Sometimes called ‘Mountain Kingdom’ or ‘Kingdom in the Sky’, Lesotho for many forced into a state of Diaspora by high unemployment and low opportunity has also become The Forgotten Kingdom.
By that name, the first feature film about Lesotho, shot on location and sporting an impressive Basotho cast and crew, is finally complete after eight years of intensive work. American director Andrew Mudge has devoted nearly a decade to creating this beautiful portrayal of Basotho life and storytelling. Now Mudge is returning to show the film to the people who inspired and helped him realize his masterpiece.
On 1 March, The Forgotten Kingdom tour began with a high-profile premiere in Maseru. Attendees ranged from curious Basotho to foreign visitors to local artists to embassy delegates.
Since TTL has helped facilitate screenings in Mokhotlong District, we received tickets to attend the Maseru premiere. A chance to attend an event that feels more familiar and homey than I expected? I’ll take it. A chance to wear my killer Ghanaian dress courtesy of PoP Team Ghana? Yes please. A chance to spend an evening watching a story about Lesotho with two dear Basotho friends? Priceless.
Films do not premiere in Lesotho, much less are they screened in rural villages. For many Basotho, this is a novel and exciting experience. Plunged occasionally into the Hollywood glam world thanks to my San Diego ties, I knew what to expect. ‘M’e Nthabeleng and her cousin ‘M’e Lineo, however, did not. Their reactions were heartwarming.
As the theatre audience stood for the entrances of the Prime Minister, King Letsie III, and Queen ‘Masenate, bo-‘M’e Ntahbeleng le Lineo straightened their shirts and stood gaping. The superstar cast made their way to their seats amidst frenzied twittering. What was more, such reactions were entirely deserved.
The Forgotten Kingdom is a beautiful film about a beautiful country. It portrays Basotho culture accurately and respectfully. I am grateful to have seen the film, eager for its full release, and encourage everyone to discover the kingdom I now call home through this wonderful movie.
Read more on The Forgotten Kingdom website: http://forgottenkingdomthemovie.com/