JOHANNESBERG — The Namibian government has created a film commission to promote the country as an international location and develop the local industry.
The African west coast country is starting to attract international productions with its desert and coastal landscapes. It was recently the location for two studio films, Disney’s “Young Black Stallion” and “Beyond Borders,” starring Angelina Jolie and Kevin Costner.
The government said the Film Commission would work closely with the Filmmakers Assn. of Namibia (FAN) to develop the local industry, particularly in the feature film area.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob is passionate about creating a film industry in Namibia and has been one of the driving forces behind getting all parties in government and the industry to work together to set up the commission.Three of the appointed film commissioners are from government — from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Environment and Tourism, and Foreign Affairs and Broadcasting — with the other two drawn from the industry. They are Friederick Philander, a scriptwriter and producer, and actress Vicky Matjila.
According to the Namibia Film Commission Act of 2000, the Film Commission’s duties are to regulate activities relating to film production, to develop and promote the industry and to establish a Film and Video Development Fund.
FAN chairman Gert Keding, welcoming the news, said the commission would have to regulate filmmakers and bring in stricter controls. He said some filmmakers were misusing crews and trashing locations.
Most foreign productions are bringing in entire crews from outside, but both FAN and the government are hoping to introduce a skills development system whereby foreigners will take on local trainees.
The commission will also be investigating ways to offer financial incentives to foreigners coming to film in Namibia.