Tag Archives: Salute

‘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.

Adriano Visagie Nominated In Burkina Faso For ‘Salute’

Namibian actor, Adriano Visagie, has been nominated in the Best Actor Southern Africa category at the 2019 Sotigui Awards for his performance in Salute!, a film produced and directed by Philippe Talavera.

The Academy of Sotigui works to recognise and valorise the profession of actors in African cinema and the diaspora. In partnership with the Pan-African festival of cinema and Television of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the 4th Sotigui Awards is held under the theme ‘Co-productions: Major challenges for the development of African cinema’.

“This is an incredible honour for us all!” said Talavera.

“The FESPACO and the Sotigui Awards are much-acclaimed institutions. Adriano Visagie, together with the rest of the cast, did a fantastic work with Salute! and deserves such international recognition. It will open doors not only for him but for other actors in Namibia, as this is the first time a Namibian actor is nominated by the Academy,” Talavera said.

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Adriano Visagie, Dawie Engelbrecht and Philippe Talavera behind-the-scenes of Salute!. (Image: Provided)

Salute!,  which didn’t receive any nomination at the recently held 5th Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, has already received international recognition when it was nominated as Best Film: Southern Africa at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards in Nigeria. The film deals with living in a correctional facility as an inmate, tackling issues on sex, condoms, violence and family.

Visagie, who upon receiving the news of the nomination said he was in awe and very much humbled, is nominated alongside South Africa-born, Canadian-based actress Kandyse McClure, for her performance in Sew The Winter To My Skin and Emmanuel Mbirimi from Zimbabwe for The letter.

The Sotigui Awards will take place on Saturday, November 30, 2019, at canal Olympia Yennenga in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Update: 30 November- Visagie won the Best Actor Southern Africa Award. SEE MORE.

‘Salute’: 8 Questions with director Philippe Talavera

Philippe Talavera’s movie ‘Salute’ has been nominated in the Best Movie: Southern Africa category of the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA). This is the first nomination the film has received.

Lead actors

Talavera says ‘Salute’ is for sure very special in the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) sphere, as most of the youth organisations’ previous films deal with teenage issues. According to him, they worked for two years in correctional facilities, interacting, listening and learning from inmates. Explaining the success and approval rate of the film, Talavera adds that the film is one of the organisation’s most researched film, to date.

As part of the built-up to the AMVCA, ‘Salute’ will be screened at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) on 15 August at 6pm – entrance is N$40. Tickets can be bought at FNCC in advance or on the day, however, there are limited seats.

I sat down with Talavera to get into the detail of his film, among other things:

Selected 6-1

Can you name some of OYO’s most successful films?

‘Pap and milk’ has been very successful as many could relate to the main character. ‘Now that I can talk about it’ dealt with the difficult issue of abuse by a family member and won best male actor at the 2014 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards (NTFA) for Dawie Engelbrecht, (also starring in ‘Salute’). ‘Stinky boy’ dealing with children’s rights was also successful and won best female actor at the NTFA 2014 for Anna Louw.

Where did the inspiration for ‘Salute’ come from?

While we worked in correctional facilities, inmates opened up to us and started to share their stories and their experiences. We met quite a few inmates whose story inspired the character of Carlito. Living in a correctional facility is difficult. It is a difficult environment and we tend to forget sometimes that inmates are first and foremost, people. We wanted to tell their stories, to give them a voice. Also as an organization, OYO strongly believes that condoms should be made available in correctional facilities. Regardless of what we think about gay sex, we need to give people a chance to protect themselves. There is no point in hiding behind morals while people get infected with HIV. Inmates don’t spend their whole life behind bars: they get out eventually. What is the point of having people going out with the virus, and further spreading it? We need to be pragmatic. Most inmates are not gay, but there are no women around. So for those who choose to have sex, or are forced to have sex, there should be protection for them.

Who in ‘Salute’ is most like their character/s?

Nobody really. Actors did fantastic work so their characters are believable. ‘The General’ and his ‘Gang’ spent a lot of time with ex-inmates working on their characters while Adriano Visagie, playing Carlito, had to find the right balance between being naïve and fitting into that environment. Odile Muller, who plays Julia, Carlito’s girlfriend, also did a fantastic job.

Shooting 2

How long did the production of ‘Salute’ take?

It took over 18 months of research and writing of the script. The shooting happened over eleven days and the post-production took another six months.

What was the budget for this film? Who funded it?

The budget, excluding the research part, was roughly N$500,000.00. The production of the film was made possible thanks to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).

Shooting 4

What would it mean if this film wins at the awards?

It would be absolutely amazing. Oftentimes we are not considered for those awards, as our films deal with social issues that are not considered arty enough. This particular film dealing with issues around gay sex, rape and life in correctional facilities is a particularly difficult film. It would be amazing for Namibia and for Africa if the film could win. Those topics are taboo in many parts of Africa, they deal with a sensitive issue in Namibia. It could become an inspiration to many. It would also put Namibia on the map. We have stories to tell. We matter.

Odile 3 (1)

How did you get started in the film industry?

A little by accident to be honest. I come from the theatre and dance environment. I like the stage and its three-dimensionality. However touring a play is expensive: you need a cast and crew, transport, accommodation, logistics, dealing with sick actors, etc. I realized that while producing a DVD is expensive too, once it is done, it is easier to showcase everywhere. With our films, we can reach many more schools than with our plays. That’s why as an organization we moved away from theatre productions and got involved in film productions.

Who are the filmmakers that inspire your work today?

There are so many. I have always been impressed by the creativity of filmmakers such as David Lynch and The Wachowski (Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski) for instance. They manage to create universes that are absolutely amazing.