Namibian feature film, #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm just participated in its first international film festival and took home the best Narrative Feature award.
After the crime-thriller won the award at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival, the cast and crew shared their excitement saying that this is a great time for Namibian cinema.
The 11th edition of the annual Silicon Valley African Film Festival took place online from October 9 – 11, 2020.
Director Tim Huebschle said the win is huge honour and a boost of confidence, especially coming at a time when the world is turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The entire team behind the movie is beaming with joy and as you can imagine that is priceless in a time where we’re still navigating the uncertainty of a global pandemic,” Huebschle said.
Armas Shivute, who plays sidekick detective Shivute in the film, said being part of a film of its caliber was a notable experience in itself, adding that he was not surprised that the film won an international award because it was well written, produced, directed and appeals to everyone.
He adds Huebschle and producer David Benade put a massive team of professionals together to put flesh on the skeleton they sketched.
“I am excited for everyone who was part of the magic,” Shivute said.
Film editor Haiko Boldt said they had a lot of fun making the movie, which is reflected through the appreciation of others.
“I am looking forward to more magnificent Namibian films to come” Boldt said.
Reacting to the win, Pieter Greeff, who took on his first acting role as #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm‘s sadistic Piet Potgieter said the win is beyond his wildest expectations.
“It seems if you keep dreaming and work hard by putting yourself out there dreams do come true. I want to thank Tim Huebschle for giving this fresh green wannabe actor the opportunity and the role of a lifetime,” Greeff said.
Huebschle applauded Joel Haikali’s film Invisibles which won award for best Short Narrative at the same festival, saying that this shows “stories from our land matter to audiences around the world. It’s a great time for Namibian cinema.”
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm premiered at Namibian cinemas in October 2019.
After the initial theatrical release of award-winning Namibian feature film The White Line was halted earlier this year due to coronavirus restrictions, producers of the film announced its premiere in Windhoek cinemas on 13 November 2020.
The historical romance is set in 1963 soon after the 1959 Old Location uprising, and is directed by Desiree Kahikopo-Meiffret, written by Micheal Pulse starring Girley Charlene Jazama, Jan-Barend Scheepers, Sunet Van Wyk, Mervin Uahupirapi, Charl Botha, Muhindua Kaura, Vanessa Kamatoto, Joalette de Villiers, Hazel Hinda and Desmond Katamila, with an all Namibian crew.
The White Line had its international premiere at the 40th Durban International Film Festival in July 2019 and went on to screen at a host of international film festivals, including; Joburg Film Festival, Rwanda Film Festival, Hilton Arts Festival, Africa Venezuela Film Festival and New York African Diaspora International Film Festival, New African Film Festival in Washington DC and at the 9th Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt where it received a special jury mention for direction. In 2020, the film screened at Africlap African Film festival in Toulouse France and won the Kilimanjaro award for Best Feature Film. It was invited by the German-Namibian Society in Frankfurt to screen at their annual cultural event in the same year.
The film also won Best Script, Newcomer Director and the Audience Choice Award at the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards. At the 7th African Emerging Filmmakers Awards it won Best Feature Film and Best Cinematographer for Laurent Hesemans.
Girley Jazama, who plays the lead role of Sylvia, has been nominated for Best Actress of Southern Africa at the 2020 Sotigui Awards scheduled to take place later this year in Burkina Faso. She will also be competing for the Sotigui of the African Public award which requires the public to vote for her.
“The film would not have been possible without the generous support of the Namibia Film Commission. We would also like to thank Africa Development Solutions Group, Media Solutions, Mamokobo Video & Research, Air Namibia, Saw Media House, Paragon Advertising, Multichoice Namibia, Kaoko Travel & Tours, iWits and Van Der Merwe Greeff Andima Inc for their contribution,” said the filmmakers.
Ticket sales will be announced on The White Line social media pages as well as Ster-Kinekor Namibia’s social media pages. The film will premiere at Ster-Kinekor Grove Mall and Maerua Mall.
Florian Schott’s short film Baxu and the Giants made its Netflix debut on 30 September 2020, which means every Namibian with a Netflix account and good internet connection finally has the opportunity to see the much celebrated film.
Baxu and the Giants is already a favourite with international festivalgoers and curators, since it’s premiere on the streaming service, it has been widely received by Namibian audiences who took to Twitter to share their excitement.
Here are some of the best reactions to Baxu and the Giants‘ Netflix premiere:
#BAXUANDTHEGIANTS was an experience. I loved it. I'm inspired all over again ❤ Thank you to everyone that was involved in creating this film. & s/o to the baby girl for carrying us through the journey so seamlessly
The star of the Namibian feature film The White Line (2019), Girley Jazama was nominated at the Sotigui Awards 2020 in the Best Actor Southern Africa category.
She shares the nomination with South Africa’s Bongile Mantsai (Knuckle City, 2019) and Malawi’s Tapiwa Gwaza (The Road To Sunrise, 2017).
Jazama’s performance in the apartheid-themed film impressed audiences and festival curators alike earning her acclaim and the Best Female Actress nomination the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards.
“I am honoured to be nominated alongside the other two brilliant actors in my category. The nomination is a win for The White Line and Namibia because we as an industry are being recognised by our peers in the industry,” Jazama says on the nomination.
Last year, actor Adriano Visagie won the Best Actor Southern Africa award at the Sotigui Awards, becoming the first Namibian to be nominated and win at the award show.
The fifth edition of the Sotigui Awards will take place from November 12 to 14, 2020 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Desiree Kahikopo’s feature film, The White Line (2019) continues taking Namibian cinema to new heights, having just recently scooped the Kilimandjaro Award for Best Feature Film at the 7th edition of the Africlap Festival held in France from 23 to 30 August 2020.
The Kilimandjaro Award for Best Feature Film is one of the two main prizes the festival has, alongside the Kilimanjaro for Best feature documentary and various other prizes. Festival Africlap is organized by Africlap, a non-profit association whose objective is to expose African cinema in Toulouse, France and surrounding territories.
Kahikopo says awards add certain credibility to the film and helps push the film further with the potential buyers and draws attention to her as Director/Producer, her future projects and the hard work of the entire cast and crew.
“Seeing our story having touched somebody enough for it to receive an award especially knowing what we went through telling it- all the blood, sweat and tears- is amazing and I thank Jesus for it,” she says.
Kahikopo says she hopes the international recognition earned by The White Line as a Namibian film will continue to create a shift in the quality of Namibian cinema and draw interest to private investors and corporations, not just in Namibia but internationally and equally build audiences.
“I hope this will continue to lay the new ground for building this industry to a space that we can all be proud off and the industry becoming self-sustaining,” Kahikopo says.
The White Line has screened at various international festivals and consequently earned accolades locally and internationally. The film is yet to have a Namibian premiere.
Two young Namibian’s Bryan Nakambonde and Jorg Walter produced a docuseries titled Pandemic: Covid-19 in Africa for Mindset TV, Channel 319 on DStv.
The first episode of the documentary will air on 28 August at 15h30. The docuseries covers a range of topics over 4 planned episodes with research and interviews gathered over 3 months, with the help of 20+ students from 17 countries around the world, all working remotely.
According to the executive producers, Nakambonde and Jorg (who co-founded the producing organization Umwe Africa), the big idea behind the series is to give young people information that will allow them to understand, contextualize, and compare their country’s situation relating to the pandemic.
Nakambonde says on 18 March, his university made a wise but shocking decision to send all students home. After support from the University and generous friends, he arrived in back in Namibia three days later, on Namibia’s Independence Day.
“To my surprise (despite the unequivocal warning by the pilot) all passengers were transported directly to a quarantine facility. Making me part of the first group to be quarantined in Namibia,” he recalls in a Facebook post. “The quarantine had many pros and cons, but the company I had made it an unforgettable experience! Given my work with Umwe, it was a disguised learning curve on how the media works.”
The two started the project on 11 May, with personal funds and are currently seeking more funds to carry out the project successfully. To support them, visit Umwe Africa.
Episode 1: How COVID-19 Spread to Africa – This episode explores the journey of the pandemic from Wuhan to the first African countries to report cases. And how South Africa became the epicenter.
Episode 2: Lockdown and Law Enforcement – This episode explores social issues such as income, food security, police brutality, SGBV, and housing which have become worse or exist uniquely due to communities living under lockdown regulations and increased law enforcement involvement in communities.
Episode 3: Health care systems: This episode looks at what is needed to navigate a pandemic – An introduction to health care systems, their shape in Africa, and how they’re coping with the pandemic.
Episode 4: How COVID-19 is impacting Higher-Education in South Africa and Ghana – As an organization focused on making current affairs easier to consume for young people, they explore how the pandemic has impacted the education of young people through interviews with students and universities about the changes, solutions, and challenges.
Broadcasting and airing
Episodes will premier every 3 weeks after 28 August on Fridays at 15h30 CAT Mindset TV. Channel 319 on DSTV, Channel 309 StarSat, Channel 134 OpenView.
Florian Schott’s Baxu and the Giants is the first Namibian film to soon start showing on the popular streaming service, Netflix.
The 29-minute long film will be available on the streaming service from 30 September 2020.
According to Scott, the Netflix deal came about through one of the Film Festivals Baxu and the Giants took part in. Particularly the RapidLion International Film Festival hosted in March in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Apart from earning the Best Humanitarian Film nomination at the festival, Baxu and the Giants impressed one particular sales agent as well.
“I attended the festival with my wife and Production Coordinator Cherlien Schott and Karl Ehlers, one of our composers. At the festival, I had a meeting with a South African Sales Agent who watched Baxu and the Giants and as we stayed in touch they heard that Netflix was looking for African Shorts and that they were apparently interested in Baxu and the Giants,” Schott says.
Schott says while delivering the film to Netflix’s technical specs took a bit of time, they are “super happy that it all came together and our film will be available on Netflix soon.”
“Of course, it’s a huge honour to be the director of the first Namibian film on Netflix but the congratulations really need to go out to the whole Crew, especially Girley Jazama and Andrew Botelle, and of course our star Camilla Jo-Ann Daries,” Schott says.
Jo-Ann Daries won the Best Female Actress Award for depicting the 10-year old Baxu at the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards 2019. Equally, the film itself is loved by local and international audiences, having received numerous accolades here and overseas.
“I am confident that this is just the first of many Namibian productions on Netflix,” Schott adds. “And a huge opportunity for Namibian filmmakers to showcase their films around the world.”
On 27 August 2020, the first official soundtrack of Baxu and the Giants was released to the public. The beautiful single ‘Sada Di Tama Hâ’ by Lize Ehlers, Cherlien Schott, Karl Ehlers (LOFT) and Imms Nicolau feat. Camilla Jo-Ann Daries comes with an awesome video that was directed by Girley Jazama, who co-wrote the script of Baxu and the Giants. ‘Sada Di Tama Hâ’ directly translates to ‘not ours’ in Khoekhoegowab.
“As we got multiple requests to release the music from the film we’ll do that in the coming days as well,” the director says.
Invisibles (2019), Joel Haikali’s arthouse short film is proving popular at international film festivals, having just recently selected to screen at the Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival in Brazil, which opened on the August 20 and will close on August 30 2020.
The 16-minute film follows two individuals feeling irrelevant to the world who run into each other at a low point in their lives. Instead of drowning together, they go on a journey to self-love and freedom. By travelling the majestic Namibian outback, the landscape of the psyche of a post-Apartheid nation and theirs, they find their place.
The film won the Best Cinematography award at the Namibia Theatre & Film Awards 2019 and selected to screen at various international festivals including Quibdo Africa Film Festival in Colombia; the Africlap Film Festival in Toulouse, France; the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA; Mashariki African Film Festival in Rwanda; Africa Film Festival Cologne in Germany and Le Festival cinémas d’Afrique –Lausanne, Switzerland.
Haikali says with Invisbles, he challenged his creative boundaries and tested his confidence in intuition.
The writer and director says the process helped him discharge his creative inhibitions, and to do what he often might have suppressed creatively- being free with filmmaking.
“I also wanted to use what is at my disposal such as our unique locations, diverse skillsets and myself in a very intimate way by directing the creative process and also being one of the leading actors. It is personal and political at the same time while allowing space for interpretation. In the end it’s also about re-presentation of image and about taking that in our own hands. Often ‘the world’ and that includes ourselves on the continent doesn’t expect certain images from Africa and I have been hungry to add to the alternative visions of what we see, experience and interpret,” he says.
The Joe Vision Production film stars Salmi Nambinga, Kaudife Haikali, Tulimelila Shityuwete, Vilho Nuumbala, and Cecil Moller.
Director: Philippe Talavera Screenplay: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes Cast: Adrino Visagie, Simon Hanga, Chanwill Vries, Elize de Wee, Mikiros Garoes, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Felicity Celento, Albertina Hainane, Foreversun Haiduwah, Lukas Paulus
Apart from unapologetically taking male same-sex relationships to the silver screen, Philippe Talavera’s Kapana shows its worth by not deriding HIV. In so many ways the film is an intimate, charming queer-themed romantic drama which offers a fresh take on HIV/AIDS in the queer community.
Being another film from the activist group, Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), Kapana can thrust HIV/AIDS onto the Namibian silver screen with its message of acceptance and love. Not problematic in delivering its message, the film was crafted with a compelling screenplay which helps make this a non-generic story that engages its audiences on a personal level.
Kapana explores the love story between two Namibians who come from different walks of life. Award-winning actor Adriano Visagie stars in the film as George, an HIV positive gay man who falls in love with Simeon (Simon Hanga), a closeted Kapana (grilled beef strips) vendor. The film deserves applause for not relying on the popular and often true trope of homophobic, unsupportive family and friends. George, being an openly gay man receives great support and love from his family as seen through his mother (Felicity Celento), aunt (Elize de Wee), brother (Chanwill Vries) and coworkers played by Mikiros Garoes and Foreversun Haiduwah. The relationships between these friends and family offer a fresh and much-needed narrative on same-sex relationship, especially in Namibia which still criminalizes the sexual relationships between two men under the outdated sodomy law.
Kapana is a win for director Talavera but most importantly because of his collaborative take on this film. He employed Senga Brockerhoff and Mikiros Garoes to craft the storyline and using one of the country’s best cinematographerS (Kit Hoffman) and film editors (Haiko Boldt) to put together the film. This film is in so many ways much better than the director’s 2018 film, Salute! and signals a lot of growth in the director’s film career.
While the film was put together impressively and its message communicated very smoothly, I can however not say the same about the performances which were stale and forced. This film had the potential of being very emotional and gripping, however, that aspect fell flat due to the lacklustre performances which I suppose come from the film requiring so much vulnerability that almost all actors just couldn’t pull off. ‘Fake acting’ and overacting does nothing but ruin films and Kapana had an abundance of this. Alas, it was refreshing to see newcomer actors Hanga and Vries give such stunning performances at their first go and equally refreshing to see the versatile side of de Wee.
But Kapana is worthy of your time and will give you a different look into queer relationships, relationships with someone living with HIV while highlighting the power of love.
If you want to see Kapana, there are still a couple of screenings at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek on 14 ,15 & 18 August 2020. Time:18:00. Price: N$60.00.
The Durban FilmMart Institute announced the participants of the 13th edition of Talents Durban, within the official 11th Durban FilmMart virtual edition, which takes place from 4 to 13 September.
Talents Durban is a development programme presented in cooperation with Berlinale Talents, an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, made up of workshops and seminars for African filmmakers, delivered by film industry professionals and academics.
This year, Talents Durban introduces Francophone projects from the African diaspora as it continues to inspire a sense of community on the continent by representing many languages and cultures. After a rigorous adjudication process, 26 projects and 6 film critics from 19 countries across the continent made the final cut with 6 fiction features, 3 TV/web series, 3 animations, 6 documentaries, 6 fiction shorts films, and 6 film critics have been selected.
In addition to these 32 Talents, 2019 alumnus Talents award-winner, Xola Mteto will present his project Twelve Pangas along with 30 other projects at the DFM’s Finance Forum.
Official 2020 Talents Durban Participants & Projects
Fiction Feature Selection: 10.628 (Tunisia) Director: Issam Bouguerra Behind High Walls (South Africa) Director: Jonathan Kyriakou Between Worlds (Uganda) Screenwriter: Adong Judith Extravagant Ways to Say Goodbye (South Africa) Screenwriter: Liese Kuhn Ndi & Friends (Cameroon) Director: Nkuh Paul Samba Objective Fespaco (Ivory Coast) Director: Yoan Sea Douin Guelaté Casimir
Fiction Shorts Selection: Happiness (Morocco) Director: Aymen El Hankouri Kidawa (Tanzania) Director: Florence Mkinga Paulina (South Africa) Screenwriter: Hlumela Matika Our Identity (Benin) Director: Dossou Gildas The Last Scar (Cameroon) Director: Stella Tchuisse The Robot’s Last Job (South Africa) Screenwriter: Neo Sibiya
Documentary Selection: Black People Don’t Get Depressed (South Africa) Director: Sara Chitambo I might not normally share this (Egypt) Director: Noura Sharaf No winners in war (Botswana) Director: Tricia Laone Sello Nzonzing (Democratic Republic of Congo) Director: Moimi Wezam To Be Loved (Togo) Director: Palakiyem Kpatchaa Their Choir (Morocco) Director: Zineb Chafchaouni The Kingdom of Masindi (South Africa) Director: Dowelani Edward Nenzhelele
Animation Selection: The Fam (South Africa) Director: Kabelo Maaka The Elected (Togo) Director: Kossi Messan Akoda Lwanda Magere (Kenya) Director: Mark Kinuthia
TV & Web Series Selection: The Oath (South Africa) Director: Johannes Mzwandile Spirit Dilema (Kenya) Screenwriter: Voline Ogutu Leviathan (Cape Verde) Director: Nuno Pereira Inside (Rwanda) Screenwriter: Denis Valery Ndayishimiye
Talent Press (Film Critic / Journalist) Selection: Amarachukwu Iwuala (Nigeria) Donald Matthys (Namibia) Elinoro Véronique Rajaonah (Madagascar) Mohamed Moawad (Egypt) Taryn Joffe (South Africa) Tsakane Shikwambana (South Africa)
The 13th edition Talents Durban, takes on the overarching DFM theme of ‘Brave New Cinema’ as African film professionals gather to connect, benchmark, share ideas, collaborate, pitch, learn and market their Pan-African work in a global context.
“This year, we are excited that going virtual has meant we are able to welcome more projects from across the continent with a programme that will be delivered in two additional African languages; French and Portuguese,” says Head of the DFM Toni Monty. “This means increased opportunities for African filmmakers to connect across the post colonial divides and create new robust synergies and networks.”
The Talents will participate in several project-oriented, hands-on skills development programmes. Practical professional development sessions within Talents Durban include Story Junction sessions in which they present their projects, masterclasses, and one-on-one mentorships. Mentors this year for projects are: Moussa Sene Absa,Trish Malone, Jihan El-Tahri , Nadine Cloete, Kethiwe Ngcobo, Isaac Mogajane, Tracey-Lee Rainers, Newton Aduaka and for the film critics, this year’s mentors include Wilfred Okiche and Djia Mambu.
In addition, the Talents will have access to the various DFM sessions that include webinars, and panel discussions with renowned industry filmmakers.Talents Durban is an initiative of the Durban FilmMart Institute in cooperation with Berlinale Talents, with support from the Durban Film Office. Talents Durban is one of 7 Talents International Programmes formed by Berlinale Talents in Africa and around the world including Talents Beirut in Lebanon, Talents Buenos Aires in Argentina, Talents Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Talents Tokyo in Japan, Talents Guadalajara in Mexico and Talent Press Rio.
Kukuri is an Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) film dealing with the issue of child marriages in the rural parts of Namibia featuring a largely inexperienced cast. The actors, except George Antonio (Salute!), were first-time performers and were sourced and trained on film location in the Kavango region.
This is probably why the film after its initial 2018 release is only picking up the interest of festivals and award shows this year. A screening (or release) of the film was hosted in Windhoek earlier this year and since then the film has been getting a lot of attention.
Kukuri has been nominated at the 7th Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA7) for Best Movie Southern Africa, selected to screen at the 2020 Garden Route International Film Festival (GRIFF) in South Africa and now most recently it was announced that the film will be screened at the Ananse Cinema International Film Festival in Ghana.
For a film shot in a community deep in a remote village, using the languages and starring its locals, Kukuri is doing pretty well. First-time performer Hanty Kashongo as the girl forced to grow up quick (Kukuri) gave an exceptional performance. Antonio, Nangana Mushavanga, Diyanni Longwani, Renah Xuesom and Mbango Munyima complemented the film well too.
Director and Producer of Kukuri, Philippe Talavera is profoundly proud of his film, saying if the message delivered in his film helps prevent one girl from getting married off at an early age, the film was worth it.
“Child marriage does not happen only in Namibia, but in several countries on the African continent. Kukuri is therefore relevant in South Africa, Ghana, and other countries too. The practice must end. We are in the 21st century so let us be in the 21st century and let some harmful cultural practices become things of the past,” Talavera says.
Kapana, director and producer Philippe Talavera’s half-length drama exploring themes of love, secrecy, fears and commitment will have its official premiere on 6 August at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek.
The LGBT-themed film follows a love story between an insurance broker and a meat (kapana) vendor and aims to raise awareness on social issues like HIV/AIDS- as is with most Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO)-produced work.
Kapana was written for the screen by Senga Brockerhoff (Encore) and Mikiros Garoes (The Date) and stars Adriano Visagie, Simon Hanga, Mikiros Garoes, Felicity Celento (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Elize de Wee (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Foreversun Haiduwah (The Third Will), Albertina Hainane (The Third Will), Jeremiah Jeremiah (Salute!), Lukas Paulus, and Chanwill Vries.
The Director of photography is Kit Hoffmann, with Post Production done by Wojtek Majewski and Editing by Haiko Boldt.
This week, the film gave us a glimpse into the film with a stunning trailer. The trailer comes with an official soundtrack by Micheal Pulse and Ponti Dikuua.
Philippe Talavera’s Kukuri has been selected as part of the Garden Route International Film Festival (GRIFF) 2020 in South Africa. Kukuri was previously nominated as in the Best Film: Southern Africa category at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award 2020.
GRIFF is an independent International Film Festival offering quality films across a number of genres and offering pure entertainment for filmgoers. It is a permanent feature on the Knysna events calendar for visiting professionals, amateurs, local, national and international film enthusiasts and makers.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival converted to a two-part festival: Virtual Online Festival 21st September 2020 to 11th October 2020 and physical screenings in towns in the Garden Route as Drive In Cinemas to adhere to social distancing measures. Town visited are Calitzdorp George, Knysna, Ladismith, mosel Bay, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, Riversdale and Sedgefield. The festival still aims at allowing networking, events and activities to maximise selected films exposure on a virtual platform.
Kukuri follows a young girl from the Kavango region who dreams of becoming a lawyer. Her dreams get shattered when her grand-mother starts plotting to get her married to the local brick-layer.
The film, shot on location in the Kavango region, is in the local languages, with English subtitles. It stars George Antonio (Salute!) and a local cast led by Hanty Kashongo as Kukuri, Nangana Mushavanga, Diyanni Longwani, Renah Xuesom and Mbango Munyima.
It was produced and directed by Philippe Talavera, with Bernd Curshmann as director of photography, Kauna Hoabeb as sound, Nyandee Mbarandongo as first assistant director and rehearsals director and Una Hoebel as make up and special effects. Award winner Haiko Boldt did the editing and Pondi Dikuua produced the sound track.
Talavera said he is thrilled that his film which tackles the issue of child marriages will now be presented at this prestigious festival in neighboring South Africa.
“I hope Kukuri will keep giving hope to girls who find themselves trapped in such situations,” he says.
Directed by Oshoveli Shipoh and written by Aina Kwedi, Protecting Nelao follows film follows a recovered COVID19 patient (KC Swaartbooi) who forced to move into a safe house prepared by her husband (LC Muenjo), in order to protect her from death threats by her community as the fear of re-infection is rife.
The film seems like it will be an interesting take on the impact of Covid-19 and the stigma surrounding it, plus the cinematography looks good!
Director: Jenny Kandenge Screenplay: Jenny Kandenge Cast: Girley Jazama, Bret Kamwi, Edo Dice, Roya Diehl, Bica Martin
Think of the Saw franchise. But low budget and only 17 minutes in length. That’s The Game.
Although she is emerging in film, I have seen Jenny Kandenge deliver with her stage productions. Deliver as in she always find a way to rope one into her storytelling. When I first saw the trailer of The Game, however, I was not impressed. But in this short film, Kandenge managed to find a way for me to put a cork in it.
The Game follows Ndanki (Girley Jazama) and Nico (Bret Kamwi) as they find themselves locked in a room with two strangers Esme (Roya Diehl) and Greg (Edo Dice). Nobody knows how they got there, all they know is to leave, they have to play the game.
The film plays on the a-soul-for-your-freedom trope which forces its characters to panic and make tough decisions, or a decision for that matter. Locked in a small room, with a note, a clock, a surveillance camera and a gun, the characters give performances which forces one of them to sacrifice himself for the freedom of the others. At surveillance we meet Frankie (Bica Martin), which reveals the twist, and where the film also introduces a Get Out type of play- although to a lesser degree.
While the storyline doesn’t offer anything new, it is refreshing to see a Namibian thriller that is stitched well together with a surprisingly satisfying ending. The Game is worthy for the dialogue you can digest, the sadistic ending and cast performances- especially by Jazama.
The film doesn’t have any gore, which further differentiates it from the Saw movies. The Game is a fun thrill ride, especially since it was produced with a very low budget and shot in just 16 hours just before the entire country went on Covid-19 lockdown.
This is a game.
The Game is produced by Pegasus Entertainment Productions with funding from Goethe Institute Namibia and the Namibian Film Commission.
Oshoveli Shipoh, the award-winning director of the 2019 feature film, Hairareb is back with another film project which follows a recovered COVID-19 patient forced to move into a safe house prepared by her husband in order to protect her from death threats by her community as the fear re-infection is rife.
The film, Protecting Nelao is the sequel to the director’s 2015 film Looking For Nelao.
Protecting Nelao stars KC Swaartbooi, LC Muenjo, Ronald Mutekela and Michael Keib and was shot in real time with only one take, meaning it is basically a long uninterrupted/uncut sequence.
“I did this specifically to give the audience an immersive experience,” Shipoh explains the filming style.
The 30 Minute Romantic-Thriller produced by SteetLeaderCreative in collaboration with Reggie Films and Sneefel Media will have its first trailer released on 10 July 2020.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
(IMAGES: Behind the scenes footage of film sets by Namib Film. )
Coronavirus lockdown has all of us feeling blue, some of us probably even realized being home all the time is not as fun as we’d imagined. Even despite having watched so many Hollywood/international movies/series during these few days, you still yearn for something different, something more ‘Namibian’- I know I do.
Since the spread of the Coronavirus to Namibia, local filmmakers have been making their films publicly available for free online viewing.
Here are some new and old Namibian films you can watch online while in hibernation:
“Salute!” (2018), dir. Philippe Talavera
“Baxu and The Giants” (2019), dir. Florian Schott
“Untitled – The Web Series” (2019), dir. Lavinia Kapewasha
You can watch the entire 10-episode first season of Untiled here.
“Another Sunny Day” (2017), dir. Tim Huebschle
“Sold Out” (2017), dir. Leon Mubiana
“Genesis” (2019), dir. Laimi Fillimon
“Careful” (2019), dir. Skrypt
“Tick-Tock” (2018), dir. Glen-Nora Tjipura and Ndakalako Shilongo
These are just some of the films I actually got around to watching/rewatched. To see the more, check out Lockdown Cinema Namibia on Facebook. Also, there’s a 10-minute short called Project: Black Love I read about in The Namibian and it is visually beautiful!
Multiple award-winning Namibian short film Baxu and the Giants, telling the story of how Rhino poaching triggers social change in rural Namibia, will be available globally to stream and download for free starting 20 March 2020.
The 29-minute film follows Baxu, a 9-year old girl who is in touch with nature and tradition but toughened by life in poverty, lives with her older brother Khata and an alcoholic grandmother in a village in Damaraland, Namibia.
Over the last six months, Baxu and the Giants screened in ten countries around the world, at over 20 Film Festivals and won multiple international awards, including the Award for Best Foreign Narrative at the San Francisco Independent Short Film Festival, three Namibian Theatre- and Film Awards (including Best Female Actor for 10-year-old Camilla Jo-Ann Daries), two international Cinematography Awards and two awards at the Knysna Film Festival in South Africa.
Just in the last few weeks, director Florian Schott presented the film to over 500 school children in Los Angeles as part of the Pan African Film Festival and at the RapidLion Film Festival in Johannesburg, where the film was also nominated for ‘Best Humanitarian Film’.
In addition to that, the Legal Assistance started showing the film to thousands of learners all across Namibia and MaMoKoBo Video & Research is busy bringing the film to all corners of Namibia via mobile screenings, in partnership with the Save the Rhino Trust and the Ministry of Environment & Tourism.
Baxu and the Giants will be available to stream on the official website as well as on YouTube and Vimeo.
The film is produced by Andrew Botelle (The Power Stone, Born in Etosha), directed and co/written by Schott (Katutura) and co-produced/co-written by Girley Jazama (The White Line).
Salute!, one of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO)’s DVDs, is among January’s winners at the Five Continent International Film Festival, getting Best Half Length Film as well as a Special Mentions in a Feature Film for Odile Gertze and Adriano Visagie and another Special Mention for a Supporting Actor in a Feature Film for Monray Garoeb.
The Five Continent International Film Festival is an online Film Festival. Every month some films are entered and are in competition. In January, the Best Half Length Film section saw 16 films, from India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, etc.
The film follows the story of Carlito (Adriano Visagie) sentenced to five years in jail for fraud at the time his girlfriend (Odile Gertze) is pregnant. In jail, he has to find his way and learns very fast that protection is important but comes at a price. His encounter with the General (Monray Garoeb) and his team will change his life forever.
Speaking on the creation of Salute!, director and producer Philippe Talavera says the film’s script was workshopped with inmates and actors were trained by ex-inmates with some inmates taking part as extras.
“Adriano and Monray had to spend seven days in jail – not sleeping there but spending more than 10 hours per day with the crew in one of Windhoek Correctional Facility’s units. It was extremely hard work and required a huge motivation from the cast. The fact that they are finally recognised – first with Adriano’s win as Best Actor Southern Africa at the Sotigui Awards in Burkina Faso and now with those three special mentions – is hugely rewarding for us all,” Talavera says.
The news came at the time OYO’s other DVD, Kukuri has been nominated as Best Movie
Southern Africa at the 7th Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCA) in Nigeria.
“We try our best to develop stories that are addressing current social issues’, says Talavera. “I think people relate to our films because they speak the truth and everybody on set is passionate about the topic.”
With a population of just over 2.54 million and a relatively small film industry, the question regarding financial success seems pretty obvious. But let’s first look at some stuff.
The domestic film industry is slowly growing from strength to strength as there is an improvement in produced content, narratives as well as improved production quality and standards. New creative and innovative players penetrating the film market are also on the rise. However, the greatest challenge facing the Namibian film industry is the lack of consistent film funding and corporate/local investor buy-in. In fact, Namibian films, if not self-funded, are majorly funded by the Namibian Film Commission. Some (if not all) of these films have to source additional funding on top of the Commission’s funding to be completed.
In terms of distribution, unfortunately, Namibians don’t really seem to have a theatrical culture, except for when it comes to major Hollywood films. Major or big budget Namibian films do have theatrical runs for a very short time and are mostly attended by industry players, family, and a friend of a friend which in turn leads to straight-to-DVD releases. Local films can’t just play at the cinema every day for weeks on end because of the minimal financial resources and then there is the aspect of not having many cinemas spread across the rest of the country, meaning producers have to host screenings in different towns to actually afford Namibians to see their own films- which in turn comes at great financial costs and while the pace is slowly picking up, it has proven hard to convince corporate Namibia to fund local films. Most films, even those supported by the Film Commission barely make a profit because even when on DVD, not many people actually buy these DVDs.
So, can one make a living off making films in Namibia? Namib Insider! spoke to some of Namibia’s award-winning filmmakers on the possibilities. Here are their insights:
Tim Huebschle- Writer/Producer/Director (‘#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm’, ‘Looking For Iilonga’, ‘Another Sunny Day’,…)
Huebschle on Filmmaking in Namibia…
Filmmaking is all about storytelling. It’s narrative medium and you make use of images, music, sounds and the plot to tell a story. It’s this that drew me into the field when I was 21 years old. Since then the journey has been all about learning to tell better stories within the constraints of the medium. Constraints were and are largely made up of access to funds, access to equipment, the size of the local market and my own capabilities as a storyteller. But – the underlying current that drives each and every project is the passion I have for the medium and the act of storytelling itself. I love being a filmmaker and wouldn’t want to be anything else.
Huebschle on Making Money from Film In Namibia…
You can make a living of making movies in Namibia. There are a couple of realities. First and foremost you have to ask yourself what you want from life. Is it a fancy car and a nice house with loads of financial security. If your answer is yes, then the film industry is probably not for you. Especially in Namibia where the market is not that big, you have to realize that you probably will not ever make that mortgage payment on time, so don’t even apply for that bank loan… But if you’re able to bring in your lifestyle costs at a relatively low level and you keep your monthly overheads to a minimum, then you will be able to sustain yourself. You have to learn to stretch your income to cover the periods where you are not making loads of commissioned projects. Speaking of commissioned projects, you have to start applying your creativity to corporate videos, image films and public service announcements. These kinds of projects will provide your regular income. Whereas they may not necessarily be your passion project like your feature film is, these commissioned films will keep you going and help you fulfil your dreams while you are busy honing your skills as a cinematic storyteller. So embrace them, make the best possible commissioned film you can and keep on making them.
Heubscle on Getting Started and Keeping Work as A Filmmaker…
Nowadays social media has provided us with platforms where you’re able to showcase your content to the world. Plus the rise of smartphones has made video cameras super accessible to most people. If you want to break into the film industry and get noticed, then use these two, the social media and the smartphone, to start telling your stories. Put them out there to the world, build and listen to your audience and improve your style with every video you make. To stay working within the film industry, firstly diversify your skills set. Don’t just insist on being a director or camera person. Learn more about other fields within filmmaking such as editing, sound recording, casting, make-up, etc. You will find that there are more projects you’re able to work on if you don’t limit yourself to just one stream. More projects mean more income. And above all, keep your costs of living low. That doesn’t mean you have to be poor, it just means you have to manage your expenditure well and don’t get used to too many monthly overheads.
Marinda Stein- Writer/Producer/Director (‘Coming Home’, ‘Women of Our World’,…)
Stein on Filmmaking in Namibia…
I think any career in the arts does present some challenges. This can be attributed to the idea that it isn’t necessarily viewed as being sustainable like the mainstream careers that we’re bombarded with at school when having to make a decision about our futures. As a filmmaker, it is no different. And certainly not as a filmmaker in Namibia. For me being a filmmaker (more specifically writer and director) is about capturing the essence of the human spirit. Through stories, we can create understanding, tolerance, acceptance, create a society that is emphatic – something we so desperately need in our country too. I have said on so many occasions that we may not be engineers or managing banks, etc., but as filmmakers, we carry a huge responsibility for the social fabric of our society and our industry makes a huge contribution to our country’s economy, so we count. We matter.
Stein on Making Money from Film In Namibia…
I have made my living being an independent filmmaker for the past 10 years. However, it wasn’t by making films only. With my background in TV and diverse skills set, I did and still do a lot of commercial work to ensure my sustainability. Making films require huge budgets and we don’t have those all the time. While the Namibia Film Commission has call-outs for project submissions on an annual basis, it’s not enough to support every single filmmaker who has a story that she/he would like to turn into a film. So being in our industry requires us to be innovative. I had to learn so much along the way and I made many mistakes too. Before I entered the film industry I thought of myself as just a creative/ an artist, but that has since changed vastly. I had to learn to understand what being an entrepreneur meant (because that was essentially what I became), how to make sound business decisions – all with longterm sustainability in mind. The same year that my short film Coming Home premiered and my women series Women of Our World was released, was also the most difficult financially. Today I am still a writer and director, but I’d also like to think that I am a job creator and in addition stepped into the administrative side of film to make my contribution towards creating an enabling environment for current and future filmmakers. When I attended FESPACO in 2015, I also realised that as a Namibian film industry we have been operating in a silo for the longest time. There was (still is) a world of film out there and we were not (are not yet) part of it. This is slowly changing since our Namibian films are travelling to film festivals and we have online platforms where we can share our work with audiences around the globe. But if we cannot monetize the latter specifically then it doesn’t mean much to us as filmmakers. Distribution of our films has been a challenge historically. And that is something that even I am still learning about and continuously exploring. Because in order for our industry to grow, we need to be connected. Not just in our industry, but also to Africa and the world.
Stein on Getting Started and Keeping Work as A Filmmaker…
It may be equally exciting and daunting to choose a career in film. My advice is simple: identify what path it is that you want to take and work towards that. We have such beautiful talent in our country and we have young, gutsy filmmakers who have shown that they are fearless and passionate about telling stories. However, one doesn’t want to rely on your friends and make movies with ‘no money’ for every film like with your first. In my view there is no such thing as making a movie with ‘no money’ – while you are not physically paying someone for a service or equipment, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cost anything. The ultimate goal is to be sustainable and that means creating a career that will pay the bills, take you on holiday, make you have a good life. Entering the industry also doesn’t mean having to start your own company. We see so many mushrooming, but is it beneficial to building an industry? Buying equipment on the cheap so you can offer services on the cheap as a one-man-show only harms the entire industry. We have to honour the value we have as well as that of our industry. Would it make more sense to combine your skills set with likeminded individuals to make films and offering your services together to clients (because you’re not only going to be making movies in our industry)? You don’t have to go at it on your own and we have a collective responsibility to build an industry that will outlive us all.
Understanding that funding opportunities are existing outside Namibia is crucial too. Connecting with fellow filmmakers is essential – the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented. Most established filmmakers have gone down the same path so they can be engaged on what successes they had and how they went about it. There are also other opportunities in the industry because Namibia is a popular destination for foreign productions. While as writer/ director one would want to identify as a content producer, working on international productions create an opportunity for income for technical support crew and provides a great learning platform. With hard work and tons of perseverance, I got to where I am. But the film landscape is always changing and I have to be cognizant of that. So I must be willing and able to adapt.
Florian Schott- Writer/Director/Producer (‘Katutura’, ‘Baxu and the Giants’, ‘Everything Happens For a Reason’,…)
Schott on Filmmaking in Namibia…
I don’t think anyone can convince me that making films is not the best job in the world. As a filmmaker, you not only get to tell stories, entertain people, get them out of their lives and introduce them to a different one for a brief moment, but you have the chance to shape the world around you, to create a discussion about issues that are important. Being a filmmaker in Namibia comes with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. We have great opportunities here, as we have riches of stories, talent and unfortunately also quite a number of societal issues that need addressing. The challenges are a lack of support and funding. Making films is only possible in collaboration, and film can be expensive, so there is a constant fight in order to get funds to make films. But we are lucky that we have the Namibia Film Commission that not only helps filmmakers make films but also can help in getting the film out there – something that a lot of other African countries don’t have. So making films in Namibia it’s a challenge, but the fight is part of the experience, and the reward in having audiences react to your film is even sweeter if the road to making the film was challenging.
Schott on Making Money from Film in Namibia…
Let me just say that if you go into film for the money you are probably on the wrong path. There are many easier ways to make money. Personally, I can only make a living directing and writing films because of my work outside of the country. But I am in the privileged position to be able to make a living being a director. There are ways to make a living in film, but this way means not specialising on one thing only. It is hard living off directing or being a cinematographer, or writer, or editor only. But if you know how to do multiple things, like you can film and also edit, you do fictional films but also commercials and corporate videos, you direct but you can also service produce other production company’s films, or you work in film and also theatre – that way you can actually make a living of film in Namibia.
Schott on Getting Started and Keeping Work as A Filmmaker…
You have to continue working, always pushing ahead, always developing, not stopping. There were a few instances where I questioned if the fight is worth it, as the work you put in and at least the financial reward of it is definitely not in any healthy proportion. But the impact your films can have, just in the last weeks seeing hundreds of kids’ reactions after watching Baxu and the Giants is worth every minute you put into your films. Or the hundreds of emails, messages and just personal encounters after Katutura, and how it inspired young people to want to make films; this is what keeps you going. You know there will be people appreciating locally produced films and stories. And I feel it’s important, especially for young people, to read books and watch films in their own languages. But it’s not only the result – the work itself, working with great co-writers, actors and crew is also just a beautiful way to spend your working life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything else in the world.
Oshoveli Shipoh- Director/Producer (‘Hairareb’, ‘Painted Scars’, ‘Looking For Nelao’,…)
Shipoh on Filmmaking in Namibia…
When you have an intimate population that is so well informed about anything and everything, it becomes an opportunity to rise and have a voice in the industry. A voice that can express stories in any shape or form. For me personally, the most important way to stay relevant as a filmmaker is to bring your business ‘A-game’ to the table. A lot of filmmakers pitch for work from an artistic perspective because they are passionate about the work. It’s an admirable thing but one must remember that the client expects you to be passionate regardless. The reality is that if you can’t convince a client why it is in their best interest to utilise your services, I think then we’ll have a lot of struggling filmmakers.
Shipoh on Making Money from Film in Namibia…
You can absolutely make money from film here. I’ve noticed an increasingly high demand for my services over the past year, which has grown beyond the lights, camera and action. It’s unfortunate that our industry is not yet big enough to only focus on one component of the film industry. As a Namibian filmmaker, we should see ‘film’ as a tool to penetrate every corner of the industry. We have to take advantage of what we’re good at so that anyone in any sector will want to pay you to do what you enjoy doing. In SA the industry is so big that an actor can make a career from just doing soapies and nothing else, we don’t have that here, unfortunately. So as an established film director I don’t just focus on doing feature films and shorts, I’m directing commercials, documentaries, corporate videos and now recently just started my first film workshop.
Shipoh on Getting Started and Keeping Work as A Filmmaker…
I’m thankful for being in a position where I don’t need to look for film projects, they come looking for me. So when I get started I ensure to keep paying as much attention to the details of the vision of the film without getting lost in the artistic mess. To adapt and stay relevant in the industry we need to go beyond limitation.
Desiree Kahikopo- Director/Producer (‘The White Line’,.)
Kahikopo on Filmmaking in Namibia…
In all honesty, filmmaking is great because we love it and it is hard at the same time. For you to do this and pursue with everything that comes with it and it’s not easy, you have to love it, really really love it. In Namibia, because the industry is still growing and we only have one funding body and not very keen corporate companies and private individuals willing to invest in film, it really is challenging on the financing part and we need funds to make films or tv shows and distribution is especially difficult too.
Kahikopo on Making Money from Film in Namibia…
I have been in the arts and film industry for a while and I have not been able to make a living out of it as off yet, but it is possible, I think the public is really interested in Namibian films and are willing to go see films and that equals box office returns, and with proper marketing to fill up the cinemas and distribution that works both ways, filmmakers can make a living and of course with the involvement of corporate companies and individuals to invest in this art form because they can recoup their investments. We can’t do this alone.
Kahikopo on Getting Started and Keeping Work as A Filmmaker…
Look at what you’re interested in doing with in the industry ( Camera, acting, directing) and look around to see what’s out there; casting, people looking for crew members and get started. Networking and relationship building is important, it gets you started and keeps you working. And just work hard and be consistent and persistent.
The White Line has finally concluded its first festival run and is now ready for the Namibian premiere.
The White Line has won 3 awards at the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards and internationally won Best Feature Film and Best Cinematographer at The African Emerging Filmmakers Awards. Equally, the film screened at various film festivals all over the world, including the Durban International Film Festival, New York African Diaspora Film Festival, Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt, among others.
Now the producers announced that the film will have its first official red carpet premiere in Namibia, set for 20 March at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek.
Locally, The White Line has only had a press screening and in preparation for the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards screened at the Namibian Film Week in Windhoek. Director Desiree Kahikopo previously said the film will first have a festival run and after that, once they have secured additional funding, they will have the official Namibian premiere.
Starring Girley Jazarama, Jan-Barend Scheepers, Sunet van Wyk and Mervin Uahupirapi, The White Line, set in 1963, after the Old Location uprising which shook South West Africa, the film follows a black domestic worker, Sylvia (Jazama), whose life is changed when she encounters an Afrikaner police officer, Pieter (Scheepers) on a routine passbook check.
The film was one of the most anticipated films of 2019, alongside films like #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, Baxu and the Giants and Hairareb and features some of the best movie performances Namibia has to offer.
The film features an original soundtrack by Micheal Pulse with the screenplay also written by Pulse.
Tickets to the red carpet premiere of The White Line are now on sale at Ster Kinekor for N$60.
UPDATE: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the premiere has been cancelled.
On Wednesday 5 February, 92nd Academy Award Best Documentary nominee, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama opened Goethe Institute Namibia’s art-house film programme, ‘Cinemaverse’.
The film, following Waad’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, forms a line-up of films from Germany, Sudan and South Africa which will be screened at the Goethe Instituut Windhoek over the course of 2020.
Apart from For Sama, films that make up the first half of the Cinemaverse programme are Transit by Christian Petzold, Akasha by Hajooj Kuka, Systemsprenger by Nora Fingscheidt and Sew The Winter To My Skin by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka. The second-half programme for Cinemaverse is currently being put together.
Cinemaverse is co-curated by Namibian filmmaker Florian Schott and Zimbabwean filmmaker Nocks Chatiza. According to Schott, the idea of ‘Cinemaverse’ was born out of the need for films outside of the mainstream.
“Many Namibians now have access to DStv, to Netflix and films that screen at Ster Kinekor. But there are so many cinematic gems out there, beautiful, moving and important films that unfortunately Namibians don’t have access to on their usual distribution channels. In the last few months, I’ve travelled to film festivals around the globe, from Munich to San Francisco to Warsaw, to Lagos and to Knysna, and I watched many wonderful films that I felt would be appreciated by Namibians, films that deserve to be screened far and wide, their messages being meaningful and important for Namibian audiences as well,” Schott says.
Around mid last year, Schott, along with a number of other Namibian artists from different sectors were invited to the Goethe Institute to discuss planned exhibitions and programmes.
“As I fondly remember AfricAvenir’s cinema series, which Hans-Christian Mahnke curated and organised but sadly had to stop a few years ago due to workload and budget, I suggested bringing independent films back to Namibia. In AfricAvenir’s film series I watched so many fantastic films I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to watch otherwise that changed my view on film and sometimes the world. Controversial South African film Of Good Report comes to mind, so does the classic The Battle of Algiers,” Schott explains.
When approached by Goethe to curate a similar program, Schott knew Chatiza, who just recently moved to Windhoek, was the first and only choice to curate with him as he has experience with film festivals and independent films.
“The task was to not only bring African independent films to Goethe but also independent films from outside of Africa. In my extensive travels over the last few months, I watched many great films that I knew immediately that I wanted to bring to Windhoek, but I’m also regularly visiting film sites such as Indiewire to see what is happening in independent cinema around the world. So our idea was to have films and stories that are diverse, relevant and definitely different from the mainstream. By the way, we are always open to great ideas and great films we might not know yet,” Schott adds.
For Chatiza, art-house films- especially those with a strong storyline- derive passion. He notes without a good story there can not be a good movie.
“I believe as much as films should entertain the audience – they should also have social, moral and educational values. Films should be always about a Characters’ journey and character fulfilment, not about glitz and glamour, technology superiority and product marketing like what we see daily in the mainstream cinemas. Cinemaverse gave me the opportunity to experience and share those films that I believe their storyline will emotionally move/touch the audience. I love to use storytelling and film as a tool for positive social change,” Chatiza says.
As a filmmaker himself, the films being screen at Cinemaverse are films Chatiza would like to produce and share with the world.
“Not abstract storylines but human storylines. I want to make stories about human struggles for survival in their own right and at the same time showcase both sides of human internal conflict, love vs hate, good vs bad,” Chatiza expresses.
Chatiza has been involved in film festivals in Berlin, Noway, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia and it is his hope that Cinemaverse succeeds in bringing unique films to the Namibian audience and growing the film viewing culture that will enable the growth of the Namibian film industry.
The next Cinemaverse film Transit by Director Christian Petzold will be screened on 4 March at the Goethe Institute. The film is about a man who flees France after the Nazi invasion and assumes the identity of a dead author. Stuck in Marseilles, the man meets a young woman desperate to find her missing husband – the very man he is impersonating.
Entrance to the Cinemaverse is free. Below is the first programme:
Philippe Talavera’s Kukuri has been nominated at the 7th Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA7) for Best Movie Southern Africa, alongside Abraham Kabwe’s Dalitso (Zambia), Cassie Kabwikta’s Kwacha (Zambia) and Imran Kaisi’s The Beautiful Hen Behind Yao Mountain (Malawi).
Shot entirely in the Kavango East region, Kukuri is a Namibian film addressing the issue of child marriage starring Hanty Kasongo and George Antonio as its leads.
Kukuri was produced shortly after ’Salute!’ which also earned a nomination at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards and according to Talavera, Kukuri was overshadowed by Salute! for a long time.
The film was born after OYO conducted a survey on child marriage. Under the condition of anonymity, the team interviewed girls in the north who had been forced to marry at an early age.
“We then gathered a team of writers, including a girl who was almost forced to get married young. They listened to the interviews and based on the testimonies, they drafted the story. I then put the script together based on their ideas. We wanted to keep the story as real as possible. During the research phase, one Headman in Omega had asked us to do something on the issue, as he was concerned about the situation in his community. We, therefore – with his blessing – decided to work with the village. All the actors but one are from the village and none had been trained before (George Antonio playing Chindo is the only exception and is from Rundu). We held meetings in the village, then auditions, then training. It was a long process that was mostly spearheaded by Njandee Mbarandongo who did a great job with the community. The community shared their knowledge and how it happens. For instance, the wedding scene in the film has been shot entirely based on community knowledge – they helped with the set design and how the ceremony is organised,” Talavera says on the pre-production process.
He adds: “We discovered it is actually a small affair – an exchange between two families, with the most significant element, is the official handover of one of the goats (and this goat drove the sound guy nuts during the takes. The music would have been too difficult to do in the region, therefore editing and post-production took place in Windhoek. But I insisted that Okavango drums are used in the soundtrack and I think Ponti Dikuua did a fantastic job. This was really as much of a community project as possible and that is our style. We spend a lot of time on research, on training, on rehearsals and we try to make it as real as possible.”
Talavera expressed appreciation on OYO’s second Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards nomination as it recognises Kukuri as one of the best films Southern Africa has to offer.
“We hope it will give this beautiful local film a second life. Having been there in 2018, I now appreciate more how huge this nomination is and what it means for Namibia. It is an absolutely incredible honour.,” Talavera says.
However, both Kukuri and Salute! were sidelined at the biannual Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, both not earning a nomination last year’s awards.
Talavera figures the reason for this might because the Namibian film industry does not really know where to place OYO- the producer of both of these films.
“We are not a film company. We are an NGO, and we don’t produce only films but also dance pieces and plays, among others. What saddens me the most is the fact that they don’t recognise the work people put in our productions – whether it is cast or the crew. For instance, when Adriano Visagie won the Sotigui Award for Best Actor Southern Africa last year for Salute! in Burkina Faso, nobody in the local film Industry took an official stand to congratulate him.,” Talavera says, “In other countries Ministers in charge of the Arts and Film Commissions welcomed their winners with press conferences, official cocktails, etc. But Namibia was dead quiet – probably because it was for an OYO film. It feels rather strange that both Salute! and Kukuri are nominated as Best Film Southern Africa – Salute! going on to win Best actor Southern Africa – and don’t even get one mention in Namibia.”
Not being too pressed about this Talavera says OYO makes films for the public, and not for awards. “And our films are very well received locally – Salute! has been seen by thousands of people in Namibia and wherever we have shown it we have had a fantastic response. They are just not well received by the local industry,” he adds.
The 7th AMVCAs is brought to viewers across the continent by Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice and is proudly sponsored by Amstel Malta.
Florian Schott’s award-winning short film Baxu and the Giants will have its first Namibian public screening for the year at the DHPS Auditorium, on Thursday, 6 February, for free.
Additionally, the Legal Assistance Centre and MaMoKoBo Video & Research will host a series of screenings at schools in Windhoek, including other free screenings for the public in Windhoek.
Later in the year, the film will also be screened in villages north-west of Namibia, where the film was shot, including in the coast.
All of these screenings will lead up to the Global Release of Baxu and the Giants in mid-March. At this time the film will not only be available on DVD but also for streaming worldwide via YouTube and Vimeo.
International Festivals where Baxu and the Giants will be screening in the coming two months include the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Toronto Black Film Festival, the Children’s Film Festival Seattle and the RapidLion International Film Festival in South Africa.
The Namibian short which premiered in September 2019 already screened in nine countries and won multiple international awards, including the Award for Best Foreign Narrative at the San Francisco Independent Short Film Festival, three Namibian Theatre- and Film Awards (including Best Female Actor for 10-year-old Camilla Jo-Ann Daries), two international Cinematography Awards and two Awards at the Knysna Film Festival in South Africa.
Baxu and the Giants tells the story of how rhino poaching triggers social change in a village in rural Namibia, seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl. Producer Andrew Botelle (The Power Stone, Born in Etosha) enlisted Director and Co-Writer Florian Schott (Katutura) and Co-Producer/Co-Writer Girley Jazama (The White Line) to craft an emotional story around rhino poaching.
The new year comes with yet another OYO film. This time, Director Philippe Talavera has partnered with two female writers Senga Brockerhoff (Encore) and Mikiros Garoes (The Date) to bring you a new drama exploring themes around love, secrecy, fears and commitment and Namib Insider has all the deets.
Adriano Visagie (Salute!) stars as the lead in this film about two polar opposites who fall in love and The film looks at the fabric of society and some of the fears surrounding it, closely looking at what is forbidden or morally acceptable.
“It as an unconventional positive Namibian love story – pun intended,” explains Talavera. “As you know at OYO we use arts to create social awareness. For this project we had a specific brief- at this point, I can’t say more about it without revealing too much, but it is very different from the projects we have worked on in the past. We, therefore, felt we needed to outsource the screenplay.”
Talavera says he is a huge fan of both Brockerhoff and Garoes, who are both “outstanding scriptwriters and I feel utterly privileged they agreed to work on this project and took up this challenge.”
Apart from Visagie, who won Best Actor Southern Africa at the Sotigui Awards 2019 in Burkina Faso for his role in Salute!, Kapana stars actress Felicity Celento (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Elize de Wee (#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm), Foreversun Haiduwah (The Third Will), Albertina Hainane (The Third Will), Jeremiah Jeremiah (Salute!), newcomers Lukas Paulus, Simon Hanga and Chanwill Vries. Garoes also extends versatility by being co-writer and actor in the film.
On working with so many talented actors Talavera confesses it was a bit overwhelming, adding that it is the most prestigious cast OYO has ever had.
“I had wanted to work with Felicity for a long time for instance– so it was a dream come true. As usual, I really liked the fact that most experienced actors shared their knowledge with newer ones. The dynamic on set was really good,” Talavera says.
Cinematographer Kit Hoffman who has done an amazing job on the Baxu and the Giants will shoot the film with Haiko Boldt as editor. Boldt has done works on numerous films, including #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, Salute! and Kukuri. Jacques ‘Kauna’ Hoabeb, who also worked on Kukuri was the sound engineer.
“With this film, we hope to challenge stereotypes and create a beautiful love story,” Talavera says about Kapana, which is expected to release a trailer around April/May 2020.
So yes, the film just doesn’t sound interesting, it also promises to look and feel great!
At the beginning of 2010 music, film and theatre was a struggling business, 10 years later, it is still a struggling business but at least now, quality and substance is the standard. This decade has seen a lot of improvement for the Namibian film industry, and if the years 2018 and 2019 specifically are anything to go by, the 2020s decade is going to be even better and Namibia’s entertainment industry is getting well aligned with the rest of the world.
Capturing a decade in a single article is not easy, but with the input from industry spectators Faith Haushona-Kavamba (Journalist), Rodelio Lewis(Radio Host) and Netumbo ‘Mickey’ Nekomba(Journalist) and myself, we are going to attempt to give you a glimpse of Namibian film, music and theatre in the 2010s decade.
The local film industry is growing from strength to strength as there is an improvement in produced content and narratives. New creative and innovative players penetrating the film market are also on the rise and the more experienced guys finally get the importance of quality production.
However, the greatest challenge to the Namibian Film industry still faces is the lack of consistent film funding and corporate/investor buy-in. Large budget films are largely still funded by the Namibia Film Commission. Naturally, this is the main reason the industry is growing at a slower pace but there have been pretty good films produced in this decade.
What We Liked
Coming Home (2014), by Miranda Stein
Katutura (2015) by Florian Schott
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm (2019) by Tim Heubscle
100 Bucks (2012) by Oshosheni Hiveluah
Baxu and the Giants (2019) by Florian Schott
The White Line (2019), (2019) by Desiree Kahikopo
Tjiraa (2012) by Krischka Stoffels
Hairareb (2019) by Oshoveli Shipoh
Faith’s favourites: Tjiraa, Katutura, 100 Bucks. “I didn’t really like the storyline of Katutura, but I have to admit it was a visually appealing film. It was a top-notch Namibian production and had a really talented cast. 100 Bucks was simple yet appealing because it simply tracked how money travels from the claws of the wealthy to the palms of the poor. Another local production that was ahead of its time was Tjiraa because it addressed the seldom-discussed issue of arranged marriages and marital rape in this country. It is still very relevant today.”
Rodelio’s favourites:Katutura, #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, Coming Home. “Katutura spearheaded the standards of what quality can and should look like when it comes to Namibian films and the film showcased the talent of Namibian actors in a way that I’ve never seen it before. It really was a game-changer and from the onset, I perceived the local film industry in a new light. #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm changed my understanding of what beauty really looks like when it comes to our country; it invited you into what makes Namibia so diverse and so appealing. #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm also showed you that there are very compelling stories that need to be told. Also, that is one badass action thriller! In Coming Home, I saw Odile Gertze acting for the first time and I was just blown away by her acting skills. I was like ‘this girl deserves to be in international films’. Coming Home has a very powerful storyline too.”
Mickey’s favourites:The White Line, Katutura. “I would watch The White Line over and over again. It stole my heart with its incredible visuals and a powerful portrayal of an interracial couple in the apartheid era. Katutura had everyone talking. There were so many screenings when it first premiered, that most of the venues were full and it was difficult to see it! When I eventually did, I was quite amazed. What a wonderful movie.”
In terms of technical aesthetics in film, 2019 has been a great year. Compared to the poor visual appeal, horrible sound quality or that one horrible telenovela filter short the decade started with, there has been a major improvement in the technical quality of films. Listen, even the narratives and acting in our films is better these days. Baxu and the Giants and The White Line are not only well received nationally, but internationally the films are also having a feast, enjoying major attention from film festivals and audiences alike. #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm and Hairareb are also doing well for themselves and were beautiful and well-executed films, especially #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm.
Encore (2019), a short film by Senga Brockerhoff
Looking For Iilonga (2011), a short film by Tim Heubscle
Everything Happens For A Reason (2014), a short film by Florian Schott
Salute! (2018), a feature by Philippe Talavera
Tjitji – The Himba Girl (2014), a short film by Oshosheni Hiveluah
The Date (2019), a short film by Mikiros Garoes
Music is probably the most consumed facet of the Namibian entertainment industry and most credit goes to music fans who have kept expectations high, prompting musicians to up their game. The introduction of the Namibian Annual Music Awards in 2011 is also another factor for the massive growth in Namibian music. The technological advances and the rise of seasoned and new- especially new- music industry influences defined the 2010s decade, musically.
Over the span of the past 10 years, many Namibian musicians have made their mark nationally and internationally, with various collaborations, awards and performances.
What We Liked
Boss Madam – (Sally Boss-Madam)
Zoom Zoom – (Lady May)
Penduka (Gazza ft. Mandoza)
Thando Iwam (DJ Bojo Mujo ft. Tequila)
Warakata (One Blood)
Khâimâ (KK ft Tswazis)
National Address (LSD)
Mickey’s Favourites:Penduka, Thando Iwam, Warakata. “I love my daily dose of local music! Penduka’s release was an epic time in Namibian music. Five seconds in the song and you already know what’s about to go down. It is classic! In 2011, DJ Bojo Mujo and Tequila created a storm with Thando Iwam. There was hardly a place you could step into without hearing “if I marry you, will you marry me?” There’s no doubt this song will continue to create an impact. As for Warakata, One Blood came, they saw and they conquered. No matter what tribe you are, you danced to this song. I absolutely love this hit.”
Faith’s favourites:Boss Madam, Swagga, Aalumentu. “Although we already knew Sally, Boss Madam was the hit that cemented her as the queen of afro-fusion; it was fresh, unexpected and just what we needed on the airwaves. I’m not a Kwaito fan but there was just something about Swagga that I loved. It wasn’t anything like I’d heard from Gazza before. It’s not every day that you hear a cow mooing in the intro of a song, and that immediately grabs your attention and that happens in the intro of Aalumentu. It’s unfortunate that it was so underrated but it’s a great song that shows unity and pride, and dare I say more relevant today than when it was released because we are seeing divisive/tribalist rhetoric being spewed more than ever.”
Rodelio’s favourites: Zoom Zoom, Boss Madam, National Address. “It’s no lie that I love Sally Boss Madam, and after seeing her perform live, I stalked her and found that Boss Madam song. I saw the respect she has for her craft. Boss Madam is still a hit and Sally understands longevity when it comes to music. Zoom Zoom was and is still a boss song. Plus the music video slaps. Our current economic and political climate is in a very fragile state and it’s important for everyone’s voice to be heard. The group LSD, came together and created an anthem and music video that carries a powerful message that amplifies the frustrations’ faced by the Namibian youth and everyone else as well. National Address carries an important social message and what’s great is you’re still able to twerk and live your best life to the song.”
Songs like Chelete, Johny and Khâimâ define the road to triumph in Namibian music. Musicians continue to create a soundscape that draws from, rap, dancehall, reggae, hip-hop, afro-pop, jazz, hip-hop, otjivire and pop and we are totally here for it. The 2010s decade was a great start and with the looming decade, the possibilities for growth are endless, especially with the growing artistry in Namibian music.
Inotila (Tate Buti)
Saka (PDK ft. Top Cheri, King Elegant and Athawise)
Go to Malawi (Exit feat. Neslouw & ML)
Young, Wild And Free (Sunny Boy)
I believe (Linda ft Petersen)
Boom Boom (Freeda)
Swaai (Twasis ft. Adora)
I Promise (Jerico)
Everything Happens For A Reason (Lize Ehlers)
Wumwe Tati Kalako (Mushe feat Tequila/Tekla)
Chip in, Chip Out (King Tee Dee)
Kaandjetu (Jomolizo Ft Liina)
Fikulimwe (Young T)
Fantastic Sam (Lize Ehlers)
Nuka (King Tee Dee ft. Chesta)
No longer Slaves (Nam Gospel United)
Drowning In My Feelings (Y’Cliff)
Net So (Sally Boss Madam)
Numba Numba (Big Ben)
Lost (Micheal Pulse)
Money (Gazza ft. Lady May)
Although only having been exposed to the theatre in this decade, Namibian theatremakers made sure Namibia enjoys the ancient craft in its finest form. When the decade started in 2010, theatre was really something you’d only see in schools. Mainstream theatre was poorly attended and only enjoyed by ‘theatre nerds’. Also, not much was happening in the theatre fraternity. If you were a theatre lover, you’d go months without seeing a quality theatre play, but as the years stretched on, theatre productions became more and more frequent.
Since 2015, the theatre has been on an upward trajectory and the appetite for theatre grew as dramas and musicals became popular with more and more people. This decade has seen a range of locally written and international plays produced and performed with quality and zest. As it stands, theatre has a large number of loyal theatregoers who enjoy seeing live performances from some of Namibia’s finest theatre actors.
What We Liked
Die Stoep (2019) by Jonathan Sasha
Meme Mia (2013) by Sandy Rudd
Lammie Beukes (2014) by Senga Brockerhoff
Prime Colours (2014) by Zindri Swartz)
The Shebeen Queen by Nashilongweshipwe Mushandja
Battered (2019) by Donald Matthys
The Nuthouse (2018) by Lloyd Winini
Ominous (2016) by Jenny Kandenge
Fences (2018) by Nelago Shilongoh
Meet Me at Dawn (2019) Sandy Rudd
Rodelio’s favourites:Prime Colours, Die Stoep, Meme Mia. “Prime Colours was one of the first multimedia productions, incorporating an LGBTIQ+ narrative in a way that sparked dialogue and opened the door for much-needed healing. It also got me my first two Namibian Theatre and Film nominations and win as a professional actor. Meme Mia inspired me to better my craft and I knew I wanted to one day work with Sandy Rudd, a dream that came true in 2018. Die Stoep invited the coloured and baster community’s lives and truths to the table, with the cast, director/writer, musical director and stage Manger all being coloured and baster, this all Afrikaans play was very loved sold out all 3 nights.”
Mickey’s Favourite:Die Stoep. “After watching Die Stoep, many audience members left the National Theatre of Namibia’s Backstage with tears, which shows how much of an emotional impact it had on all of us. It will remain one of the best plays of 2019.”
Faith’s favourites:Meme Mia, The Sheebeen Queen, Battered. “Sandy Rudd is a force to be reckoned with, she reimagined the classic Mama Mia to suit the Namibian audience instead of regurgitating what we had already seen. Her cast was insanely talented, which just made the play all more magical. Jacques Mushaandja’s debut play, The Shebeen Queen, was spectacular, he had a young vibrant cast, and most importantly the play gave us a glimpse into sheebeen life and unemployment. He was ahead of his time. Sex work is work, a woman has the right to make her own reproductive choices (including whether or not to have an abortion) and LGBTQ rights are a basic human right. Battered brought some of these issues to the forefront, not to mention that it had a stellar cast that brought it all to life.”
In this decade, Namibian theatremakers have adapted numerous world plays such as Mama Mia (Meme Mia), Fences, District Six, and Meet Me At Dawn and the delivery of these productions was stellar. Local writers and directors used the theatre stage to bring comic relief and tackle social issues and productions like The Nuthouse and Daddy’s Girls have been nothing short of pure magnificent theatre. Every year, the National Theatre of Namibia is investing lots of financial assistance in the art of theatre and the creation of local stories and the organisation deserves a nod for its continuous investment into the craft. Smaller theatre venues and theatre organisations also reap the benefits of the growing theatregoer culture Namibians are developing. The 2020s are very promising!
‘Revere Them Those Men’ (2014) by Hafeni Muzanima
The Teacher (2012) by Frederick Philander
Daddy’s Girls (2018) by Jenny Kandenge
Every Woman (2019) by Senga Brockerhoff
Thinning Lines (2018) by Ndakalako Shilongo
Tales of Roses in Concrete (2018) by Ashwyn Mberi
Three Women and You (2018) by David Ndjavera
Aspoestertjie (2017) Abraham Pieters
A Raisin in the Sun (2018) by Sepiso Mwange
Fell (2017) by Blessing Mbonambi & Junelle Mbonambi – Stroh
Madam President (2017) by Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong