Hairareb flying the Namibian flag high

• By Rosalia David

WITH two other awards under its belt, the Namibian film ‘Hairareb’ has scooped another accolade at the recently held African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

The ceremony took place over the weekend in Lagos, Nigeria with Hairareb lead actress Hazel Hinda winning the best supporting role category.

In a one-on-one interview with Confidente this week, Hairareb director Oshoveli Shipoh expressed gratitude towards the numerous nominations they have received saying that the making of the film was not a walk in the park.

RD: Kindly give a brief background on what the film Hairareb narrative is inspired by?

OS: Based on a novel by August C. Biker and inspired by true events, Hairareb is a tragic love story about a farmer who reluctantly marries a young materialist woman in order to save his farm from a drought.

RD: How was the experience being at the forefront of the entire production of the film with the directing role?

OS: I enjoyed the creative process, my vision was to be simple and unpredictable. We had to find ways of making the movie as interesting as possible. A movie can have a beginning, middle and an end, but it doesn’t have to be in that order.

My way of directing is simply letting actors be their best version of themselves in the characters, and also give them enough room to express the script as how they understand it best.

RD: Kindly give us a brief background on when exactly the film bug bit you? Was directing something you have always wanted to do?

OS: The directing bug bit me when I started illustrating storyboards for TV commercials that was in my early career as an art director in the advertising agencies. From there I just wanted to create my own version of the stories.

RD: When you are not making movies, what else do you enjoy doing?

OS: I love driving and lodge hopping. I enjoy my time best when I am recharging. I am a foodie person too so I love eating out.

RD: What have been some of your major highlights throughout your directing career?

OS: Getting my first short film Resentment to play at Ster-Kinekor. Getting my first award for best new director for Painted Scars at the Namibian Film and Theatre Awards, filming Hairareb in under two weeks on a remote island (unforgettable experience). Winning three awards for Hairareb and now attending the most prestigious film event in Africa, the African Movie Academy Awards in Lagos, Nigeria.

RD: What are some of the other projects you have worked on over the years?

OS: Painted Scars with Carla Van Vuuren and Riko Hoveka, Resentment with Nina Paulino and Mikayla Shivangulula, and Protecting Nelao with Kaycie Swartbooi and LC Muenjo.

RD: How would you describe the film industry in Namibia?

OS: It’s growing. I believe the more budget you have the more the film can make an impact. Costs always play a role with film. The industry is still poorly funded compared to other countries like SA or Nigeria.

RD: What are some of the things that the Namibian industry can learn from your experience outside the country?

OS: Marketing and more marketing, then filmmakers need to be more daring with their writing and take risks, be out of the comfort zone.

RD: What is your favourite scene in the Hairareb film and why?

OS: The scene where Moira (played by Hazel) emotionally confesses her love to Hairareb and lets him know why they cannot be together. It was heartfelt and she literally had to cry a few times for the different takes.

RD: With the film gaining recognition at the Africa Movie Academy Awards, what is next for Osho?

OS: What’s next? An Oscar worthy film. I’ll be busy next year.

RD: With the film regarded as one of the most anticipated Namibian films; how do you feel and what would you say were some of the challenges experienced through the making of Hairareb?

OS: The experience and announcement of our nomination and win has re-invented the meaning of gratitude. I can only be grateful to a wonderful team who believed in the vision for the film. I am grateful for the support system my family and I am grateful for the God given talent

The main challenge was shooting the film on a very small budget, as it was intended for short film only and we made plans to turn it into a feature. And then filming it in a tight deadline because we only had two weeks on the farm, and had to use generators to film because there was no electricity.