Jeremiah Ndjoze The Namibia Film Commission (NFC) wants to move away from just funding any film project instead of helping with scripts and business or production plans qualifying for local, regional and international funding such as for pitching forums depending on the project. “Once you have gone through that process and your script is market ready, that’s when you can apply for production funding,” says NFC chairperson, Joël Haikali. Speaking at a press briefing this week, newly appointed Chairperson of the Namibia Film Commission (NFC), Joel Haikali, revealed that for the past financial year, the Commission has issued 111 film permits to foreign film productions with an estimated local spend of N$ 55 114 268.00 (Fiftyfive-Million, one-hundred-and-fourteen-thousand and 268 Namibia dollars). This, he said has created employment for 537 Namibians in various areas, despite the fact that the employment of locals, remain at entry level position. Each foreign production company is required to file an expenditure report from which the above figures are derived. The NFC Board was appointed on 1 November 2017, by the Minister of ICT, Honourable Tjekero Tweya for a period of three years. His brief to the Board members was for them to grow and develop the local film industry to the point that it is impactful. He also instructed the Board to its combined expertise to serve the Namibian public selflessly. With that said, the NFC Board hit the ground running. “We met over 3 days to interrogate our mandate and to come up with a vision that is not only practical, but also sustainable, considering the current state of our economy. We believe this country needs a thriving film industry that is able to take care of itself, but we equally recognize that we have many challenges, such as: lack of adequate funds, limited skills, lack of incentives, lack of collaboration and cooperation amongst ourselves, just to mention a few,” Haikali said. The revamped NFC, according to Haikali further aims to amongst other things develop and improve the mentorship programmes in the offing at the institution. The NFC also plans to focus on the creation of a favourable policy framework that encourages the private sector to invest in the local film industry and while promoting international and local investment into the production and distribution of local films. The institution further aims to Share clear funding and disbursement criteria, and to develop mechanism for increased transparency and accountability that are workable for both filmmakers and the NFC. While the local film industry has been rather slow in the production of locally brewed projects entering the market, foreign production entities continue to use Namibia as their preferred film destination, with South Africa being the main player, followed by Germany and the United States of America (USA). To substantiate this claim it is estimated that over N$50 million has been spent in Namibia as a result of foreign film production in the past years. Haikali however maintains that the NFC will still fund films on an annual basis and a call for applications will go out around February and March. Nelao Haukongo, a Human Resource Academic deputises Haikali. Other commissioners are Ziegie Willemse, Marinda Stein and Uatirohange Tjiuoro.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-09 11:42:48 9 months ago