‘Everyone Will Be Happy’ with Nujoma Film

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The film director of Where Others Wavered disclosed yesterday morning that he is pleased with the results of test screenings to selected audiences in the United States of a rough cut of the feature film. American film director Charles Burnett is in the country to officiate at this year’s bi-annual Wild Cinema Festival, which officially starts this Friday. The maverick filmmaker, who will be showing some of his previously made movies during the festival, returned to the country as guest of the American embassy in Namibia after he left last year to do the post-production of the Nujoma film in the United States. Probed about his creative views on the quality of the film, Burnett expressed satisfaction. “I’m happy with the film and I suspect everyone else in Namibia will be,” he asserted. Asked whether the rough director’s cut of the film will be shown to former President Sam Nujoma on his birthday this Friday, Burnett said that the possibility is not excluded. “We are working on such an idea, but it needs to be confirmed by Nujoma, a very busy man,” the executive producer of the historical feature movie, Uazuva Kaumbi, also present at the press briefing, said. Burnett’s pleasure and satisfaction for the outcome of selected American audiences of the film can be interpreted as a big blow to local sceptics and opponents against the amount of government money that went into the production of the film. “Naturally, the amount of money that went into the making of the film is huge for Namibia. However, the film has been completed and I am very happy that the project was successfully completed,” said soft-spoken and humble Burnett of the film in which the Namibian government invested a whopping N$80 million. Burnett’s host, Stan Harsha, denied his present visit was connected to the production of Where Others Wavered. “We brought Charles here from the US to fully participate in the Wild Cinema film festival. We are shortly leaving for the South where Burnett will officiate and show some of his previously made movies at Keetmanshoop,” said Harsha. Burnett expressed his profound pleasure and delight to be back in Namibia to share his filmmaking expertise and skills with the local fraternity. “Distribution problems might be one of the reasons why my films have not been previously shown around this part of Africa. However, I have seen one movie of mine showed on a pay television channel although these films are not aimed at the commercial market. Most of my films depict black life in America focusing on life in general through historical events and community values,” said Burnett, who does not mind to be categorised as a black filmmaker. “I am not at all embarrassed to be called or stigmatised as a black filmmaker because over the years, I got used to the Hollywood perception that making films dealing with black issues automatically categorizes filmmakers such as myself. It remains an issue to be resolved,” said Burnett, who expects positive input from Namibian filmmakers during his visit to the festival. Burnett is of the opinion that there exists a wealth of untapped filmmaking material in Namibia that will make good movies. “With modern digital technology available filmmaking is no longer that expensive like in the past. Making films has become more affordable, although other facilities lack in the country,” he said. An amicable legal agreement on the ownership of the copyright of Where Others Wavered was on April 26 formally signed between the Pan African Center of Namibia (PACON), the producers of the film, and the Namibia Film Commission as the financier on behalf of the Namibian government.