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!
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:
Director Tim Huebschle’s feature film, #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, is set to have its official premiere this Thursday, 10 October at Ster Kinekor Grove Mall, Windhoek.
The film revolves around Meisie Willemse (Elize de Wee), a rugged cop with a dark secret she kept hidden for decades. However, while investigating a series of hateful murders, Willemse encounters a ruthless reporter who exposes dark secrets from her past, which in turn, derail the case, but Willemse is determined to catch the killer, even if she has to break the law.
Here’s some key information on the 95minute crime thriller:
The full title of the movie is #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm. The ‘LAND of the BRAVE’ part is borrowed from the second line of Namibia’s national anthem. It cements the idea that this is foremost a Namibian movie, by Namibians for Namibians. The use of the hashtag and the inclusion of the word “film” is very specific to indicate that this entire project is about more than just a movie.
Huebschle was adamant on the use of a combination of well-known and unfamiliar faces in the film. The film features Elize de Wee, Armas Shivute, Pieter Greeff, Ralf Boll, Khadijah Mouton, Felicity Celento, Muhindua Kaura, Chantell Uiras, Chridon Panizza, Joalette de Villiers, Janu Craill, Ndinomholo Ndilula, Jarret Loubser, Brumelda Brandt and Rodelio Lewis.
“I identified some actors e.g. Armas as Shivute and Elize as Meisie, but actively scouted for others. Piet Potgieter was synchronous as Pieter connected with me on Facebook just as I was looking for someone to play Piet. We put out an online casting call and that is how we found Chridon as Suiker and Khadijah as Cherry. In young Charmaine’s case, I scouted local productions to look for actors who resemble Elize and came across Chantell. I also wanted a few local celebrities to play bit parts, so am very grateful that Gazza (famous Kwaito artist) and Jarret Loubser (from Radio Wave) were game. Anyone outside the German-speaking community in Namibia may not know that Ralf Boll, who plays Dr Schneider, is a household name from the NBC German Radio service,” says Heubscle.
The film is produced with a tight budget of N$3 million which required extreme lean project management. About half of this amount was a grant from the Namibia Film Commission, while the remainder was sourced through private contributions, some crowdfunding, and using Collective Production’s own resources, including in-kind support from various avenues which allowed for the completion of the film.
The film is produced by Collective Productions, co-owned by Huebschle, who is the writer & director of #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, and David Benade, who is the film’s Producer. The film was primarily shot in and around Windhoek, with some scenes at Spreetshoogte and in the small harbour town of Lüderitz. The Lüderitz interior scenes were filmed on a custom-built set in Windhoek. Principle photography was from 3 July to 10 August 2018 with a total of 28 shooting days over the 5 week period with a short production break in between. The decision to shoot during winter was a deliberate, creative consideration. The land is dead during winter and that bleakness reflects what is happening in the story. On a practical level, this meant the production team braved extremely cold early mornings and evenings, particularly on two-night shoots.
Script Translation & Language
In order for #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm to be a truly Namibian film, it had to be in a language Namibians speak, a particular brand of street-Afrikaans which is unique to Namibia. The script was originally written in English, but Heubscle entrusted the actors to translate their own lines. The entire film – Afrikaans, English and vernacular dialogue – is subtitled in English.
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm composer Ginge Anvik produced a score including
music samples from the Nama, Himba, Ovambo and San people of Namibia. Collective Productions involved the Directorate of National Heritage and Culture Programmes for guidance and support during the selection process of traditional musicians. During November 2016 Ginge and director Tim Huebschle travelled 3313 km in 8 days through southern and northern Namibia as part of the #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm soundtrack road trip. The entire music production fee was covered by TONO, the Norwegian Collection Society and Performing Rights Organization, and the Komponistenes Verderlagsfond, the Norwegian Composers’ Remuneration Fund. These contributions were secured by Anvik.
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm’s soundtrack includes an exciting original song to feature over the credit roll. Afrikaans rapper Ike Adonis, better known as Ixa, and Namibia Annual Music Awards 2019 winner for best Afrikaans, Vaughn Ahrens, collaborated to produce the original song, ‘My Ghosts’. The song’s lyrics are inspired by the film’s tagline “facing the ghosts of your past is like trying to catch a serial killer who won’t be caught”. Ahrens’ indie-rock style, combined with Ixa’s rap, provides a fresh Namibian sound. The song is a mixture of Afrikaans and English hip hop with a folk feel to it. ‘My Ghosts’ was publicly released on 9 September 2019 for airplay on local radio stations in the run-up to the film’s premiere on 10 October. An accompanying music video consisting of footage of the artists in the studio during recording, interspersed with scenes from the film, was also published on social media the same day at 9:09 am.
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm will premiere on 10 October and show until 20 October at Sker Kinekor cinemas in Windhoek. Tickets are available at Ster Kinekor, Pick n Pay and Webtickets. Early Bird: N$50 • Door: N$60 • Half price Tuesday: N$30.
Tim Huebschle’s crime thriller #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm starring Elize de Wee is expected to hit the big screen on 10 October. Ahead of the premiere, the film released an original soundtrack titled ‘My Ghosts’ by Vaughn Ahrens & Ixa.
The quirky and captivating credit roll soundtrack features visuals captured by Haiko Boldt with sound engineering by Adam Brandon-Kirby.
Vaughn Ahrens, who won the award for Best Afrikaans at the 2019 Namibian Annual Music Awards said he was lucky enough to be part of the film’s test audience where he had the opportunity to get a good feel of the film for the writing of the lyrics.
“I kind of imagined what I’d like to hear as the credits roll out, and went from there,” Ahrens said, “I think Ixa and I really captured the overall emotion that the movie brings with the lyrics and music. I think we’re busy blending styles here and that’s what’s making this endeavour such an interesting listen.”
According to Ixa, when he received the rough version of the beat for ‘My Ghosts’, he repeatedly watched the trailer before writing his part of the lyrics, adding that on the 21 August they recorded the song in less than two 2 hours.
“My lyrics basically explain how dangerous the streetlife in Namibia is and how difficult it can be to get out of the streets once you have chosen that life,” Ixa said.
‘My Ghosts’, is originally produced for #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm as part of the film score composed by Ginge, who is currently still writing some of the music.
The first episode of Dark Grown Production’s web series, Untitled premiered on YouTube on 2 September 2019.
Untitled stars Chantell Uiras, Rodelio Lewis, Freddy Mazila, Khadijah Mouton, Elizabeth Hamurenge and Fellipus Negodhi as artists in 21st century Windhoek. The artists, Joyce (Uiras), Adrien (Lewis), Martin (Mazila), Biola (Mouton), Leti (Hamurenge) and Zion (Negodhi) all practice different art forms (writer, model, visual artist, singer, poet, actress and comedian/MC) and are all trying to make it big.
At least that’s what we make up from Uiras’s monologue about moving to Windhoek in search of greener pastures. The monologue runs over the beautiful scenery of Windhoek, making for a beautiful piece of cinematography in the opening scene.
“We chase fame, cries of laughter, our names in lights. Even if it costs us everything.” –Untitled
Shot mostly at one of Windhoek’s most popular entertainment spots, Chopsi’s Bar, the show takes us through unfiltered, behind-the-scenes of what it means to be an artist struggling to make it in the ever-changing art scene of Windhoek.
This episode is largely focused on introducing the artists and we get to see the artists hangout and share drinks while being all smug about their individual artistic practices- really reminds you of people you might have met if you hang out at places like Chopsi’s.
The episode saw Lewis’s character Adrien take the stage as an aspiring singer, however, it cuts to another scene and we don’t get to see the actor stretching his vocal cords. The episode would’ve benefitted from having the ‘singer’ actually sing.
Untitled brings forth something fresh to the Namibian TV viewing scene and creators Lavinia Kapewasha and Jenny Kandenge deserve applause for the bold choices in how they chose to tell the story. While the execution of this episode was a little botched, the concept Kapewasha and Kandege used is great- it makes one excited to see the next episode!
The 10-episode web series will air on YouTube every week.
Watch the 15-minute episode below:
For other Untitled-related content, visit their YouTube page here.
Florian Schott’s short film, Baxu and the Giants will have its world premiere at the 2019 San Francisco Independent Short Film Festival. The festival is scheduled to run from 13 to 15 September at the New People Cinema, in Japantown, San Francisco.
Baxu and the Giants will be part of the festival’s ‘The Kids Are All Right?’ program which features films about kids on 14 September.
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. The film is themed around rhino poaching.
Schott said that while it is great that especially this year there are multiple Namibian films coming out, it is also important that Namibian filmmakers are afforded the chance to show them outside of the country.
“There is a high demand worldwide now for African content and us Namibian filmmakers should be a part of this conversation,” Schott said. “Our experiences and stories aren’t any less valid than the ones from Nigeria or South Africa.”
Schott expressed gratitude on being afforded the opportunity to play a part in shining a light on the difficult issue surrounding rhino poaching to American audiences. “We will continue working hard on bringing the film and message out into the world. Doing what we can as filmmakers to make a change and help in the fight against rhino poaching.”
Baxu and the Giants will be screened alongside Dekel Berenson’s Ashima, June Hucko’s Betta, Amber Sealey’s How Does It Start, Dana-Lee Mierowsky Bennett’s Sammy and Mariona Lloreta’s The Moon Never Dies.
The film will have its Namibian premiere on 19 September at Grove Mall, Windhoek.
The latest adaptation Fiela Se Kind, based on the bestselling novel by Dalene Matthee will have a Namibian premiere on Friday, 6 September 2019 at Windhoek’s Grove Mall.
Fiela Se kind stars Namibian-born actress Zenobia Kloppers as the hardworking Coloured woman, Fiela Komoetie, who takes in a lost Caucasian child and raises him as her own.
Nine years later, Benjamin is removed from her care and forced to live in the Knysna Forest with a family of woodcutters who claim that he is theirs. Separated by law and geography, Fiela and Benjamin spend the next decade trying to find each other while simultaneously coming to terms with their individual identities.
The Namibian premiere of the film will kick-off with a meet and greet with Kloppers from 19:00 and 19:45 followed by the screening of the film at 20:00.
Fila Se Kind also stars Wayne Smith as ‘Benjamin SR’, Luca Bornman as ‘Benjamin JR’, Wayne Van Rooyen as ‘Selling Komoetie’, Drikus Volshenck as ‘Elias Van Rooyen’, Cindy Swanepoel as ‘Barta Van Rooyen’, Chiara Roodt as ‘Nina JR’, Melissa Willering as ‘Nina SR’, Stefan Erasmus as ‘Tollie Komoetie SR’, Andre Stoltz as ‘Lange’, and many more.
The film is written and directed by Brett Michael Innes and produced under The Film Factory South Africa.
Fila Se Kind will show on 6 September at Ster-Kinekor Grove Mall, Cinema 5 and tickets are charged at N$150. Limited tickets are available and can be bought by contacting Clement: +264 816 352 781 or Jonathan: +264 811 280 599.
“We have a serial killer on our hands,” says tough cop Meisie Willemse (Elize de Wee) as she investigates a murder.
The release of #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm has been anticipated for over 5 years and now it is official, Tim Huebschle’s crime thriller is expected to premiere on 10 October 2019!
Apart from de Wee as the lead, the film features Armas Shivute, Pieter Greeff, Ralf Boll, Khadijah Mouton, Felicity Celento, Muhindua Kaura, Chantell Uiras, Chridon Panizza, Joalette de Villiers, Janu Craill, Ndinomholo Ndilula, Jarret Loubser, Brumelda Brandt and Rodelio Lewis.
Multi-award winning musician Lazarus Shiimi a.k.a Gazza also makes a cameo as a businessman in the film.
On 16 May 2019, Lavinia Kapewasha premiered her short film Iitandu (Pieces) at the National Theatre of Namibia. The film, set in post-apocalyptic Namibia, explores traditions vs modernity, food security, corporation vs tension all within the context of the country’s past, present and future.
With a screenplay and direction by Kapewasha, Iitandu philosophically probes humanity’s need to survive at all cost and deliberately ends in a cliffhanger. The lead character, Mwadinohmo’s (played by Kapewasha) entire arc in the story is to survive, at any costs, but when her survival is halted by someone who snakes their way into her plans, her instincts go into hyper-drive.
The film thrives on exceptionally beautiful scenery as the cinematography places the viewer in Namibia’s nightmare world. Coupled with equally extraordinary performances by Kapewasha, Charl Botha and Jennifer Timbo, Iitandu is definitely on the forefront of changing Namibia’s cinematic experience.
Namib Insider caught up with Kapewasha to talk more on the creation of the film.
What is the core message of the film? What do you want to achieve or have the audience grasp?
I am really into philosophy, ever-more fascinated by human behaviour, hence why I wanted the audience to leave with the question: Are we doing the right thing, as humans, as a species, as a community, with all that we have been biologically engineered to do? Our prime focus is to survive, so what can one do if someone’s actions hinge on your survival?
What was challenging about bringing the script of Iitandu to life?
As a writer, you can create the most unfathomable situation and orchestrate through the words, but once it’s down to bringing it into actuality, it may not go down as you wish. Space, location, costumes, parameters were all factors I never thought of while writing. Finding the right location was challenging, especially since I didn’t know the great ‘hidden’ locations Namibia has to offer. Seeing that this is a period piece, finding the materials, set items, costumes to create this world was tough. Where can you find the perfect dystopian shelter, that has enough grit, yet not too old in terms of style? Who can create costumes that will transport the viewer to then? Where can one buy futuristic enough items that add to the storyline and flair of the film? Does it give enough information? These questions haunted me as the only tell-tale to point towards the period was the set/costume/props that would give wind of that without having to make it so obvious. Also, how can you bring the viewer on this journey? How would you shoot it? Never-ending questions I was plagued with… too many questions. It all seemed over-ambitious…Despite the never-ending plaguing questions, having the right people, the right team to bring your vision to life was all that was needed.
How is this film bringing something new to Namibia’s film industry?
A film like this hasn’t been done before in Namibia, by a Namibian. I wanted to challenge myself, thereby challenging Namibian storytellers. It is opening up the scope of what we can do in the art of storytelling. We have the perfect landscape that is naturally gifted, therefore we must use it to its full potential. It serves as a reminder that anything is possible when we broaden our horizons. We should look to different genres and tones so we don’t oversaturate our small market with the sameness we see time to time. We have the power to show Namibia from a different lens.
Where to with Iitandu now that it has premiered?
Another screening is in talks. We are willing and excited about more Namibians to watch this film. Once screenings are over and hopefully festival runs, Iitandu will be available online for all to watch.
You also co-own a film production company. Are you working on your next project?
I am one of the founders of Dark Crown Productions alongside my partner Jenny Kandenge. Kandenge and I collaborated and created Dark Crown Productions to have two black women at the forefront of film/television and theatre. No doubt we have more projects in the pipeline. We aim to shine a light and tell stories. I cannot go into detail as yet, but we are working on projects. One of them, Untitled, will finally be able to be viewed this year. You just have to keep an eye out for more!
As the year is getting in the full climax, many film projects are wrapping up production and preparing to the premiere.
These are the ones that we’re looking forward to seeing the most:
Unarguably the most anticipated film in Namibia. This wonderfully authentic crime thriller, firmly rooted in Namibia follows a policewoman, who in her pursuit of investigating a series of murders is challenged by a ruthless reporter who exposes deep, dark secrets from her past to unhinge the case and ultimately, her life.
Director: Tim Huebschle Starring: Elize de Wee, Armas Shivute, Pieter Greeff, Ralf Boll. Expected Release: 10 October 2019
2. Baxu and The Giants
This live-action short film explores how rhino poaching triggers a social change in a village in Damaraland, told through the eyes of an 8-year-old girl, Baxu, who is in touch with nature and her own heritage. The film comes with a sense of poetry in the imagery; the music and the way the young hero tells her story, promising to take the viewer from the time of hunter-gatherers into the modern-day.
Director: Florian Schott Starring: Camilla Jo-Ann Daries, West Uarije, Steven Afrikaner, Wafeeq /Narimab, Anna Louw. Expected Release: 19 September 2019
This feature follows a lonely farmer who faces a devastating drought, trying to open a new chapter with his new bride after he gets her to marry him by inciting her family with money. The film promises themes of love, jealousy, loss, materialism, and betrayal. The film represents a unique and beautiful portrayal of a truly Namibian story along with an intimate depiction of Namibian culture.
Director: Oshoveli Shipoh Starring: David Ndjavera, Claudine de Groot, Hazel Hinda, Kadeen Kaoseb (KK). Expected Release: 30 August 2019
The short film combines stage and screen as a dancer finds herself lost in an old theatre, where she meets a carpenter who shows her something that turns her reality upside down.
Director: Senga Brockerhoff Starring: Odile Gertze, David Ndjavera Release: 16 May 2019
5. The White Line
This feature film is about a love story that plays out within the context of Apartheid, following two people who found each other and fell in love regardless of the colour of their skin, their cultural or socio-economic backgrounds. The film explores Namibia’s history and aims to visually share the pain and subsequently, love, in Namibia’s past.
Simon’s wife borrowed money from a loan shark. Now Simon has to pay back the debt.
He leaves his rural home to find work in the ruthless city. (Length: 17 mins 42 secs)
A story of love and betrayal (Length: 8 mins 25 secs)
Where There’s Smoke
An ex-gunman is sent to rescue a hostage from a dangerous criminal but unknown to him he gets followed by a mysterious man. (Length: 10mins 17secs)
Everything Happens for a Reason
The film follows a man whose girlfriend is leaving him, there is a strange man following and threatening him and his phone gets stolen. He tries to make things right but whatever he does he seems to be getting into more and more trouble. His actions take him to the Christus Kirche overlooking Windhoek, where he faces all his new enemies. When the police arrive at the scene he seems to be saved – or is he? (Length: 14mins 32secs)
This film explores the balancing act of two worlds. Vezuva returns home to find she is expected to marry her cousin. She is familiar with the custom but would like a compromise, as she loves someone else. (Length: 18mins)
Now that production for the Namibian feature film, The White Line is wrapped, Namib Insider sat down with the film’s director, Desiree Kahikopo to talk more on the filming process.
The White Line is your directorial debut. How was the story born? Why was this the story you decided to tell?
The White Line was a story I came up with during 2016, after watching a show on the American civil rights movement. Americans talk about their past and their struggles and all the stories that came with it, while us as Namibians, despite our rich past, don’t talk about ours, at least not visually as much. I came up with the title ‘The White Line’ and wrote it down in my notebook and left it at that for a while. After that, I saw something on Facebook on the old-location uprising and that’s when I came up with the story for The White Line, but when I came up with it, it wasn’t the love story it turned out to be. I told Micheal about the story I had written and the next year, in 2017, we decided to work on it. During that time, Girley Jazama conducted an interview with a child of an interracial couple and the story of his parents was really inspiring and upon some more research, we decided that we wanted to go this route and tell a love story in a time of apartheid. At the time I wasn’t thinking of directing at all. I was actually trying to come up with a director for the film, although I knew directing was always something I wanted to do, I didn’t think I was qualified or ready to do it yet. But one day I was driving to Windhoek and I heard from within me ‘why don’t you direct’? I swear it was literally the Holy Spirit. At first, I was like nope, I wouldn’t know what to do or where to begin, but then I asked myself if not now then when. So I just went for it.
Take us through the casting process. Was it easy or were there challenges.
For the lead character Sylvia, I knew already when I came up with the initial story that I wanted Girley for the role. Before The White Line, I was writing another story and for that, I was thinking of casting Girley for one particular character, so for The White Line, there was nobody else who could do Silvia justice in my eyes. For the other characters, I knew what I was looking for, but I didn’t really know if I would find them. At one point, Girley and I went to go and sit at Joe’s Beer House scouting for the white cast. Finding the right actors to play Anne-Marie and Pieter was a bit challenging, especially because of the nature of the story, but after going through a series of others, Sunet van Wyk and Jan-Barend Scheepers were suggested to me and when I saw them I knew they are perfect and exactly what I was looking for. Explaining the characters to them and seeing them take them on was awesome. For the characters Unotjari and Jacobine, we had to go through a series of actors too and then we decided on casting Mervin Cheez Uahupirapi and Vanessa Kamatoto. Charl Botha and a few others came through a casting agency, but we knew Charl was perfect for the role of Jan.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the specific production challenges you faced during filming? How big was your crew and how long did you film?
We had about 28 cast and crew members excluding the extra’s, but from the get-go, the challenge was always financing, mostly because the film was a period piece. Because of that, we knew that we were going to go over budget and we had hoped to raise the money that we needed before we wrapped, but that proved difficulties and still proves to be difficult. We had to film in 14 days and had to make sure that we don’t exceed that and we filmed in three different towns; Usakos, Karibib and Okahandja, so the scheduling had to be right. The cast and crew really did a great job handling the changes in locations and towns, the extras jumped in and were great, the other production challenges were a difference in opinion here and there but nothing hectic really.
This film is set in the 1960’s apartheid era. What were some of the challenges of making a ‘period piece’ in the recent past? How important was it to keep to a 1960s theme and how well is it incorporated in the film?
Well firstly the film is set in Windhoek, but we couldn’t really film in Windhoek because it has really developed over the years. Katutura is really development too, so that was challenging finding suitable locations that for at least a block you could work with, the roads, the streets, the houses both exterior and interior in Windhoek was difficult, so we had to go look outside in the smaller towns. The wardrobe was challenging; to find old South African police uniform and vehicles or just old cars like batons, and so forth was expensive to rent. It was really important to keep to the theme throughout the film in everything the audience will see, that it draws them into the time and space into the era and the lives of Sylvia and Pieter and those around them. We had to carefully check everything; wardrobe, houses (inside and outside), streets, cars, the accents, the languages, the food they ate, the things they drank everything, it wasn’t easy but we did it to the best of what we could do with what we had to work with. To say the least, I am very proud and happy with how the film turned out.
What were your goals for the film when you were starting out and what are the impact goals for the film now that it’s done?
When I started with this film I knew that I wanted it to travel outside Namibia, and I also wanted it to travel across all parts of Namibia. I wanted to help usher in a new dawn in the Namibian film industry, to break barriers in the industry not just in Namibia but in Africa as well. I had set my mind that I was going to submit it to international film festivals both major and minor, have the film first travel at festivals (and it will), get distribution in cinema’s around Southern African, East Africa and hopefully West African as well. I have spoken to a few distributors who are interested. We are looking to gain European and North American distribution, but we need the finished film because the distributors want to see a finished film and then the goal was to submit it to the Oscars. I really just want it to be one of the successful and recognised films out of Namibia and shine a light on the Namibian film industry. I started submitting recently the work-in-progress to festivals, praying to Jesus we get in.
How far is post-production for The White Line and when can we expect to see the film?
The film is complete, we just need that additional funding to get it out, and right now because the plan is to do the festival circuit first, we do not have a definite date for premier or release as of yet.
You recently delivered a presentation titled ‘Namibia: A Unique Voice within the African Cinematic Movement’ at the Berlinale Africa Hub. How important is a representation of the Namibian film industry, especially since its picking up momentum? How do we grow our industry and make it competitive with the world?
Representation is very important, I learned that more being at Berlinale, because we get to speak and let our voices be heard. We get to be seen as an industry that’s standing and active and as a people and shift whatever stereotype is out there about us. We want co-productions, collaborations, we want for things to change and contribute to that change that’s taking place. I have learned recently that we need to be in those places markets, festivals and have those discussions with fellow filmmakers and form those relationships because you can’t really form a relationship from afar. People will only assume about us unless we are present. Some filmmakers I met and distributors didn’t really know that Namibia has a film industry. So being there and talking to people and forming those relationships and learning from each other can only help build you as an individual and then the industry itself. We need private individuals to invest in film and corporate companies to fund films and we need collaboration and co-productions amongst our fellow Africans as well international producers and investors and we also need to build a cinema-going audience. You are right, Namibia’s film industry is picking up momentum and that’s really great, but I think we also need to kind of know where we want to go and how we want to get there, listening to presentations from East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda), Nigeria and South Africa you get a sense of who they are and where they want to be. First and foremost, we need to start looking at the film as a business that needs to sustain itself and us, story development, we hear that some stories take years before they are made, I am not saying take years but make sure your story is airtight. We need producers that understand the business of film and not just film as an art form, has a distribution and marketing plan/strategies and learn that it doesn’t happen overnight. I had to learn that doing The White Line, and working hard and working together selflessly.
The first teaser for #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm (2019) is out now.
Director Tim Huebschle’s upcoming crime thriller follows tough cop Meisie Willemse who has a dark secret buried in her past. As Willemse is busy solving a string of murders her personal history starts interfering with the investigation.
Check out the teaser to the Collective Productions produced film here: