Category Archives: Featured

Mastering Versatility: Interview With Actress Diana Masters

Versatility is a talent honed by very few- and that list has Zimbabwean-born actress Diana Masters on it.

Masters has starred in numerous theatre and film work and manages to stun all the time. In theatre, she starred in Jenny Kandenge’s Ominous, The Nuthouse by Lloyd Winini, For Colored Girls written by Ntozake Shange and directed by Jenny Kandenge and Three Sisters by Bret Kamwi, including various UNAM productions. In film, Masters guest-starred in Untiled: The Web Series and most recently she featured in Lloyd Winini’s thrilling short film, Sacred Place.

Masters was born and raised in Zimbabwe and came to Namibia in 2014 for tertiary education, enrolled into university at the age of 16 and majored in Media Studies and Drama at the University of Namibia (UNAM).

Before acting, Masters was mostly into modelling and competed in a few pageants after being scouted at the age of 11. As modelling was not her biggest passion and she focused on acting.

Apart from showbiz, Masters has an interest in sports. She was selected to be in the Zimbabwe Juniors Volleyball team however, she left Zimbabwe before she got a chance to represent the country in any competitions.

Namib Insider! talks to Masters on her acting career.

When did you fall in love with acting?
I don’t believe there is a specific time when I fell in love with it. I have always been passionate about acting and I was in the drama and theatre clubs in primary school and high school, however, studying drama in university did intensify my love for acting because I got to know all the ins and outs of acting and I realized there was more to acting than what people think.

Which do you like more, film acting or stage acting?
This is a difficult one because I love both. The reason I say this is because both forms of acting have elements that I prefer and elements that are challenging. When it comes to characterization, I would say I prefer stage acting more because with stage acting, once you are on stage, you are that character from the time you start your performance to the time the curtain closes, whereas with film acting, its easy to break character because of the many cuts, takes and breaks. However, this can also be an advantage because if you forget your line, you have a chance to redo it, whereas, with stage acting, there are no do-overs, you have one shot to impress and captivate the audience. Either way, I get to do what I love and I get to bring a script and character to life and that is more than enough for me.

As a young female actor yourself, what would you say is the biggest illusion you would shatter for young female actors starting today, especially in the local industry?
A lot of people starting or those who aren’t really in the industry think it’s easy to get jobs, when in fact it’s not. So, no matter how good you think you are, it’s not easy to get a gig, especially in Namibia where the industry is small, you will always compete with someone, it could be a veteran actor or a newbie who has something directors haven’t seen before. So never relax and think that you are automatically guaranteed a job because you think you are great, you constantly have to work hard to prove yourself. Also, in this industry, everyone is replaceable, so always give all you got to every gig you get.

I have seen you in three productions, Ominous, For Coloured Girls, Three Sisters and now most recently in Lloyd’s Sacred Places and I loved all those performances. How do you prepare for a role, do you have any pre-performance rituals or are you just that good?
Thank you! Well, when it comes to preparing for a role, I put my all into it. So, the preparation itself is a whole process. First of all, I have to study the character that I am portraying, which means coming up with a back story for the character (if one is not given), analyzing the 5 levels of characterisation, studying the script to figure out my character’s motivation for each scene and then studying the feelings of my character in each scene as this also helps in remembering my lines. Before each performance, I always make sure to meditate to get into the right headspace and to become my character and then I say a quick prayer.

What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
That understanding your character is key to you nailing your performance. You need to know your character as you know yourself. If you dig deep into your character, you can portray things that are not written in the script because a director can not do everything for you. You have to do the work as an actor and meet your director halfway. Don’t let the director do all the work for you because you will not enjoy the process.

What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
­For me, understanding the character is quite challenging, because the way you portray a character determines whether or not the audience understands what you were trying to put across, as characters are easily misinterpreted.

What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?
Crying on cue. This is my weakest point, especially when it comes to film acting due to the several takes and cuts. I am however learning to be more vulnerable and using some of the pain that I, as Diana have felt to tap more into that emotional side.

Who are your current Influences?
Danai Gurira, a Zimbabwean woman who, not only managed to make a name for herself in Hollywood but also represents Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. Her role in Black Panther is truly inspiring and proves that hard work pays indeed as one can also accomplish amazing things.

What was the one movie you saw that made you want to go into acting?
As crazy as it may seem, it has to be High School Musical. After I watched the first High School Musical movie, I was convinced I could nail the character of Sharpay Evans because she was the mean girl, which I never was in high school, so I wanted to play the mean girl, just to see how it would feel.

What part of acting do you geek out about the most?
The performance, there is just something exciting about bringing a character and a script to life and the reactions from the audience.

What TV show character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week?
Theresa Mendoza from Queen of the South. I have always wanted to play this intense, kick-ass role of a powerful female who doesn’t take s**t from anyone. And also, the idea of playing a female drug lord excites me.

If you were given a PhD degree but had no more knowledge of the subject of the degree besides what you have now, what degree would you want to be given to you?
PhD in Theatre and Dramatic Arts, mostly because of my passion for everything Drama and Theatre related, and also because it would be fun to see people reacting to the fact that I have a PhD in Drama. Besides, if someone was to question me on drama and theatre-related topics, I would be able to answer them since I studied Drama at university.

(Images: Provided)

Guidelines For Filming In Namibia During COVID-19

The Namibia Film Commission has issued guidelines for filming during coronavirus. From cast and crew testing to protective equipment and on-site organization, the safety regulations aim at reducing the spread of the virus while shooting a film.

The Film Commission said these measures are aggregate of official guidelines from authorities applying to workplaces, building sites, the food service sector, hairdressers, and private individuals, which have been practically applied to film sets.

PREREQUISITE RULES
• All government health alert and public protocols restrictions must be adhered to, including: Movement, Social distancing restrictions, wearing masks, Sanitizing vehicles, equipment, cutlery, etc..
• All crew and talent, must provide the production company producer (prior to the shoot date) a non-disclosure agreement outlining their travel throughout the previous four-week period.
• All crew and talent must provide to the production company producer (prior to the shoot date) with a Health Declaration, outlining any contact with someone who has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
• Any crew who have traveled to high risk countries or have been in contact with an individual with COVID-19 during that four-week period must not participate on the shoot.
• Any shoot attendee who feels unwell prior to the shoot, must contact the production company for replacement.

ON SET BEHAVIOR
• A system should be utilized to limit numbers on set by the production company.
• All shoot attendees must undergo temperature checks by the on-set nurse, or a designated crew member, twice a day – morning and after lunch.
• Crew to be issued an identifier once they pass temperature.
screening – for instance wearing of a green sticker for clear screening identification.
• Any person with a temperature exceeding 37 degrees.
Celsius, is considered feverish and must be removed from set
• Any shoot attendee who feels unwell during the course of the shoot must immediately report to the producer of the production company.
• Be respectful of people’s personal space and avoid hugging, touching or handshakes.
• All crew to wear face masks throughout the course of shoots – to be provided by production company.
• Make-up artists, hair stylist, wardrobe must wear eye protection due to close proximity to talent.
• Where possible, talent should undertake their own make-up “minor touch ups” throughout shooting, instead of the make-up artist, to avoid contact with talent’s perspiration.
• Catering departments to consider disposable cups and utensils for meals and tea breaks.
• Water bottles must be labelled for each crew to avoid cross contamination and only one bottle used by each shoot attendee throughout the course of the shoot.
• Camera to be two meters away from talent at all times.
• All equipment must be sanitized daily, before and after each shoot.

ON SET HYGIENE
• Hand washing and and bacterial solutions to be placed on set and used throughout the shoot by all crew and talent.
• When shooting in studio, studios must have undertaken a ‘deep clean’ before and after each shoot. Production companies must obtain written validation from studios prior to pre-light or shoot.
• Cleaning must be undertaken throughout the shoot day especially in common areas such as wardrobe and make-up rooms.
• Bathrooms must be frequently cleaned throughout the course of the shoot.
• Boom mic’s only (so voice-to-camera scripts should be reviewed), prior to shooting.
• Make-up department to step up cleaning protocols and use single use brushes and applicators. All other equipment must undergo deep cleaning prior and post any shoot.
• Hair extensions must undergo deep cleaning before and after any application.
• Standby props to step up hygiene practices.
• Art department must step up cleaning of props and surfaces throughout the shoot and between takes.
• Catering department must sanitize the hands of cast and crew before meals are provided and enforce the 1 meter social distancing rule at all times.
• Vehicle hire for crew and talent must undergo deep cleaning prior to shoot hire.
• Key crew such as camera department must have ‘pocket’
hand sanitizers to be applied frequently.
• Wardrobe must be certified to have undergone deep cleaning before and after shoots.
• Waste management removal must be carried out frequently, throughout the shoot.
• These guidance messages should be posted on the shoot location in bathrooms, make-up room, wardrobe, etc…

FOREIGN PRODUCTIONS
• The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration and the Namibia Film Commission will reissue film permits and temporary work visas at no cost, until all ports of entry are open.
• Foreign productions are advised to change their production
dates and furnace Namibia Film Commission and Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration with previously approved permits/visas and proof of payment.
• Those who find themselves already in Namibia, whose visas have expired during the State of Emergency, are required to apply for an extension, if they have not completed their production. They must furnish the Commission with proof of current status.
• Those who have completed their productions must apply for a holiday visa extension.

A staff member from the Film Commission will be on set to observe the adherence to the above specified regulations until the situation normalizes.

The Namibia Film Commission will also provide letters of permission to film for ease of business and undertake to assist local productions in meeting hygiene requirements such as masks, sanitizers and temperature gauges. To be considered for this assistance, contact Gideon Kamati @ +264 81379 7531 or info@nfc.na

(IMAGES: Behind the scenes footage of film sets by Namib Film. )

Industry Mourns Actress Anna Louw

Following news of the death of Namibian actress, Anna Louw on 14 August, Namibia’s stage and screen industry took to social media to mourn the actress.

Louw has starred in numerous stage and film productions for over 20 years and won Best Female Actor for her role in OYO’s My Best Interest: Stinky Boy at the 2014 Namibia Theatre and Film Awards.

https://twitter.com/AdrianoVisagie/status/1161659346327166977

Louw’s last film Baxu and The Giants by Florian Schott is set to premiere in September.

Living with depression in the entertainment industry: Abraham Pieters opens up

The long hours and uncompromising demands of the entertainment industry are the main causes of depression and anxiety in artists. It all comes down to the brutality of the entertainment industry; this industry generally strives to under-appreciate its participants.

Many artists reluctantly shake off anxiety or depression by saying “it’s just showbiz”. However, artist’ accounts on their battle with mental illness go a long way; it gives an invisible social acceptance to the general public who wish to seek help and helps to normalise conversations around mental illness.

With hopes that his story will save a life, producer, director and thespian, Abraham Pieters or AB as he is known popularly, talks about his battle with depression and anxiety in this open letter:

RELATED: Abraham Pieters sets sight on E! News, OWN

“I always had a split personality, but never really knew what it was. At school I always made everyone laugh. I would imitate teachers and just be the class clown- from High school to College from College to every work place I’ve worked before. I can remember working in Cape Town on Expresso and Afternoon Express my colleagues literally made me imitate people. People would just assume I’m a funny, happy ball of passion. At home it’s the exact same thing: I am the performer and I make everyone laugh around me.”

“I was laughing with everyone but deep down, there was no laughter. People think depression is sadness, people think depression is crying, people think depression is being quiet. But depression is when we smile but want to cry, it’s when we talk but we want to be quiet, or when we pretend to be happy and we’re not. Depression is not always obvious. You try your utmost best to drown your pain and learn how to swim. Being a clown is my coping mechanism and my shield.”

“I’m in an industry where you are constantly surrounded by people, people who follow my career religiously. However, in reality I have no one to walk with me. When my phone is up and I post something on social media or even on WhatsApp, everything becomes a performance of some sorts. But when my phone is down -the reality kicks in. Being in the entertainment industry you get invites to every single event and with that comes media attention and articles are being written about you and that echoes out to all my family, friends and admires that selling the image that ‘AB’ has an amazing life’ or ‘AB is happy.’ I have many contacts on my two phones – family and friends and acquaintances and they think they know who I am. Truth is, I go through pain almost 90 percent of the time; sometimes I constantly try and hide from the world. I sort of became an expert in being able to mask my sadness with what looks like the ‘ideal’ life. When my career goes a step higher, I tend to go lower internally every time. My inbox is always full but my soul is empty. I look happy from the outside but the reality is that I am struggling with depression and anxiety within. I am in an industry that’s about glitz and glamour but not everything that shines is gold.”

“Don’t be fooled by someones physical appearance and be clouded with what you see on the outside because in reality you don’t know that person. Wherever I go, I always introduce myself, I never assume that people know me.”

“I am struggling with depression. I am not ashamed to say that I struggle with mental illness, especially in the entertainment Industry that comes with so many hypocrites, toxicity and evil and that put awful pressures on a person, creating a void and make us feel a need to succumb. We are losing a generation of young people who do not believe that their voices are worth hearing. We need to share our stories. When I speak about mental health, especially when I’m speaking about mine, whether it is on social media or on my WhatsApp, – there will always be one or two people that have the courage to reply and share their story with me. I always let them know that we are equal. That we both walk our two feet on this Earth. That we’re in this together. And the reason people assume that public figures are perfect human beings is because they are hooked to our physical appearance and to maintain this physical appearance and to be in a world of make believe. The truth is that this world of make believe we create puts so much pressure on us mentally and physically. To maintain a lifestyle and create an expectation of what your life is supposed to be like.”

AB

“Depression doesn’t take away your talents- it just makes them harder to find. I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that is left. I’ve learned not to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel but continuously try to remind myself that I am the light within the tunnel.”

“It is very hard to explain to people who have never known serious depression or anxiety the sheer continuous intensity of it. There is no off switch. I was overwhelmed by something I did not understand – my own brain. It’s beyond hard to communicate to people what exactly is going on in your head, when you yourself don’t understand it. But the more you talk about your depression and anxiety, the more you become aware of the problem you have and not shy away from it but treat it like you would treat any other sickness. And Don’t live up for the approval of others. Hebrews 3:13 gives us some great insight about people. It highlights the fact that when people go through tough things in life, their heart turns away from God. I believe more people have walked away from God because of temptation to sin. They walked way from a relationship with God due to great disappointment. This is why encouraging someone daily is important. The same things that nourish and keep great friendships are the same things that spark and begin new ones. Encouragement is something you should do with whoever is in-front of you right now, to prepare your heart mind and your spirit for new and divine connections. Make a decision today that your going to be a person who looks for daily opportunities to encourage someone. One of the greatest needs of a human heart is to be appreciated. There’s at least one friend you know right now that you’ve gown accustomed to. They’re good at something that has grown normal to you and others around them. They haven’t been appreciated in long time. Take some time today and be intentional. Send them an encouragement text, email or card, brag about them behind their back to someone else. Make them feel like a million bucks, it’s not just good for them but good for you. I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words … positive words … words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free.”

Robin Williams Said: “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

WATCH: 10 Showtunes Guaranteed To Carry You Through The Day

The right music can make all the difference when you’re trying to be productive. What better way is ever there to get you pumped up than listening to tunes from the world’s best musicals? With that in mind, I’ve compiled the ultimate playlist to keep your day as driven as possible!

In no particular order, here are 10 of just some of the best tunes from stage and screen:

1. Defying Gravity – Wicked The Musical

2. Seasons of Love – Rent

3. Another Day of Sun – La La Land

4. Wait For It – Hamilton

5. Willkommen – Cabaret

6. This Is Me –  The Greatest Showman

7. Miss Baltimore crabs – Hairspray

8. Land Of Lola – Kinky Boots

9. Dancing Queen – Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

10. Night wish – The Phantom Of The Opera

 

Bonus Track – just because we are ALL starstruck by Lin-Manuel Miranda!

You’re Welcome – Moana (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jordan Fisher version)

Windhoek International Dance Festival Comes September 2018

(featured Image: Anchen Wille Dance Academy Dancers Namibia by Joanne Brand)

The second season of the Windhoek International Dance Festival (WIDF) will expose the creativity in dance while also creating an opportunity for dancers to showcase their skill. This bi-annual event is entitled INTER.ACT.S which focuses on bringing different artists together in order to create dance work in unconventional spaces.

Taking place at Windhoek’s College of the Arts, 41 Fidel Castro St, from 26-29 September 2018, the festival will feature a potpourri of local and international dance artists such as Cocoon Dance Company (Germany), Themba Mbuli (SA),Sven-Eric Müller (SA/Nam). Other works that will be included are; Da-mâi Dance Ensemble, Moon Goddess Dance Studios, Ombetja Yehinga Organization (OYO), Anchen Wille Dance Academy Dancers, Dantagos Dance, Golden, Khadijah, Nesindano Namises, H2E Dance Studio, First Rain Dance Theatre, BTM Squared, Enchantè, Genesis, Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre, Windhoek’s Finest Dance Crew, Old Location Cultural Group and Makgona Ngwao.

COCOON Dance Company - Germany

Below is a selection of activities that dance enthusiasts and art lovers can look forward to:

Lab-based Platform

Under the theme “Inter-Acts”, the festival will kick off with a lab based platform where artists re-imagine movement and the relationship between the audience and the performer facilitated by Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja. These process based pieces will be showcased throughout 26- 29 September 2018 from 19h00, free of charge.

Workshops

The festival will include a series of workshops ranging from contemporary, creative dance, lyrical hip hop, traditional dance, Afro-fusion and Afro-pop. These workshops will be held at the College of the Arts studios and will be facilitated by local and international dancers/choreographers and dance teachers. Registration and payments for these workshops will be done at the College of the Arts, 41 Fidel Castro Street on or before the day of the workshops. Participants can look forward to a free class if they book for three workshops.

Boom Box Stage

The “Boom Box” stage on the pedestrian route of Fidel Castro, Saturday 29 September, will see dancers from different dance styles perform from 6-7pm. This platform is free to the public.

Main Stage

This platform entitled ‘Courtyard’ at the College of the Arts will showcase a diversity of genres, including traditional Damara-Nama, Setswana, Pantsula, Hip-hop, Contemporary and Belly dance by international acts, celebrated local dance companies as well as emerging dance performers. This will take place on 26, 27 and 28 September, from 19h00 to 21h00. Tickets are going for N$100 in advance and N$120 at the gate. In advance tickets are available at the College of the Arts.

Themba Mbuli - SA

The festival is made possible through partnerships with the National Arts Council of Namibia, FirstRand Namibia, Goethe-Institute, The National Theater of Namibia, Turipamwe Design and The Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Follow the festival on Facebook here. Official hashtags are #WIDF18 #whkdancefest18

 

 

[Featured] #DragDay: 10 Legendary RuPaul’s Drag Race Lip Syncs!

Hello, Hello, Hello! It’s International Drag Day!

Drag is becoming more and more visible and accepted, and from my POV, mainly by the contribution of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has snatched 12 nominations for this year’s Emmy Awards.

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Drag Race has already snatched four Emmy wins in the past, with the mastermind behind the show, RuPaul Charles, taking home two consecutive trophies for outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program.

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Lip syncing in drag is an important, but not limiting, part of the art form that is Drag, which is why I have listed my Top 10 RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars lip syncs of all time.

Now, in no particular order, Here is some Drag Race GOLD:

1. Shangela vs. Trixie – Freaky Money

2. Monét X Change vs. Dusty Ray Bottoms – Pound The Alarm

3. Bob The Drag Queen vs Derrick Barry- You Make Me Feel

4. Alyssa Edwards vs Tatianna – Shut Up And Drive

5. Kalorie Karbdashian Williams vs Vanessa Vanjie Mateo – Ain’t No Other Man

6. Vivacious vs Kelly Mantle – Express Yourself

7. BenDeLaCreme vs BeBe Zahara Bennet – Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here

8. Raven VS Jujubee – Dancing On My Own

9. Sasha Velour vs. Shea Couleé  – So Emotional

10. Ginger Minj & Sasha Belle vs Jaidynn Diore Fierce & Tempest DuJour – Think We’re Alone Now

DRAG ON!

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