Baxu and the Giants nominated at NTFA

By Jeoffrey Mukubi

AFTER scooping a whopping seven nominations for the Namibian Theatre & Film Awards 2019 scheduled for 5 October at the National Theatre of Namibia, and after premiering at the San Francisco Independent Short Film Festival in the USA to critical acclaim, the long-awaited film is finally staging its premier in the land of its birth.

In hindsight, the story which was written by Germany-born filmmaker Florian Schott tells a compelling tale of Baxu, played by Camilla Jo-Ann Daries, a nine-year-old girl, who despite her age, is in touch with nature and tradition but toughened by a life of poverty. she lives with her street-smart older brother Khata, as well as an alcoholic grandmother in a village in Damaraland.

They live a peaceful life until strange men show up and cause changes in the village. First the neighbour starts acting suspicious, then Baxu notices changes in her own household. Keen on finding out what Khata is hiding from her, Baxu investigates and learns that her brother has started poaching to improve his family's living conditions.

Baxu has to make a tough decision - will she stay quiet or will she listen to the rhinos, the giants of the Savannah, who she talks to in her dreams and risk losing the people she loves the most?

The Short Film was commissioned by the Legal Assistance Centre Namibia with the aim of sensitizing teenagers to the issue of poaching in rural Namibia. Both Schott and co-writer Girley Jazama chose to tell the story from the inside out, basically through the eyes of Baxu, which is short for "!Khubaxu", and means "I come from the soil".

Through this storytelling device, which spans time from the age of the hunter-gatherers until today, the aim is to reach an audience worldwide and for such audiences to understand some of the underlying social issues in rural Namibia that can lead to poaching.

“I started developing the script with my co-writer and from that time on my partner-in-crime, Girley Jazama. And in writing I found myself more and more dealing with issues but also beautiful idiosyncrasies that I carried inside of me from having married into a family from the Damara tribe myself,” said Schott. He hopes this film can be part of the change and inspire the youth to be the generation that ends rhino poaching.

“This environmental fantasy will be used to advocate against the illegal wildlife trade, encourage teenagers to speak up against wildlife crime and be the generation that ends rhino poaching,” said Andrew Botelle, the producer of the film.

Baxu and the Giants will stage its Namibian premier on Thursday 19 September at Ster-Kinekor Grove Mall in Windhoek, as well as Thursday 26 at Deutsche Höhere Privatschule in Windhoek.