Oshana to host film festival

Windhoek-AfricAvenir in conjunction with New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) launched the first ever Oshana film festival in Windhoek yesterday on Thursday this week.

The chief executive officer of NEPC, Dr Audrin Mathe handed over a cheque worth of N$ 80,000 to AfricAvenir for media coverage of the festival, in the New Era and Kundana newspapers.

During the launch, AfricAvenir also unveiled the posters of the event and announced the details for the new programmes. The Oshana film festival is set to take place in the northern part of the country from March 17 until March 21 this year.

The screening will take place in Epic Cinema and Sam Nujoma Multi-Purpose Centre in Ongwediva, Oshana Regional Library in Oshakati and the Rossing Foundation Education Centre in Ondangwa.

The opening of the festival will kick-off with the award winning Mozambican war drama, The Train of Salt and Sugar in Ongwediva.

It closes with a Namibian own film, The Unseen, a collection of philosophical musings on what it means to be alive in independent Namibia, in Ondangwa.

The main guest at the festival is the Governor of the Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa, who will officially open the festival.

Speaking at the launch, Mathe highlighted that it was quite good if Namibians started telling their own stories, as he sees "African stories as Namibian stories".

He congratulated AfricAvenir for taking the African stories to the northern part of the country, hoping the event would become bigger and better in future, and that it would screen countrywide in the next few years. He also encouraged more sponsors to come on board.

The festival director and coordinator, Hans-Christian Mahnke says they are very happy and proud to host the event in the north, adding that they are also very thankful to the towns of Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati, for welcoming them with initiatives in their respective towns.

"All and all it is about audiences, and we do hope audiences in Oshana will take the opportunity to enjoy high quality cinema content from Africa, speaking to the shared common experiences, cultures, languages and histories," Mahnke says. He adds that the films came from across Africa with a special focus on southern Africa.

During the festival, organisers also planned to feature a special focus on Mandume Century, by showcasing the film titled The Power Stone.

The Power Stone is a story of King Mandume and the Kwanyama Kingdom in Namibia.

Mahnke says they decided to host the event in the north after successfully running a monthly African film Series called "African Perspectives" for more than ten years in the Namibian capital.

They extended their regular screenings to Oshakati last year.

"In February last year, we held our first screening in Oshakati, opening the series with the African Premier of "The Unseen" (Namibia, 2016, directed by Perivi Katjavivi).

"Since then, we have held regular screenings at a public venue in Oshakati, realising the need to spread access to other towns in the population rich Oshana region," he says. At one of their screenings in Oshakati last year, ELCIN Bishop Rev. Dr. Shekutaamba Nambala highlighted the need for more and concerted efforts to bring access to African cinema to northern-based audiences to stimulate and initiate debate on relevant African and global topics.

They will screen more than nine films during the festival. They will also have a special focus on the youth, engaging them in arts and cultural education, and training them in the field of curation, events organisation, management skills, and marketing.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia