Namibia Film Week Begins

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Making films can be a bit of a mission. This understatement holds doubly true if you happen to be a filmmaker in a fledgling industry like Namibia's, trying to tell cinematic stories that are up to international standards both narratively and technically.

From today until Friday, the Namibia Film Week, initiated by the Filmmakers Association of Namibia (FAN) and funded by the Namibia Film Commission (NFC), will be addressing the promising and the problematic in what they hope will be the first in a series of annual film weeks comprised of a series of panel discussions.

Primarily concerned with formulating possible solutions to challenges within film financing, distribution, production, direction, writing, acting, training and copyright as well as addressing issues of access to locations by local and international film crews, Namibia Film Week hopes to be an informative and empowering meeting of minds for the Namibian public who have a vested interest in local film.

Taking place from July 9 to 13 between 09h00 and 17h00 at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) Cinema, the panel discussions will be led by some of the leading voices in the local industry, while their 'Shared Experiences' segments will offer actor, director, writer and producer insight into the recently completed products of the NFC short film project.

"Anybody who is currently working in the Namibian film industry, potential future investors from the business community, aspiring filmmakers and members of the public who have a vested interest in Namibian film are very welcome," says Namibia Film Week technical and public relations co-coordinator, Tim Huebschle.

"Through some of these discussions, the public will learn what we have to deal with in order to get our films made and why our industry has not undergone a major boom as of yet."

In his professional capacity Huebschle will also be moderating a panel discussion titled, 'Training Institutions and what the Industry needs'.

"This is an important discussion as we need to establish what formal and informal training can be accessed in Namibia and if it is actually appropriate to our context," says Huebschle. "The question we need to ask is: can experienced filmmakers further their skills and is the knowledge imparted to film students of a high standard?"

Thematically, Namibia Film Week will be held in homage to N!xau Coma, the lead actor from 'The Gods Must Be Crazy' film series, who was known as the most famous Namibian film actor.

"Even though it was his performance that made the movie gain international acclaim, he was only paid an acting fee of U$300," says Huebschle.

"The first 'The Gods Must Be Crazy' (1980) went on to gross close to U$100 million internationally. This imbalance is symbolic of many current imbalances (not just monetary) in the Namibian film industry and in honouring N!xau for his pioneering efforts, we aspire to pave the way forward to a greater, fully regulated local film sector."

In addition and as a proud highlight of Namibia Film Week, are the official premieres of the seven locally produced short films funded by the NFC. "For the first time in Namibian history we will see the concurrent release of seven completely different films," says Huebschle. "This will enhance our cultural identity as we now have more reference points of who we are and what stories we have to tell."

Unfortunately, and despite originally slated to premiere in April, the seven films are not available for public viewing just yet and the scheduled premieres are invite only. However, a national roll-out of the films in various towns across Namibia is on the cards and Namibia Film Week organiser, Senga Brockerhoff advises all to watch the press for details.

Namibia Film Week panel discussions run from today until Friday at the FNCC Cinema and are open to the public. No cover charges or registration fees apply. Namibia Film Week requests that anyone who wishes to participate register with Senga Brockerhoff at 085 628 9974 or namfilmweek (@) gmail.com as seating is limited by the venue. For discussion panel daily topics and schedules click here: