Female directors set short-film benchmark
By Jeoffrey Mukubi
OFTEN we hear on the grapevine that Namibian films aren’t up to standard, or that there aren’t enough local films to watch or places to watch them. Amongst the complaints is that some- times many of them are just plain boring. But is that really the case?
This past week Confidente attended a screening of four short-films that were written and directed by women. In an industry seemingly dominated by the men, it was refreshing and invigorating to see women take the lead. The films were funded by the Namibia Film Commission (NFC), which de- spite many setbacks, continues to support the development of the local film industry.
This film, written by Senga Brockerhoff, tells the story of a dancer who finds herself lost in an old theatre. Shot at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN), the opening sequence already created suspense, an unexpected eagerness to find out what happens. The dancer is played by the very talented actress Odile Gertze, whose acting skills are versatile and suit- able for big screen roles. Lost and afraid, walking through the theatre, crying out for help, she then meets a carpenter in a back room, played by veteran actor David Njavera. The soft piano notes drifting through the soundtrack and the sound effects combine with the exceptional directing and vision of the writer to create an experience that will have you glued to the screen. Without giving too much away, the dancer’s reality turns to a nightmare as the carpenter shows her what is actually is going. Although the story is fictional, Brockerhoff did mention that she was paying homage to one of her favourite places in the whole world, the NTN.
This is a short film directed by Lavinia Kapewasha, who is also the writer and lead actress.
She mentioned that the main reason she wrote this film, set in post-apocalyptic Namibia, was because as an actress there were not enough roles for her; primarily because of her accent. The film centres on a young female traditional healer who is seemingly trying to survive the harsh, barren, arid and dry south of the country and escape to the north of the Red Line, where better prospects may be in store. As she rummages through an abandoned scrap- yard looking for anything that can help her survive, she is met by a virus infected zombie who she kills. She is later confronted by an Afrikaner, who takes her hostage while trying to get her to lead him safely past the Red Line. All in all, the beauty is in trying to figure out the consequences of the characters’ decisions, because the story is set at a point in time where the end of the world comes about in a way that Kapewasha imagined it happening. The quality of sound and visuals were undeniably of high standard, which ultimately proves the notion that Namibian story-telling can be futuristic, nifty and irrefutably creative.
The Wind on Your Skin Since this was the third episode of a scripted drama web
series, written and produced by Naomi Beukes and directed by Jana von Hase, it was harder to understand the back stories of the characters as the introductions were a little difficult to grasp at first. But in hind- sight the episode focused on gender-based violence (GBV), as well as the LGBTI community in Rehoboth. This was evident when at the beginning of this episode, a body of a young women was found at a local dumpsite. As the narrative progresses, the action moves to a centre where LGBTI victims are trying to find answers and rea- sons why they are treated with prejudice and hate in their communities. This soon culminates in a sense of injustice and sparks resistance.
Witty, funny and incredibly intuitive, Mikiros Garoes’ The Date proved to be a well-balanced combination of tension and humour. From the get-go, the story felt relatable and with an incredible and experienced cast of Hazel Hinda (Hawa), Ga- roes herself and Lavinia Kapewasha (Lahja) are basically just three women traversing their way through the Windhoek dating game. Bret Kamwi plays Hinda’s date and her friends are getting ready to coach and guide her through the date, reason being that she had not been on one in history books. Garoes said sometimes
two years. All in all the date is set and true to fashion, disaster soon strikes, but without giving too much away, I must say the plot twist is one for the
the script just writes itself. She left this one to chance and just went with the flow, but it turned out to be a pretty solid effort.