Films bring in big bucks

13 November 2021 | Art and Entertainment

Windhoek • Ogone Tlhage

Following the uproar over a banner in Walvis Bay depicting the words ‘Welcome to Saudi Arabia’, which was for an international film series being shot locally, Filmmakers Association of Namibia (FAN) chairperson Caillin Basson said the film has been able to create hundreds of job opportunities for locals.

According to her, the film industry is one that touches all other industries. “When you bring a production to Namibia or when you have to fly people in, you have to get them work visas, you have to transport them, you have to accommodate them, you have to feed them, the medical expenses… all of this [income] is coming into the country at once,” Basson said.

Namibia has been identified as a prime destination for films due to its natural landscape. “Namibia has always been a location-based country, which means that films come here for our locations, our environment, our dunes, the ocean, the moon landscape… There are so many landscapes in one country that will allow one film to shoot all these different things instead of filming in many other countries. “That’s what makes Namibia very unique as well,” she said.

Locals benefit

Local production companies also greatly benefit from international productions, Basson said. “If a film production comes to Namibia and they have a budget of N$100 million, potentially, that N$100 million can bring a benefit towards the economy; however, given our current status quo in terms of our policies, our regulations, a portion of that will leave the country. “But the benefit is already there. We’ve seen it through massive productions such as ‘Flight of the Phoenix’, ‘Beyond Borders’ and ‘Mad Max’. The amount of money that was spent in the country, the benefit to the local [production] companies was enormous,” she said. She further called on government to incentivise such international productions because there is already a huge appetite to film in Namibia.

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