Women to shine at NFC film premier

By Confidente Reporter

STORYTELLERS have long turned to film to highlight and celebrate African narratives,

and thanks in part to the rise of on- line streaming, more of these films are accessible to audiences than ever before.

On Friday, 16 May, the Namibia Film Commission (NFC) and three female producers and directors will host a short films premiere at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN). According to a press statement by the NFC, the event is set to celebrate and recognize the immense contribution and roles of women in the film indus- try and the Namibian entertainment industry as a whole.

The three films set to premier this week include ‘Encore’, ‘Iitandu’ and ‘Wind on Your Skin’, all share sto- ries that not only make way for wid- er public discourse on issues facing women, but also aim to entertain. The NFC’s core function is to develop the film fraternity and ensure that they emancipate women in a male-domi- nated industry and is moving closer to their goals.

‘Encore’, a film by Senga Brocker- hoff, tells the story of a dancer who finds herself lost in an old theatre. There she meets a carpenter who shows her something which turns her reality upside down.

A short film directed by Lavinia Kapewasha is set in post-apocalyptic Namibia, and is titled ‘Iitandu’ (Piec- es). It centres on a young female tra- ditional healer who desperately seeks to escape the southern parts of Na- mibia to avoid a deadly virus, despite her circumstances and the danger posed by others.

Kapewasha told the Confidente that she is excited but very nervous at the same time. “ When you cre- ate something, you create it out of a yearning to tell a story. But others might not get it, understand it or res- onate with it, therefore putting your- self out there always comes with risks. It’s something you know as an artist, however, it’s still terrifying,” she said.

Kapewasha then said that in many industries and especially in this case, the film industry, there is inequality and having a trio composed of fe- males premiering their work on one night is a triumph for the female film- makers and Namibia Film Commis- sion.

“It’s a stride towards equality and change in the hegemony of stories that are male-orientated. There’s still work to do, for equality for all, but this is a start. We’re not the first, but as we aim to inspire, many more will come after,” she said.

‘The Wind on Your Skin’, is the third episode of a scripted drama web series, written and produced by Naomi Beukes and directed by Jana von Hase from Moodpixel Namibia. The episode focuses on the pressing issue of gender-based violence (GBV) in Namibia, which tragically often leads to the brutal slaying of girls and women.

This moving drama explores how a community is shaken when a young woman from a small town LGBTI community is killed because of who she loves, and how these kind of hate- ful acts can spark a wave of resistance.

“Women for the longest time were pushed into roles in front of the cam- era and not as content creators. How- ever, there has been a shift around the world. Films that explore the beauty of African identity are gaining pop- ularity and global recognition, and women filmmakers from Africa are leading the way.

“We are seeing more and more women taking on leading roles in producing content and chang- ing the narrative of many a film, from stories told with patriarchal angles to more inclusive stories. The Commission is thus pleased to play a key role in ensuring that the voices and ideas of Namibian women in film are heard and seen.

“Women can be strong. Women can be smart. Women can actually be funny. Women can change the world. Positive female represen- tation in the media is important not only for young impressionable minds, but to inspire any girl to chase after her dreams”, the state- ment read.

Further, the NFC plans to cel- ebrate the women that have dedicated their lives and careers to telling unique, authentic stories. “The Commission believes film- makers, men and women, should all be advocates for diversity and equality and celebrate it whenever they can. Thus, we wish the pro- ducers and directors a successful journey with their films,” the NFC statement concluded.