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Juggling traditional and modern religion through Woestynpsalm

2021-03-08  Paheja Siririka

Juggling traditional and modern religion through Woestynpsalm
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Newly and local flick company, Bosman Films has started production of its first movie, Woestynpsalm, a feature-length Afrikaans film set in Namibia that is taking viewers on a rollercoaster ride of a female reverend who is forced to juggle traditional and modern views on religion, and the ‘acceptable’ roles of a woman in society. 

Filmmaker Ben van der Walt said the film is paying tribute to his relatives. “Woestynpsalm is a homage to my family and my beautiful Namibia. Loosely based on a true story, it tells us about the physical and emotional challenges of keeping something you love alive in a desert,” explained Van der Walt.

The 22-year-old added that the narrative follows the woman in the desert - Nadia, a young protestant reverend who drives extreme distances through Namibia’s deserts every weekend to preach to a dying congregation,” he detailed.

He added: “Woestynpsalm grew as we realised the enormous filmmaking opportunities that Namibia has on offer. With this, of course, the project’s scope and budget have had to expand beyond my funding capabilities. We are now actively looking for local partners to help us bring this film to life. We would like to urge any Namibians who are in a position to contribute to reach out to us.” 

Set in an ambiguous time frame sometime between the 1980s and today - Nadia is increasingly faced with growing pressure from neighbouring churches and family to reconsider her life path as a female reverend. 

 “As a result, she is forced to juggle traditional and modern views on religion, religious leadership and the ‘acceptable’ roles of a woman in our society,” shared van der Walt.

The filmmaker said the initial plan was that he would self-fund Woestynpsalm through his freelance film projects. 

Van der Walt is currently a student at the Kanbar Institute for Film and Television of New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts but returned to Namibia in March last year, just in time before the USA closed its borders due to Covid-19. 

 He is bound only to return to New York to continue his studies in September 2021 or later. “But Covid-19 has not managed to put my passion for filmmaking on idle, as my time in partial isolation with the family at home in Windhoek has given me ample opportunity to start conceptualising this feature-length film,” he echoed.

Van der Walt shared that Woestynpsalm cameras will start rolling around mid-April 2021, with an all-Namibian cast and a cosmopolitan crew consisting of members from Namibia, South Africa, the USA and the Netherlands. 

Filming will primarily take place in Windhoek and the southern parts of Namibia, possibly as far as Lüderitz, he detailed.

The premiere and release for Woestynpsalm is planned for October 2021 with the exact dates to be announced.


2021-03-08  Paheja Siririka

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