Sneefel Media hunting for local stories

By Rosalia David 

SNEEFEL Media Productions, a production company owned by award winning film director Ellen Ernst is hunting for local stories from different tribes all across Namibia to be produced at the first Namibian cultural film festival. 
Speaking to Confidente recently, Ernst revealed that Sneefel Media Production is planning a cultural film festival which aims to produce at least 10 cultural feature films representing all the ethnics groups and landscapes in Namibia. 
According to Ernst, the project themed ‘Stay Home Namib Film Festival’ will be launched in August this year. 
“The festival will involve the whole creative industry, including the film, music, culture and the arts sector in general. All my new projects are aimed at growing the film industry, job creation and film production activities, which are at a standstill currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. 
With film awards under his belt, Ernst said, with the assistance of his team, they have been developing local capacity in the film industry since 2011 launching film projects such as the ‘FinanceWize television show,’ which broadcasts on NBC; and he had since decided that it is now time to reach out to the community. 
“We only utilise Namibian cast and crew, and have had collaborations with higher learning institutions such as the College of the Arts, to provide practical skills transfer and internships to their students during our film projects and through this, we would like to put out a call out to all local storytellers who have developed authentic Namibian stories to approach us and bring their stories to life.” 
With his love for storytelling, Ernst together with Dantagos Jimmy-Melani, has produced a short film titled ‘Hairareb’ which scooped three awards at the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Narrative Film. 
“I have loved storytelling since I was a very young child. I was always sharing new stories I created with friends, family and teachers at school,” he said. 
Asked on the challenges he experiences as a storyteller and what motivated him to come up with the festival, Ernst said, lack of funding and opportunities to produce Namibian stories remains the stumbling block of the industry therefore he is striving to make a difference. 
He added that the unavailability of scripts for production, and the lack support from the public and private sectors for the film industry also hinders their ability to produce stories at the same rate as other countries. 
“There appears to be little demand for Namibian content from the public, there are also no platforms available from public broadcasters, who are very reluctant to fund Namibian productions or buy Namibian content,” he noted. 
He went on to say that, the majority of production in the country is done by foreigners and people from more advantaged backgrounds while filmmakers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds seem to have fewer opportunities to showcase their work and create content at market related rates. 
Currently, Ernst is part of the Multichoice talent factory project titled ‘I am an African storyteller’.