Baxu breaks boundaries

A first in film for Namibia

15 September 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Girley Jazama; Co-producer; “This is a win for all of us as Namibians.”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

The Namibian film industry celebrates a major achievement with the critically acclaimed short film Baxu and the Giants set to be the first Namibian film on the worldwide streaming platform, Netflix.

“This is a win for all of us as Namibians. It is an indication that our Namibian stories are worth telling and that we can also produce content that is worthy of Netflix’s global audiences,” said co-producer, Girley Jazama.

According to director Florian Schott, the popularity of the film caught him completely off guard.

“We weren’t expecting this reaction. We did think that we had something that could potentially be exciting for young people and for kids to see, but I don’t think we ever imagined how far this little film would take us.”

Baxu and the Giants is the story of a young girl named Baxu who has the ability to talk to rhinos in her dreams. She later witnesses the heart-breaking reality of rhino poaching.

Schott is the mastermind behind the concept and explains what led to the idea.

“Producers Andrew Botelle and Girley Jazama approached me, asking if I would be interested in directing a film that is supposed to sensitise young viewers to the issue of rhino poaching. We considered quite a few options including employing a documentary or a more informative style. I felt for children it would be best to reach for an emotional reaction and I thought of telling the story from the point of view of a child.”

This did not come easy, according to Schott who had to shift his mindset for the creation of Baxu and the Giants.

“Producing this film was exciting for me because it is aimed at children and teenagers. I used to tell stories for grownups and urban stories. I would usually see myself as the target audience.”

According to Schott, Camilla Jo-Ann Daries, the 9-year-old actress who brought Baxu to life, was a great help in crafting a film that would entice viewers her age for him.

A shift in viewpoint was not the only struggle as Jazama explains: “Due to our location, we filmed most of the movie in rural Namibia so cast and crew had to camp, which was a first for some.”

Jazama says she hopes to pave the way for other Namibian film creators. “It is an indication that our stories matter and that we should continue to create for audiences through collaborations despite the challenges we face as an industry,” Jazama said.

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