‘Moffie’ makes waves
South African film receives rave reviews in Namibia
04 May 2020 | Art and Entertainment
Theresa Ryan van Graan; co-producer; “We are very grateful for this…”
The long-awaited South African film ‘Moffie’ had its premiere week cut by the implementation of lockdown measures in South-Africa and Namibia. However, the creators did not hesitate to give their movie the best platform possible and quickly released it to audiences online.
‘Moffie’ is the story of a young South African man who must serve in the military during the apartheid era and his struggles to come to terms with his sexuality.
The movie has received accolades and rave reviews from all over the world. The Guardian and Empire Magazine are but two publications that bestowed 4-star reviews on the film, with the former describing director Oliver Hermanus as “South Africa’s most important author in many generations”.
“We had just had our traditional premieres and theatrical release in SA and Namibia, when lockdown was announced and cinemas closed. We had to work quickly to maintain the interest we had built up ahead of this,” says co-producer, Theresa Ryan van Graan about the decision.
Van Graan says that the move to an online platform was merely ‘Moffie’ falling in line with what appears to have become the norm during this time – online streaming.
She said that since the online release, they have been overjoyed by feedback. “The decision to release to Namibian audiences was based on public demand. We have been overwhelmed by support from both South African and Namibian audiences. It has surpassed our expectations.”
Van Graan explained that the movie simply could not wait, hence the release onto their custom online streaming platform on a Tuesday instead of the conventional weekend release. “We had such great demand from the Namibian public to see the film, that we decided to make it available as soon as we were able, allowing them access to the film during lockdown.”
As high as demand for a “seat” to the highly anticipated film is, many Namibians found themselves wondering over the price tag: A single viewing through the online platform costs more than double the asking price of a movie ticket at a conventional cinema.
Van Graan explained that the price is determined by the fact that ‘Moffie’ could not reap the full benefits of a traditional premiere. Van Graan also noted that many members of a household can take part in the viewing, which makes the amount fair.
Tim Huebschle, a Namibian movie director with titles like #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm and ‘Another Sunny Day’ under his belt, agrees with Van Graan. “I understand viewers’ reservations, but making films is not cheap and they have to ensure they do not make a loss,” he said.
The creators are in awe of the support they have received, with Van Graan adding, “We are very grateful for this and believe that this shows that people are willing to support high quality locally made products even in difficult times.”