Joel Haikali, an award-winning film director, writer, producer, and founder of Joe Vision Production (JVP), shares his day to day work at the JVP in this interview, and what he wants to achieve in the film industry. Haikali was recently appointed as the chairperson of the Namibia Film Commission (NFC) and has an extensive network and varied professional experiences.
Describe what you do?
At Joe Vision Production, I direct and produce films, commercials, co-produce, facilitate international productions, participate, research projects in and for the creative industry at large. As chairperson of the NFC, we consistently lobby for the production of Namibian films as well as to promote Namibia as a film destination.
What does a typical day at work look likes for you?
I have to usually juggle several processes and different types of work. That means we constantly conceptualise, write, and change plans and network to create jobs and opportunities for ourselves. I also make time for other people’s projects. We receive a lot of scripts, films that need distribution as well as other creative project ideas that are not related to film. We recognise the importance of collaboration and value addition to other people’s projects is part of networking.
Have you always wanted to do acting as a career?
I dare say I have always been a storyteller, something my teachers did not always appreciate since there wasn’t necessarily a space for that. I always believed in the power of creativity, even before I could articulate it. But you can’t stop creativity or stories.
What is your educational background and training that has prepared you for all these roles?
I did a Bachelor in Media Studies and a Research Master on the development of the Namibian Film Industry. I have done everything that I could to develop myself from studying the field, acting in the biggest movies in the country, produced and directed films and commercials, and I have now published the first Namibian Creative Industry Guide.
How has JVP enhanced your profession?
Professional contacts and personal connections across all sectors of the film industry makes JVP the best place for me to grow, to push and define creative boundaries in the Namibian creative industry expertise in filmmaking. This makes JVP the best place for me to grow, to push and define creative boundaries in the Namibian creative industry.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Conceptualising and challenging myself to transform an idea from paper onto the screen in a creative manner that touches and inspires the audience.
Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
Five years from now, JVP will be the leading producers and distributers of much needed Namibian content locally and internationally.
What would you say to anyone who wants to get into the film business?
to want it badly.
Conviction in your ideas, commitment and self-discipline are very important. It’s tough out there, not glamorous and you certainly can’t choose to
do it for the money.
Would you recommend this career path to young
people out there?
I and others like me have proven that Namibians can produce quality films and content that can generate revenue, create employment and represent
the country internationally. Now that we are finally learning that it is not sustainable to base our economy exclusively on what comes out of the ground, creative industry and film in particular is the future.
What is your favourite movie and why?
I am a movie buff who watches 100s of films per year and I like different films for different reasons and context, therefore it is difficult to single out one film.