By Ibilola Odunlami
Windhoek – Over 100 people filled the auditorium at the Goethe Institut on Monday to witness what a group of filmmakers, writers and actors put together in a small space of time.
The three-day KinoNamia film festival took place over the nation’s Heroes Day weekend where more than 60 participants grouped together to create 10 different films in no more than 48 hours.
Launched in February last year by Hannah Lesch and Julia Odoj, 2018 ushered in the festival’s second run with a mixture of stories and talents, including original soundtracks made especially for two of the films, by local guitarist, Menros Harakuta and violinist, Jack Domingo.
Filmmakers produced a range of stories and themes, from a documentary featuring Windhoek’s streetkids, to gender-based violence issues, handicapped superheroes, and a comedy skit centred on the popular Namibian barbecue dish known as ‘kapana’.
Andreas Elifas, videographer and head of the organising committee, said the aim of the festival is to grow Namibia’s filmmaking industry and for more people to start looking for filming activities to take part in.
Elifas, started his film career in 2017, after attending a workshop hosted by the Namibian Film Commission, one of the sponsors for the event.
“We plan on looking for more platforms to premiere the videos that the participants shot, we basically want to be like a supporting team for filmmakers,” Elifas stated.
In addition, the festival’s other aims are to allow amateurs to discover their filmmaking talent, to connect different filmmakers and creatives around the country (according to Elifas, there is no other such platform), and to groom talent. For example, one of the issues stressed at the festival was resourcefulness and creativity with whatever is available.
“We noticed that a lot of people in Namibia want to jump into things like this, but they aren’t comfortable and think they need to get expensive equipment to shoot,” stated Elifas, “but most of the people were able to shoot with basic cameras and cellphones.”
Participation fee was R20, therefore, allowing participants a more cost-effective chance to discover their talents, according to Elifas. Overall, the festival received good reviews from those who attended. Apart from a few complaints on catering, participants commented that the festival had exceeded their expectations.
“When I saw this, I didn’t really understand what it was about. But I always had an interest in acting and I wrote a lot of scripts, I just didn’t know how to write scripts meant for movie production,” said Akathingo Kapuka, one of the leading actors in a short film about a young man in an abusive relationship.
Kapuka said through attending the festival, he was able to come into contact with many other creatives, including cameramen, writers, directors and others who studied film.
“I had quite an awesome experience. I wouldn’t mind doing it again and it was a good opportunity for me to network.” Kapuka is one of the many attendees who hoped to venture further into filmmaking as a result of the festival experiences.
“I think with enough time and budgeting we can do great things with the youth; the people that I got to work with especially,” Kapuka remarked. “Overall it was an awesome experience; I’d recommend it to anybody.”
To grow the local filming industry, Elifas advises that more enterprises start looking into investing in the Namibian film industry.
He believes that large companies, as well as small and medium enterprises, can benefit from supporting and engaging with filmmakers from around the country to create advertising content for their social media platforms.
“We have a lot of talent in the country but not really a lot of platforms,” Elifas iterated.
“So let’s create the platforms.”