On 16 May 2019, Lavinia Kapewasha premiered her short film Iitandu (Pieces) at the National Theatre of Namibia. The film, set in post-apocalyptic Namibia, explores traditions vs modernity, food security, corporation vs tension all within the context of the country’s past, present and future.
With a screenplay and direction by Kapewasha, Iitandu philosophically probes humanity’s need to survive at all cost and deliberately ends in a cliffhanger. The lead character, Mwadinohmo’s (played by Kapewasha) entire arc in the story is to survive, at any costs, but when her survival is halted by someone who snakes their way into her plans, her instincts go into hyper-drive.
The film thrives on exceptionally beautiful scenery as the cinematography places the viewer in Namibia’s nightmare world. Coupled with equally extraordinary performances by Kapewasha, Charl Botha and Jennifer Timbo, Iitandu is definitely on the forefront of changing Namibia’s cinematic experience.
Namib Insider caught up with Kapewasha to talk more on the creation of the film.
What is the core message of the film? What do you want to achieve or have the audience grasp?
I am really into philosophy, ever-more fascinated by human behaviour, hence why I wanted the audience to leave with the question: Are we doing the right thing, as humans, as a species, as a community, with all that we have been biologically engineered to do? Our prime focus is to survive, so what can one do if someone’s actions hinge on your survival?
What was challenging about bringing the script of Iitandu to life?
As a writer, you can create the most unfathomable situation and orchestrate through the words, but once it’s down to bringing it into actuality, it may not go down as you wish. Space, location, costumes, parameters were all factors I never thought of while writing. Finding the right location was challenging, especially since I didn’t know the great ‘hidden’ locations Namibia has to offer. Seeing that this is a period piece, finding the materials, set items, costumes to create this world was tough. Where can you find the perfect dystopian shelter, that has enough grit, yet not too old in terms of style? Who can create costumes that will transport the viewer to then? Where can one buy futuristic enough items that add to the storyline and flair of the film? Does it give enough information? These questions haunted me as the only tell-tale to point towards the period was the set/costume/props that would give wind of that without having to make it so obvious. Also, how can you bring the viewer on this journey? How would you shoot it? Never-ending questions I was plagued with… too many questions. It all seemed over-ambitious…Despite the never-ending plaguing questions, having the right people, the right team to bring your vision to life was all that was needed.
How is this film bringing something new to Namibia’s film industry?
A film like this hasn’t been done before in Namibia, by a Namibian. I wanted to challenge myself, thereby challenging Namibian storytellers. It is opening up the scope of what we can do in the art of storytelling. We have the perfect landscape that is naturally gifted, therefore we must use it to its full potential. It serves as a reminder that anything is possible when we broaden our horizons. We should look to different genres and tones so we don’t oversaturate our small market with the sameness we see time to time. We have the power to show Namibia from a different lens.
Where to with Iitandu now that it has premiered?
Another screening is in talks. We are willing and excited about more Namibians to watch this film. Once screenings are over and hopefully festival runs, Iitandu will be available online for all to watch.
You also co-own a film production company. Are you working on your next project?
I am one of the founders of Dark Crown Productions alongside my partner Jenny Kandenge. Kandenge and I collaborated and created Dark Crown Productions to have two black women at the forefront of film/television and theatre. No doubt we have more projects in the pipeline. We aim to shine a light and tell stories. I cannot go into detail as yet, but we are working on projects. One of them, Untitled, will finally be able to be viewed this year. You just have to keep an eye out for more!
Watch Iitandu‘s Trailer here.