Editorial: Nujoma Film To Cost Much More

Editorial:  Nujoma Film To Cost Much More

EVEN though an as yet undisclosed amount is being sought as a loan from the Namibia Film Commission for completion of the post-production of the film based on the book of former President Sam Nujoma, ‘Where Others Wavered’, one cannot help wondering how this money will ever be paid back.

This movie, based on the life and times of Nujoma, has already cost the country in excess of N$65 million; and seen against the background of other burning priorities in Namibia, would seem to be a further drain on valuable resources. One of the primary objections to the high expenditure on this movie concerned the fact that Namibia’s nascent film industry has been denied any substantive funding or assistance because of what ‘Where Others Wavered’ cost.In addition during the filming process, constant delays were experienced because of ongoing money problems, and crew who refused to continue work until they had been paid.The project was initiated by Pacon, at the time presided over by Uazuva Kaumbi, who has since taken on the title of executive producer of the movie.In addition to the N$65 million, much of it from State coffers, numerous other donations from the private sector, in cash and kind, were contributed to the project.Although perhaps not excessive in the Hollywood context, it has nevertheless been a costly process, especially for a country such as Namibia.Now it has been confirmed that the Film Commission has been approached for more money, apparently a loan to be re-paid, in order to finalise the post-production process and pay those who have been involved in it.The amount being sought has not been confirmed but it is likely to be fairly substantial.’Where Others Wavered’ was filmed on location in Namibia, and also in Cuba.After filming had been completed, post-production processes took place in the US under the direction of Charles Burnett.Right now it appears as if everything has come to a standstill unless more money can be sourced to complete the process.The head of the Namibia Film Commission, Edwin Kanguatjivi, would not comment on reports that an agreement to this effect had already been signed between Pacon and the NFC.If the loan request has indeed been granted, then it would seem, once again, to be depriving the Film Commission of any significant budgetary amount with which to assist local film-makers.While few people have a problem with the principle of making a film based on the life of Namibia’s first President, and a man who led the country’s independence struggle, many question the expenditure in a country with scarce resources and a burning need to realise other priorities in, for example, the education and health sectors.Although Kaumbi said he had not yet seen the director’s cut of the movie, according to the website of the Denver Film Society, it has already been screened.Starring actor Carl Lumbly as Nujoma and Danny Glover as Hosea Kutako, the film is described as follows on the website: “Sam Nujoma, the first President of Namibia and former head of South West African People’s Organisation, witnesses harsh treatment by white South Africans and vows to liberate his people, leading to a 30-year war.The story shows that Nujoma and his people were fighting not only powerful South Africans but also the US and its supporters …”While it is hoped that the final release of the film will at least publicise the Namibian story abroad, the handling of the whole project, with the continued financial drain on the country’s coffers, has left a lot to be desiredOne of the primary objections to the high expenditure on this movie concerned the fact that Namibia’s nascent film industry has been denied any substantive funding or assistance because of what ‘Where Others Wavered’ cost.In addition during the filming process, constant delays were experienced because of ongoing money problems, and crew who refused to continue work until they had been paid.The project was initiated by Pacon, at the time presided over by Uazuva Kaumbi, who has since taken on the title of executive producer of the movie.In addition to the N$65 million, much of it from State coffers, numerous other donations from the private sector, in cash and kind, were contributed to the project.Although perhaps not excessive in the Hollywood context, it has nevertheless been a costly process, especially for a country such as Namibia.Now it has been confirmed that the Film Commission has been approached for more money, apparently a loan to be re-paid, in order to finalise the post-production process and pay those who have been involved in it.The amount being sought has not been confirmed but it is likely to be fairly substantial.’Where Others Wavered’ was filmed on location in Namibia, and also in Cuba.After filming had been completed, post-production processes took place in the US under the direction of Charles Burnett.Right now it appears as if everything has come to a standstill unless more money can be sourced to complete the process.The head of the Namibia Film Commission, Edwin Kanguatjivi, would not comment on reports that an agreement to this effect had already been signed between Pacon and the NFC.If the loan request has indeed been granted, then it would seem, once again, to be depriving the Film Commission of any significant budgetary amount with which to assist local film-makers.While few people have a problem with the principle of making a film based on the life of Namibia’s first President, and a man who led the country’s independence struggle, many question the expenditure in a country with scarce resources and a burning need to realise other priorities in, for example, the education and health sectors.Although Kaumbi said he had not yet seen the director’s cut of the movie, according to the website of the Denver Film Society, it has already been screened.Starring actor Carl Lumbly as Nujoma and Danny Glover as Hosea Kutako, the film is described as follows on the website: “Sam Nujoma, the first President of Namibia and former head of South West African People’s Organisation, witnesses harsh treatment by white South Africans and vows to liberate his people, leading to a 30-year war.The story shows that Nujoma and his people were fighting not only powerful South Africans but also the US and its supporters …”While it is hoped that the final release of the film will at least publicise the Namibian story abroad, the handling of the whole project, with the continued financial drain on the country’s coffers, has left a lot to be desired

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News