• January 25th, 2020

Desert Film struggles to get series on TV

 Paheja Siririka

WINDHOEK – The production of films, long or short, is not that common in Namibia. One such company that does this is Desert Films, which is struggling to get its work on national television. 
“It is frustrating when you produce Namibian content but don’t get play time on television,” said Desert Film Producer, Michael Basson. 

“We have approached the national broadcaster and they said they will get back to us, we also approached One Africa TV and they were ecstatic about the product to a point where they wanted 52 episodes to run throughout the whole year but that boils down to finances,” said Errol Geingob, the Director. 

Asked the reason their work has not being aired, the duo could not fathom why. “To be honest, we don’t know why our series is not being accepted; we don’t have the same script or concept as other series currently on television. So, we don’t understand the reason for that,” said the frantic duo. 

“Regarding Zambezi Magic, we tried but the reality is if it doesn’t show in your country it won’t show in other countries. If your local television doesn’t give you the platform, where do you expect it to come from? ” asked Geingob. 
The film company was initiated in 1998 but Geingob and Basson officially registered it as a company in 2001. The first series produced under Desert Films was ‘Cynthia’ in 2002. 

“It was a mini-series about teenage pregnancy-the girl was a pastor’s daughter that was expecting,” said Basson. 
“After that, in 2004, we embarked on another project titled ‘Tate Penda’. This was about an old grumpy man who didn’t want his Omuwambo daughter to marry a Khoekhoegowab-speaking boy, what he did was milk money out of the boy’s family. The relationship between those in love was so strong that the plans of the girl’s father were not working until he staged a fake story that she was mentally ill so that the other family cannot allow their boy to marry her,” narrated Geingob. 

On what inspires them regarding their work, an enthusiastic Basson commented: “Growing up, we were writing stories for the stage, we look at stories the Namibian society can relate to”. 

The producer and director sponsored the production of all these films. Their latest work is titled ‘Dreamers’ that they started shooting in 2012. What makes this series different, according to the producers, is:  “Firstly, ‘Dreamers’ is local. The story is about artists within the Namibian families, our parents don’t understand why we do what we do as artists. For them, you cannot put food on the table with music or filmmaking or painting and all that. ‘Dreamers’ is about young people who are trying to become who they want to be and want to be accepted for who they are. 

“With funds being difficult to secure, it is difficult to finish everything in a specified time,” said Basson. 
“Producing a series with around 10 episodes can cost you roughly N$1 million, and we have to do that with slightly under N$ 500 000.00,” said the disappointed Basson. “We have to compromise a lot because of the lack of funds,” he further explained. 

Apart from lack of funds in the film-making industry, directors and producers find it difficult to get the right locations, with other issues pertaining to some actors not showing up on time for shoots or not showing up at all and that becomes extra stressful, especially if the work that needs to be produced is time bound.

New Era Reporter
2019-05-03 11:31:23 | 8 months ago

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