Witbooi pleased by CAMIFF nod
Crossing international boundaries through film
10 March 2020 | Art and Entertainment
Pveclidias Witbooi; Filmmaker; “I'm excited for The Voice of the Bush to do well internationally.”
Award winning Swakopmund filmmaker Pveclidias Witbooi’s documentary, The Voice of the Bush, was recently selected to be screened at the 2020 Cameroon International Film Festival (CAMIFF).
The festival takes place at the Mountain Hotel in Buea from 20 to 25 April.
Witbooi expressed his delight at having his documentary chosen for the prestigious event.
“I'm excited for The Voice of the Bush to do well internationally. CAMIFF is a wonderful festival where filmmakers, industry professionals and investors come together to share their work and to do business. It is a great feeling to be part of such an event,” Witbooi said.
The self-taught filmmaker’s documentary, The Mbunza of the Kavango (created in 2016), won the Best Documentary award at the 2017 Namibia Theatre and Film Awards (NTFA).
The Voice of the Bush was awarded best African film in arts, music and culture in the documentary section at the 2019 International Tourism Film Festival.
The documentary has also been selected to be screened at the 2020 African Film Festival, which will take place in Belgium from 24 April to 9 May.
“We completed the project in August 2019 and submitted the film to various film festivals around the world. We are looking forward to the documentary travelling to more film festivals,” he said.
He explained the storyline of the documentary.
“The Voice of the Bush is an adventure documentary about the Ju/ huansi San people of Namibia and their way of life in the modern world. The story follows a young travelling tourist, Diran Karabeguian, and how he sees the Tsumkwe San,” Witbooi said.
According to Witbooi, the process of creating the documentary which cost about N$4 500 to shoot, was very enjoyable and he learnt a lot through it.
“We shot The Voice of the Bush exclusively with handheld cameras and on a tripod. We had some help from friends and family who sponsored filming equipment and some money. Our major investment was from the Namibian Film Commission who assisted us with their camera gear, which was a huge help.”
Witbooi added that the filming process was extremely difficult. “We had little funding and had to scale down from hiring crew members and sticking to a two-man crew. To tell a much more amazing story, we decided to film ourselves hitchhiking from Windhoek to Tsumkwe, where we spent 17 days filming,” he said.
He added that the production of The Voice of the Bush was inspired by a wide variety of work like his previous documentary The Mbunza of the Kavango, Looking for Ou Pyp by Cecil Moller, and Kalahari by John Marshal.
The film was created to develop new content and stories about local communities’ way of life for cultural exchange.
“I loved making this film. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. The life we led with a two-man crew was monumental. I went back to Tsumkwe with the help of some friends to screen the film and they were so happy to see themselves on the silver screen. I’m sure the film will invite a lot of discussion and I welcome that, for sure,” Witbooi said.
Although Witbooi was the producer, director and camera operator on behalf of Gooday Film Production CC, Diran Karabeguian assisted as co-producer and narrator.
“For two months in pre-production stages, we would talk for hours about all the cool stuff that would fit into this traditional world because we have been striving to create something different.”
Witbooi was adamant that The Voice of the Bush would be nothing without the crew.
“We recruited the amazing editor, Ro Sawyers, who was of great assistance in the editing of the film.”
He encouraged other filmmakers to have the belief to execute their ideas through film despite challenges which they may face. “Making films starts by believing that it can be done. So it's important to try to work to empower yourself as a filmmakers and embrace the position you are in and make the film that you want. Don't be afraid of making mistakes.”
CAMIFF will screen documentary films, feature films and short films from all over the world from countries like Angola, South Africa, Iran, China, Portugal, Germany, Spain and the United States.