Filmmakers Ndakalako Shilongo and Othilia Tutu Mungoba relish the opportunity granted to them to attend the Jo’burg Film Festival and later assist in the creation of the Namibian chapter of the Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT).
The Jo’burg Film Festival started on Tuesday and ends Sunday, during which some of the best films from around the world will be screened.
Their educational adventure in Johannesburg, South Africa was made possible by MultiChoice Namibia and the Namibia Film Commission (NFC).
Shilongo told VIBEZ! that over the years, there has been an increase in opportunities availed to filmmakers and it’s beautiful to watch how organisations continue to believe in the craft. She is excited about the future, saying such chances are how the local industry will grow and enable it to be profitable and sustainable in the future.
“Opportunities like these place us in the position to soak up valuable information from already established and huge well-oiled industries, enabling us to sow these seeds back home and prepare for a fruitful harvest,” stated Shilongo.
“Namibian filmmakers are passion-fuelled. Telling stories is us, it’s what makes us happy, it’s who we are and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.” Shilongo wants to fully understand the business side of filmmaking, and connect with distributors and agents to create a space for more Namibian content on these huge platforms.
Mungoba comes from a television background spanning 20 years, during which she had only produced programmes for other people and not for herself.
“In 2020, I took an active step to pursue and conceptualise my own content. We should not take the power of storytelling for granted and how it has transcended over the years,” she said. The creative director, filmmaker and content strategist added: “As Namibians and the world at large; only with stories are we able to find the commonality we are as beings and how we can leverage the skill and knowledge set”. She said there should be a unified level and effort for filmmakers to meet because many content producers work in isolation. “I think the ministry, stakeholders and partners need to be intentional about streamlining funding and technical support and knowledge transfer to strengthen the filmmaking industry.”
“MultiChoice Namibia’s contribution
to the formation of the Namibian SWIFT chapter ties into our hyperlocal strategy of taking Namibia to the world,” said MultiChoice Namibia managing director Roger Gertze.
He added that the country has proven to have huge potential in the creative industry and the SWIFT chapter will enable skills development and networking in order to push local films beyond the borders. NFC director Florence Haifene said the commission is intentional in ensuring that women filmmakers are equipped to contribute meaningfully to the film industry and this partnership is a step in the right direction. SWIFT is a South African non-profit organisation created in 2016 to promote equality in the historically male-dominated film industry and offers women the opportunity to promote each other and network.
The Jo’burg Film Festival was identified as the perfect platform to expose Namibian film practitioners to the SWIFT chapter as well as its curated film programme that will showcase African and international films.