Tag Archives: Philippe Talavera

Film Review: ‘Kapana’

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

Rating: ★★★

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.

Simon Hanga in Kapana

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relationship, especially in Namibia which still criminalizes the sexual relationships between two men under the outdated sodomy law.

Simon Hanga and Adriano Visagie in Kapana.

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.

Three Years After It’s Initial Release, Kukuri Gains Traction

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.

George Antonio as ‘Chindo’ in Kukuri (Image: Provided)

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.

Watch: Official Trailer Of Kapana

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.

Official Poster of Kapana (2020)

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.

Watch the exciting trailer here:

Kapana (2020) Official Trailer

Kukuri Selected At Garden Route International Film Festival

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.

A wedding scene in ‘Kukuri’ (Image: provided)

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.

‘Salute!’ Earns Accolades At Five Continents International Film Festival

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.

Odile and Adriano getting ready for a scene
Adriano Visagie and Odile Gertze on the set of Salute! getting reading for a scene.

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.”

(IMAGES: Provided)

Philippe Talavera On 2020 AMVCA Nomination & Being Shunned by Local Film Industry

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.

Lead actors Hanty Kashongo and George Antonio
‘Kukuri’ lead actors Hanty Kashongo and George Antonio (Images: Provided)

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.

Kukuri wedding scene
A wedding scene in ‘Kukuri’

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.”

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Philippe Talavera at a film premiere in Windhoek

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.

Kapana: Exclusive First Look At Philippe Talavera’s New Romantic-Drama

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 Mikiros Foreversun small
BTS: Adriano Visagie, Mikiros Garoes and Foreversun Haiduwah in Kapana. (Images: Provided)

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.

Actor Simon Hanga
Simon Hanga in Kapana

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.

Shooting pic small
Cast and crew of Kapana at work

“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!

KAPANA NOTES:

  • Genre: Romantic-Drama
  • Release Date: 6 August 2020
  • Produced/Financed: ViiV/ Positive Action & Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO)
  • Length: 45-60 minutes long
  • Director: Philippe Talavera
  • Screenplay: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
  • Editor: Haiko Boldt
  • Cinematography: Kit Hoffman