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Filming of Afrikaans film Woestynpsalm done, crew moves to post-production

Filming of Afrikaans film Woestynpsalm done, crew moves to post-production

Three students from New York University, assisted by a motley crew of just six individuals, directing a cast of another six, have just attained the impossible – shooting all the footage for a full-length feature film in one month and three days, and doing that in Namibia.

To achieve this almost unbelievable feat, writer and director, Ben van der Walt, relied heavily on his professional contacts at New York University where he is a film student, and on his extensive local network of creatives, supporters and wellwishers. Shooting started on 26 April and by 29 May the very last scenes were done.

The shooting was for the Afrikaans film, Woestynpsalm, which tells the story of Nadia, a woman cleric, as she navigates her life between professional obligations and private commitments. Trying desperately to keep her diverse but dwindling flock together, she is confronted daily by the harsh reality of being a preacher in Namibia’s desolate south where the faithful are few and the distractions many.

The lead character, Nadia Bosman, is played by actress Andeline Wieland with Simon Andreas, Willem Dykema, Benjamin Smith, Kris Barnard, Leon Janse van Rensburg and Pieter Greeff in supporting roles. A unique feature of Woestynpsalm is that two of the characters are played by real-life preachers.

For the production part, van der Walt, or Benna as he is fondly known, invited his two co-students, Rex Sang and Anna Lee to his Heimat, to embark on an adventurous journey of which the outcome was never guaranteed. But with the help of the crew as well as the cast, and dozens of local supporters, the threemanship actually managed to pull off their hairbrained undertaking and bagged all the scenes needed to patch together a feature film, once they are all back in New York.

Filming primarily took place in Windhoek, Solitaire, at the Spreetshoogte pass and on many picturesque Namibian roads and roadsides.

Reflecting on what they have just achieved, Benna said “Production was not easy, but it would have been entirely impossible without the backing of friends and family, the general public, the Namibian media and our incredible partners: Netwerk Namibië, Gondwana Collection and The Nictus Group. Your support saw us through – not just financially, but also creatively.”

Production now enters the next phase where all the many shots and scenes are strung together in a studio, following the storyline that is based on Benna’s original script. It is his intention to release the final product still before the end of this year.

Their progress can be followed at and

New York University film students, Rex Sang (left) and Ben van der Walt, completed the entire filming for a full-length feature film in just over a month.


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The Economist accommodates two interns every year, one per semester. They are given less demanding, softer issues to hone their skills, often with a specific leaning to social issues. Today, many of our interns are respected journalists or career professionals at economic and financial institutions. - Ed.