Environment and Tourism Deputy Minister Tommy Nambahu says Namibia is a fantastic destination for filmmakers from around the world.
He made the remarks when he participated in the panel of discussion “On Location, Africa in the Movies” at the 41st Annual World Tourism Conference in Kigali, Rwanda on Tuesday.
The Deputy Minister shared the panel with renowned filmmakers from the United States of America, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda and was asked to tell the audience what Namibia does to entice film production to the country.
Most of the big international movies that were shot in Namibia, such Mad Max, Flight of the Phoenix and Sands of the Kalahari were filmed in protected areas.
The deputy minister explained that the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism has played a significant role to ensure that permits for filming movies in the national parks were issued on time, adding that the peace and stability that Namibia enjoys also added to the reasons why producers preferred coming to Namibia.
Nambahu noted the unique landscape of Namibia because of its desert and the sea, sand dunes and having one of the longest coastal lines on the continent has attracted film producers, as well.
“Provision of infrastructure is also key. When Tom Cruise came to Namibia to shoot Mad Max, he was demanding the fastest internet connection in the middle of the desert and we provided it,” Nambahu said.
One of the panelists, Peace Anyiam Osigwe, chief executive officer of the African Movie Academy Awards, based in Nigeria expressed disappointment about private businesses that are not willing to invest in films produced on the continent.
She said in Nigeria for example, investors freely spend more money on international media, such as CNN, to market their brands but are not willing to partner with African filmmakers to market their brands through films, saying the situation needs to change to ensure African film makers are supported to be able to tell African stories effectively.
Nambahu said there is also a need for those in the creative industry to create awareness about the importance of their industry, to policymakers, so that budget allocations are done appropriately.
He said many policymakers do not understand the importance of films and how they can support economic growth through tourism.
Namibia’s first ever international film festival is scheduled for 2018 and will include a tour of the best locations in the country, director of the Namibia Film Commission (NFC) Florence Haifene said.
She added that NFC has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Namibia Tourism Board to jointly market Namibia internationally and share costs in that regard. The two institutions have links to each other’s website for easy referral.
Africa Travel Tourism, which organised the conference, believes that Africa has great potential to attract big Hollywood productions due to their unique locations. Most production houses are looking at locations with unspoiled beauty, such as Namibia, with some of the world’s highest dunes, deep canyons and longest coastal line.