WINDHOEK, JULY 13 – Yearning to find a way to communicate information on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to learners, teachers in Namibia’s Kunene Regional Council approached film-producer and director Philippe Talavera in 2001. The result? Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) Trust was birthed in the same year in a search for new and creative teaching methods since conventional teaching was deemed not effective at the time.
Five short films on the pandemic were born from adapted scripts submitted by learners and based on the success obtained, OYO was then formalised as a Welfare Organisation (December 2002) and then a Trust (2009)
Fast forward to almost a decade later, and the Namibian-based group Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust and one of OYO’s movie titled ‘Salute’ has garnered a nomination at the 6th annual Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA).
The 2018 edition announcement was made by Nigerian comedian Bovi, and Ghanaian actor, Joselyn Dumas, on Africa Magic channels on DStv and GOtv respectively in July 2018.
‘Salute’ has been selected under the category Best Movie Southern Africa alongside ‘Descent’ by Awal Abdulfatai, ‘The Road to Sunrise’ by Shemu Joyah, ‘Jomako Black Democracy’ by Abraham Kabwe and ‘Nyasaland’ by Joyce Mhango Chavula. The winner of the award will be announced on September 1, 2018.
Renowned in Namibia as one of the pioneers to blend art, culture, drama and dancing, producer and director Talavera could barely hide his excitement at being nominated alongside Southern Africa’s elite film-makers and an array of talent.
Talavera beamed, “It is a great honour to be nominated alongside Malawian award-winning film-makers Joyce Mhango Chavula from Malawi, and Shemu Joyah. Joyah’s film ‘The road to sunsire’ also won the special recognition award for a narrative feature film at its American premiere at Silicon Valley African Film Festival.”
“Another renowned Nigerian director Awal Abdulfatai and his film ‘Descent’ which was produced in South Africa is also among a stellar cast of nominees. A nomination for Best Film Southern Africa is a win for all: it indeed shows the commitment and hard work everybody put in the production, from script-writing to post-production,” added Talavera.
The film ‘Salute!’ was written and shot with inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility in Namibia over a one-year period at the facilities.
It highlights a journey into the abys for Carlito (Adriano Visagie, winner best male actor in a Theatre Play, NTFA 2017): a young Namibian man who is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment because of fraud.
Nothing can prepare him for his new life in custody, and he succumbs to the darkness of prison life after getting lured in the group of the General (Monray Garoeb); a sociopathic criminal who rules over his cell.
Talavera portrays the emanation of the prison’s gang culture in Namibia, highlighting the strong South African prison-gang influence in Namibia as well.
“The South African gang culture in jail reached Namibia as far back as the 1980s. While some elements are common between Namibia and South Africa, this film is a Namibian story, written with Namibians for Namibians.”
The film is characterized by nudity, sex and strong language as it yearns to portray the reality and violent nature that has characterized prisons experience, hence it carries a minimum age limit of 16 for admission.
Spearheading the all-Namibian cast is Miss Namibia 2010 Odile Muller, who also won the best female actor in a film at the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards (NTFA) 2017. Winner of best male actor in a film at the NTFA 2014 Dawie Engelbrecht was cast alongside Muller in this production, while another NTFA winner in the best male actor category in a theatre production in 2012 namely David Ndjavera is also in the cast.
Talavera himself produced and directed the production, and worked with an all-star cast such as editor Haiko Boldt who won best editor at the NTFA 2014, and Wojtek Majewski for the post-production; a winner in the best sound and post-production category NTFA 2107. Bernd Curschmann was the director of photography. – firstname.lastname@example.org