Films Icon welcomes invite to Australia creative conference

Namibian company Films Icon has been invited to the South By Southwest (SXSW) creative conference in Australia in October.

The invitation follows Films Icon being awarded as the best local film production company with the best business model by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, during the recently hosted Technovation Social 2024 Awards.

The film company is known for producing short YouTube comedy videos and the Oshiwambo film series, ‘Omunahambo Wange’.

Founder Jackson Nghinamhito, known professionally as Jacky Pop, is also a Namibian actor, film-maker and screenwriter.

He says winning the award follows six months of capacity-building and brand development.

“Having received the award, it gives us great joy and confidence to continue in this business of telling African stories – let there be films.”

Jacky Pop believes this is just the beginning of the company’s success and such opportunities will improve the quality of local film.

He says the company’s business model was adapted from that of gold mining.

“We extract raw stories straight from our African traditions, cultures and perspectives and we refine them into finished products that we can sell, like films and apparel. We don’t sell raw stories, we first process them into visible products.”

He says African stories are no longer just told around the fire, but have embraced cinematic storytelling to be shared worldwide.

Commenting on the state of the creative industry at large, the actor says it is currently scary, especially for music and film.

“Most parents will do everything in their power to ensure that their kids don’t end up in this industry and I don’t blame them. I have received calls on different occasions from parents asking me to never again give their daughters or sons roles in our films,” says Jacky Pop.

Due to this lack of support, many aspiring creatives and talents fall into addictions in an effort to find solace, he says.

“Our industry is not a mess, though it may not be clean. Just because our creative industry welcomes school dropouts, Grade 12 failures and illiterate people, it does not mean that it’s not good or it’s low class. They are not failures or people that don’t have much to lose, but have dreams,” he says.

He says there is education in the arts industry.

“You’ll find a musician who is a doctor, an actor who is a politician and a teacher who is a DJ, and they call their formal professions ‘a back-up plan’, which is very funny to me, but it makes sense economically because they have bills to pay.”

He says cooperation between the government, parents and creative talents must be strengthened.

“Now that we have the attention of Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the future looks bright! We call for the attention of parents as well, to recognise our industry and to believe in their children who want to pursue careers in the creative industry. I personally see more opportunities in a developing country than in a developed country.”

Jacky Pop says the purpose of setting up Films Icon is to establish an ideal platform that stresses the spirit of unity and collaboration among creatives, that through the power of cinematic storytelling will contribute to African cultures.

“We are seeking co-production partners and investors to join our production slate. Our vision is to be among the leading producers and distributors of films and apparel in Africa.”

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