A LACK of finance, bad attitude towards the arts and massive corruption has resulted in a bleak outlook for the Namibia Film/Cinema Industry, a situation that is bound to cripple it, according to multi-award winning producer, Nghidipo Nangolo.
Nangolo, one of the producers of ‘Where Others Wavered’ and winner of ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Editing’ for ‘Stay Master, Township from Old Location’, revealed the frustrations that most filmmakers encounter.
Since independence he said, Namibia’s Film Industry has remained inactive and has failed to provoke local producers to make films and provide services to quench the thirst of cinema lovers.
Despite several Hollywood blockbusters finding their film location niche in the vast Namib Desert, including “GallowWalker” starring Wesley Snipes, “Beyond Borders” featuring Angelina Jolie and “Flight of the Phoenix”, Namibian cinema to date has made far less tangible strides in oiling its industry.
Nangolo lamented that despite Government spending taxpayers’ money in the amount of N$100 million on “Where others wavered” - now renamed “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation” - the public still felt cheated.
“A lot of money was spent, yet the movie has no impact at all. It’s hidden somewhere.
“Government must see film as a form of other arts. If you bring politics into arts, you make it difficult for people to work. We need a correct attitude towards arts.”
Nangolo admits that local music and the fashion industries have overshadowed the film industry because, “It’s expensive to do movies, yet relevant authorities are awarding contracts to people who are only in good books with them. The private sector is not interested as either.”
He said that instead of local filmmakers displaying their productions at international film festivals such as Cannes in France or the Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Namibian film producers were looking to Germany “since it’s the only country where there are willing partners and sponsors.”
Apart from a few low budget short films aired at the Franco-Namibia Cultural Centre and Warehouse Theatre, Namibia’s film industry is struggling to make its presence felt.
Irmgard Schreiber, Director of the Wild Cinema film festival in Namibia, earlier lamented to the Washington Post about the shortage of homegrown productions in an industry dominated by Hollywood money, personalities and storytelling styles.
Most of the Namibian films in the Namibia’s Wild Cinema annual festival are short features and documentaries rather than full-length, big-budget productions capable of reaching movie theatres around the world.
“There are a lot of stories to be done here,” she said. “It’s a pity more Africans aren’t doing more of these stories.”