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Home / Ministerial delegation visits ‘Ein Platz an der Sonne’ production in Arandis

Ministerial delegation visits ‘Ein Platz an der Sonne’ production in Arandis

2021-10-01  Staff Reporter

Ministerial delegation visits ‘Ein Platz an der Sonne’ production in Arandis
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Information minister Peya Mushelenga recently led a high-level government delegation to a multi-million-dollar international film production, currently filming at the coast, a first since the advent of Covid-19.

The visit aimed to expose the leadership and multi-sectoral stakeholder agencies to the economic impact of foreign productions in Namibia.

According to Namibian co-producer and facilitator of the production Joel Haikali of Joe Vision Production, who was instrumental in bringing the international production to Namibia, over 1644 Namibians are employed on the production in front and behind the camera.

This includes award-winning actor Girley Jazama, who plays the female lead alongside German actor Leonard Scheicher.

He revelead it took two years of pitching against South Africa to convince German executive producers to pick Namibia as a location.

Haikali highlighted the challenges faced by local facilitators to attract more foreign investment into the sector. 

He said there is a need to find the best collaborative models amongst the various government agencies to smoothen processes and ensure most of the budget spent remains in Namibia and not South Africa as has largely been the case for years.

“The challenges on the ground re-emphasised the need for the creative industry to be acknowledged as an economic contributor with numerous spins offs to other industries such as hospitality, transport, cultural SMEs and much-needed employment creation. Therefore, it is crucial to fast-track industry incentive packages for foreign and local investors as well as local industry players,” he said.

The director and author of the film Lars Kraume, and executive producer Thomas Kufus both received the delegation and highlighted their excitement about filming in the country.

While better offers were received from German and South African studios, they were convinced that filming in Namibia would benefit the type of story they are telling.

The film is funded through German subsidies and other private investors to the tune of N$130 million.

After visiting the film set and warehouses of the production, Mushelenga acknowledged the visit gave a clearer picture of the foreign direct investment attracted to the country by film industry players and the need for the government to look critically into this sector.

“The importance of collaboration to ensure that we have incentives for foreign producers cannot be overemphasised. Our young people need employment – and after today, with what I have seen, I am more than convinced that this sector can alleviate unemployment and bring development to our country”, he added.

UNESCO estimates that the creative industries globally generates about USD 2.3 trillion while providing 30 million direct employment opportunities.

In Africa, this translates to about 58 billion dollars, of which only 5 billion is directly generated by the film industry because of its underdevelopment and lack of facilities and subsidies.

Speaking at the same occasion, the deputy minister of industrialisation Verna Sinimbo stated her ministry has already forwarded the cultural and creative industries sectoral draft to the office of the Attorney General for review and with the hope its realisation will help attract more film investment to the country.

Deputy Minister of Education Arts and Culture Faustina Caley called for continuous collective collaboration between the different stakeholders for further investment in youth development and training.

Her ministry is working together with the National Arts Council in that regard.

Erongo governor Neville Itope said his office is open for engagement, and he was happy to have witnessed many young Namibians included in the production.

Swakopmund mayor Louisa Kativa indicated council will find ways to work with industry players and assist with the preservation of props used on set for Namibia to have a collection that can be used in future productions. 

She indicated council would investigate and see how it can assist with storage facilities for this purpose.

Namibia Film Commission’s board chairperson Abius Akwaake highlighted Namibia’s competitiveness as a film destination, with films such as ‘The Mummy’, ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Flight of the Phoenix’ having been filmed on location in Namibia.

However, with countries like South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, and Rwanda offering incentives to foreign producers, Namibia can anticipate a significant drop in attracting film investment. 

Therefore, deliberate efforts must go into fast-tracking incentives and repositioning the country as the film destination of choice in Africa.

The production commenced on 30 August and will be filmed in the Erongo, Otjozondjupa and Khomas regions until the end of October 2021.

This work of fiction follows a young German anthropologist on a study mission amidst a war through the then Deutsch Süd West Afrika in an attempt to disprove the race theory.

His journey becomes one of trying to find a young Herero woman he met in Berlin during a colonial exhibition.

 


2021-10-01  Staff Reporter

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