Tag Archives: short film

‘Baxu and the Giants’ available to stream globally

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).

Film Review: ‘Baxu and the Giants’

Director: Florian Schott
Screenplay: Florian Schott & Girley Jazama
Cast: Camilla Jo-Ann Daries, Wafeeq /Narimab, Anna Louw, Robert Hara#gaeb, West Uarije, Steven Afrikaner, Ashwyn Mberi

Rating: ★★★★

If you were worried Baxu and the Giants is an overhyped, terrible film, don’t be, because  Baxu and the Giants is a remarkable short film that lives up to its expectation.

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Camilla Jo-Ann Daries and Wafeeq /Narimab in Baxu and the Giants. (Image: Baxu and the Giants)

This emotional 29-minute long short film directed by Florian Schott follows 9-year old !ubaxu (Camilla Jo-Ann Daries), who lives in impoverished Damaraland with her alcoholic grandmother (Anna Louw) and older brother Khata (Wafeeq /Narimab). Khata is offered a ‘golden’ opportunity involving rhino poaching by his neighbour (Robert Hara#gaeb). Khata affords his family an easier lifestyle by being involved in rhino poaching.

When looking at the synopsis, one could more or less predict the ending to Baxu and the Giants, however, the film has a sincerity challenging us not to dismiss it, thanks largely to exceptional acting capabilities by its charming 10-year-old lead, Daries and her co-stars and the film’s production value. Daries literally breaks into her first role by delivering her character with the contentment, empathy and curiosity of a child, which allows her to effectively bring out the emotional core of the film.

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Camilla Jo-Ann Daries and Anna Louw in Baxu and the Giants (Image: Baxu and the Giants)

While allowing us to witness the daily reality of rhino poaching, Schott and his co-writer Girley Jazama moulded the characters of Baxu and the Giants into real people who are easily identifiable and not just plothole fillers. Baxu’s deep relationship with wildlife is highlighted through recurring dreams Baxu has of King Rhino (voiced by Ashywn Mberi) warning her about her brother’s wrongdoing. These moments are perfectly devised in live-action animation.

Director of Photography Kit Hoffmann and Editor Robert Scott made sure the film delivers good camera and editing work from the opening with an epic cross-cut scene of the time of the hunter-gatherers falling in-sync with prehistoric rock paintings, leading up to the very end.

With the most interior scenes shot in Windhoek, set design by Tanya Stroh convincingly helped in telling the story of a poor north-western Namibia household. Despite some inept acting moments from conversations between Khata and Baxu, Baxu and the Giants is a good quality short film with a positive message.

The film is produced by Andrew Botelle and executively produced by Willem Odendaal (Legal Assistance Namibia).

Mikiros Garoes Explores Own Sentimentality In Her Romantic Comedy, ‘The Date’

Rating: ★★★

Mikiros Garoes wrote and directed The Date, a light romantic comedy short film set in 21st century Windhoek. The short first screened at the College of the Arts on June 1st 2019. At its core, The Date is a pretty typical romantic comedy: The workaholic friend, her concerned friends and of course, the love-seeking bachelor. Shot at the Old Location Bar & Restaurant in Windhoek with a budget of N$17 000, The Date brings something new to the area of romcoms, from a Namibian perspective.

The pacing of the story is quite good and while there are many funny moments, Garoes missed the opportunity to really dig deeper into the hilarity Namibia’s dating scene has to offer.

For a film with very little funding, The Date’s execution was surprisingly good. Cinematographer and editor Thabiso Dube did well in giving the film a clean outline which represents the film’s tone and message quite well. Lavinia Kapewasha, Hazel Hinda and Bret Kamwi proved to be a recipe for success with their respective character’s charismatic, funny, and vulnerable personalities.

Namib Insider talked to Garoes on the making of her self funded film, casting and her role in the film business.

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Thabiso Dube and Mikiros Garoes behind the scenes of ‘The Date’ (Image: Provided)

Tell us about where this story evolved from. The inspiration and how long were you working on this story before you decided to shoot it?

It was a random idea I had one day that was fueled even further by my own observations on the dating scene in Windhoek, which is rough. It’s rough in deez streets!

The Date has an amazing cast. Tell us about your casting process.

The casting process was fun and easy for me. Lavinia and Hazel are both good friends of mine and I have worked with both of them before. I actually wrote the script with them in mind so there were no other actresses I even considered casting. Bret was the only cast member I didn’t know personally before the film. Initially, I had another actor for the role who dropped out, so when looking for another actor, the both Lavinia and Hazel highly recommended Bret. It was clear from our first meeting that he fit the role like a glove and he ended up killing it, even bringing new colours to the character.

Were you a fan of romcoms growing up? Which ones were you trying to reference with The Date?

I am the biggest fan of romcoms, even to this day. I am such a cornball! As unrealistic as they can be, they are so much fun to watch and write. I have always been a hopeless romantic. There no specific romcom that I referenced but I guess The Date leans more towards a somewhat realistic rom-com in terms of the unpredictability of going on a blind date with a stranger; you never know what to expect.

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Actresses Hazel Hinda and Lavinia Kapewasha pose for a picture in between filming. (Image: Provided)

If you could give the three ingredients for the perfect rom-com, what would they be?

Chemistry/Acting/Believability: No matter how good the writing or production is, if the leads can’t convince the audience that they’re in love then there’s no point. They have to vibe, you have to believe them as a partnership or a couple. It has to be written in such a way that you want them to end up together, the audience has to root for them.
Story: The story or the journey has to be strong. Most romcom stories are basically the same. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they break up and in the end, they get back together. It has been the same story recycled time and time again but it all comes down to how you tell the story.
Music: Music heightens emotions and gives you the sense you’re in that moment as the character or with the character. It has the power to convey what words can’t. Two characters kissing over a candlelit dinner is cute but them kissing over a candlelit dinner to My Funny Valentine puts you in that moment of how euphoric it feels to kiss someone you love.

In any romantic comedy, the two leads have to connect. How as a director and writer do you make sure that the two leads have chemistry?

I am a big fan of rehearsals, not just to get ready before filming but for the actors to get to know each other as people. Between and after rehearsals there is usually some downtime to chat, fool around and get to know each other, but every situation can be different as well. There are times where people just don’t vibe for whatever reason.

You have also done your fair share of acting. What have you learned about directors as an actor, and what have you learned about actors as a director?

I think about the directors I have worked with who brought the best out of me. I am a sensitive soul so I work best with directors who are not aggressive and that I feel safe with, that’s what I want to be as a director; someone who actors can feel safe and comfortable with. I am what you call an ‘actors director’. The most fun about being a director is working with actors because we speak the same language, we are in the same WhatsApp group. It feels like a group of misfits and outcasts that found home with each other. I understand actors because I am one.

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Actor Bret Kamwi in-between filming.

How do you feel your experience of being in both positions has affected your craft?

It has 100% strengthened my craft because I have been on both ends of the spectrum which makes you a more well rounded overall filmmaker. But directing has really changed the game for me on a personal level because I was initially intimidated by directing, but once I got over that fear, it completely opened me up and I fell even more in love with all things film. When you’re an actor you just got to know your lines and not come to work with a hangover (or unprepared) for the most part. Also, directing can be exhausting but you only come out better in the end.

Missed The Date? The Date will be screened at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek alongside Senga Brockerhoff’s Encore, Lavinia Kapewasha’s Itandu and Jana von Hase & Naomi Beukes’s The Wind on Your Skin on 21 June 2019. Tickets are charged at N$80.

Lavinia Kapewasha on Her Post-Apocalyptic Short Film- Iitandu

Rating: ★★★

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.

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Lavinia Kapewasha (Image: Provided)

 

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.

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Behind The Scenes of Iitandu. (Image: Facebook)

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!

Watch Iitandu‘s Trailer here.

Tick-Tock Short Film: Interview With Director Glen-Nora Tjipura

(Images: Shilongo Visuals)

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Cast and Crew of Tick-Tock at the recent film screening in Windhoek.

One of the most powerful tools activists and nonprofits can use to shape public opinion and galvanizing public support for causes is the power of film. ‘Tick-Tock’, a short film funded by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and executively produced by the Women’s Action for Development (WAD) puts violence against women in the spotlight.

The short spreads the message many gender-based violence victims are and should continue to gear toward. The message is simple: Get out and get help. Shot with a budget of under N$100 000, ‘Tick Tock’ follows Anna (played by Ebba Shambwila) as she struggles to get out of an abusive relationship with her partner, Theo (played by Adonis Jossobs). The film was co-written, co-directed and co-produced by Glen-Nora Tjipura and Ndakalako Shilongo. It was shot by Sylvanus Valombola and edited by Tabizo Dube.

Watch the trailer here.

Namib Insider caught up with Tjipura to discuss the inspiration for the film, collaborations and her film directing debut.

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Ndakalako Shilongo and Glen-Nora Tjipura

In a sense, the film brings forth the importance of self-care. Why did you see it fit to tell the story with this type of spin?

I am the biggest advocate of taking care of yourself. I am into personal growth and I would like to tell stories that can empower us and also show the potential that we have to overcome anything.

How much of this film comes from a personal place?

Well personally I have not been in any physical abuse relationship, but I have had my fair share of emotional abuse and manipulation. Also, I have witnessed friends and even some family members go through what we depicted in the film.

What was the most challenging thing about making the movie?

Oh, there are so many, but I think the most challenging factor was time, we had a short span of time do make the movie and we had to make do with what we had.

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Ebba Shambwila and Adonis Jossobs.

This was your film directorial debut. How important is this to you, personally, and to your career?

I still can’t believe I made a movie, that I wrote, directed and produced, someone still needs to pinch me. It is an important stepping stone into being an all-around storyteller because I am not only an actor, I am also all these other hats that I wore during the movie. Watching your concept go from paper to screen is the most surreal feeling ever.

You have collaborated on the film with Ndakalako Shilongo. Is it important to collaborate with your colleagues? How do collaborations benefit the career of filmmakers?

We co-wrote, co-produced, co-directed, and it was amazing because first of all we are wearing different hats and so it was easier to do all the different jobs because were she couldn’t be, I could. And vice-versa. I think people should collaborate more often, it makes the job much easier plus creatively it becomes a much stronger project.

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Namibian short film, ‘Another Sunny Day’ headed to Rhode Island

Another Sunny Day’ a short non-fiction film by Tim Huebschle has been selected as part of the 12th edition of the Short Short Story Film Festival, which will take place in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, November 24th.

Highlighting albinism, the film tells the story of how life must be for someone whose skin has no protection from the sun, living in a country that averages over 80% sunshine during any given year.

With several hundred quality submissions from more than seventy countries, ‘Another Sunny Day’ made it as one of the selected 36 films, which will be showcased in two programme of 18 films each. The film will be showcased under the Heartstrings programme.

Thirty countries from six continents are represented, with 26 films making their U.S. premieres, including eight world premieres. 

Festival goers vote on their three favorite films to determine award winners in each program. A panel of Spoiler Alert Radio interviewees judge the films and selects the best in each program. Commissioned custom art objects created by past festival participants are presented to the winners.

The film previously made it to the top 10 finalists of the Discovery Channel ‘Don’t Stop Wondering’ Award.

Huebschle submitted the film to over 150 festivals using FilmFreeway, an online festival submission platform that allows you to filter out festivals according to entrance fees, etc. Of those 150 plus submissions thus far 15 were successful. Roughly 10%.

Tim Huebschle

“My goal was to basically spend no money on submitting ‘Another Sunny Day’ to festivals, because the movie was made on zero budget,” Huebschle says.

This is what the films’ journey has looked like thus far with 15 festival screenings all over the world:

• TriForce Short Film Festival
London
United Kingdom
December 2, 2017

• Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival
Sao Paulo, Brazil
August 26, 2018

• Copenhagen ShortFilm Festival
Copenhagen, Denmark
November 8, 2018

• Gold Coast Film Festival / Commonwealth Games 2018
Surfers Paradise, Australia
April 4, 2018

• Jozi Film Festival / Discovery Channel
Johannesburg, South Africa
September 21, 2017

• Festival del Cinema Africano, d’Asia e America Latina
Milan, Italy
March 21, 2018

• Silicon Valley African Film Festival
San José, United States
October 5, 2018

• AfryKamera
Warsaw, Poland
April 21, 2018

• Shorts@Fringe
Azores, Portugal
May 25, 2018

• Dieciminuti Film Festival
Ceccano, Italy
March 20, 2018

• International Changing Perspectives Short Film Festival
Istanbul, Turkey
April 10, 2018

• International Film Festival on Disability (FIFH)
Cannes, France
September 16, 2017

• InShort Film Festival
London, United Kingdom
September 14, 2018
• Lake International PanAfrican Film Festival
Kisumu, Kenya
November 11, 2017

• KRAF
Rijeka, Croatia
December 2, 2017

“The film came from a place of passion and the greatest reward is to see that the passion transcends our national borders,” Huebschle says.