifically the much-debated dissociative amnesia. As the global community becomes more informed about the degrees and effects of traumatic experiences, Moipolai presents an opportunity to be part of the conversation.

Moipolai’s storyline centers around an unnerved woman who finds herself in the middle of nowhere, with no idea how she ended up there. Naturally, she runs for her life as a stranger chases after her. What she doesn’t know is that she is running away from the best hope she has to better understand her situation. As the title suggests, she will soon learn that “ele ruri moipolai ga a lelelwe”, a Setswana adage that translates to he who rejects advice deserves no sympathy.

“I was attracted to the narrative of the short film because of the themes of abuse, trauma and alcoholism in it. In that way it reflects parts of our community, but it also introduces a trauma response that I first learnt about after reading the script,” explained the film’s director Tricia Sello.

The production team recently received their first African festival selection from the Real Time Film (RTF) Festival in Nigeria, to be held in August from the 19th to the 27th. Mompolai has also garnered international recognition at the Brazil Film Festival, Korea International Short film festival, Australia film festivals, Golden Wheat Awards (Turkey), festival Del Cinema di Cefalu (Italy) among many others.

“It is an amazingly affirming honour to be selected at that many festivals around the world because I am serving as a jury member myself, and I understand the rigorous process of selecting films,” said Sello said in an interview. “It means that Botswana films can compete and give people a run for their money in the world stage. Being finalists on a platform such as the Korea International Short Film Festival, having beaten all the regional (African) submissions is further testament to that.”