Raise your hands in Salute

10 August 2018 | Art and Entertainment

Having spent over 18 months just on research and scriptwriting with inmates in correctional facilities, director Philippe Telavera of Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) says Salute's nomination for best movie Southern Africa at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards means a lot as an acknowledgement.

Telavera says Namibia is rich in stories that need to be shared across Africa and beyond, and the nomination is a great step in that direction.

“The actors had five weeks of rehearsals with former inmates, to help them get into character and understand the context. The post-production took over six months and a score was created for the film, with music from Jericho, Michael Pulse, Ponti Dikuua, Le Roi and Greezly. Everybody really worked hard on the film. A nomination as best film for southern Africa is an acknowledgement of everybody's hard work,” he says. Although the African film industry is dominated by Nigeria and South Africa, Telavera says it is important to let people know on the continent that Namibia has amazing talent. The nomination will also hopefully inspire local filmmakers to do more and better. The aim of the film is to give a voice to inmates, to get their stories out and let people know what happens in Namibian correctional facilities. Telavera says OYO would like local ministries to get involved and provide services to inmates, including condoms and PeRP. “As a welfare organisation, we (OYO) think it is wrong that inmates cannot access condoms or PrEP. We hide behind morals, saying it is wrong for two men to have sex. We think we can lock up young men for four to five years and expect them not to have sex. But they are human beings, hence sexual beings, with needs. Some will abstain, but some will not. They will choose to have sex, or they will be forced to have sex. Some, in the process, will get HIV. Once they get out of the correctional facility, they can in turn infect other people. If you think that Carlito could be your brother, your nephew, your cousin, what would you want for him? The film can help people to reflect. We hope it can affect policies,” he said. As a build up towards the awards, the film will be presented at the FNCC on 15 August at 18:00. Entrance is N$40 and tickets can be purchased in advance at the FNCC as there are limited seats. Telavera concluded by encouraging local actors to dedicate more time to rehearsals as an investment in the art. For one to have a successful career in film as a director or actor, he says they should be able to do it as a fulltime job which could be tough with finances and the population of Namibia. “We are a small country, so it is difficult. But it is not impossible. You need to aim for quality over quantity. It takes time to create a character and create a relationship with the other actors/characters. “But when you do it right, when you put the right energy and work into the product, it can be amazing. And when you get nominated, as we did, it puts a huge smile on your face and you know that all the sleepless nights and challenges faced were worth it,” he said. The voting lines are open and will close on 24 August. All the terms and conditions that apply are available on the Africa Magic website. Viewers can join the conversation using the hashtag #AMVCA2018 and follow @dstvng, @gotvng and @africamagictv on Twitter for more updates.

June Shimuoshili