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Katutura: Catalyst of Innovation

“Katutura” is one of the most anticipated films in Namibia at the moment, with over 6000 likes on its Facebook page. Its cast includes names such as Odile Muller. This movie has been in production for about four years now. The brilliant script, which portrays the township of Katutura, showcasing the nation’s national values and vast potentials, was written by none other than Obed Emvula, who is also the project’s producer. With his busy schedule and heavy workload, Obed Emvula was nonetheless able to grant an interview to the Namibia Economist about the feature film. “Katutura” will start filming on 24 May, with preproduction starting beginning of May, directed by Forlain Schott. “We had to get the best people to make the film. One thing we were not compromising on was that we wanted the whole cast to be Namibian. We had to get the best Namibian actors and find new gems, the preparation so far has been challenging but luckily. We have a production team that works very hard,” he explained.He stated that the making of the film is venturing into virgin territory, as Namibia has never done such an independent commercial film of this magnitude before. “The most important thing is to get the infrastructure correct. Firstly, the main aim of the project is to resuscitate the Namibian film industry, thereby creating a tapestry of Namibian culture.” The film is to reflect the socio-economic culture, national values and aspirations. Secondly, it is to develop the creative industry, hopefully getting to a stage where it contributes to the creative economy where people with little or no skills can be trained to acquire skills they can use for the rest of their lives.

Thirdly, it intends to create a film-induced tourism market where internationally, people will be interested in coming to Namibia to experience it in its true form. “The film is a first window, a window into engaging with Namibians. Traditionally, how we usually market Namibia, is through landscapes and animals, but Namibia is more than that,” he said adding: “‘Katutura’ is rich and is an experiential film, which means you experience the culture, the parts of Katutura, parts of this country.” The film is entirely funded in Namibia by various entities such as FNB and others who can not be mentioned due to confidentiality contracts. The project has a US-Canadian distributor who will market the movie to international buyers. The two-month rehearsals concluded last month. Emvula emphasised that the movie was about showing what is happening in the present, recognising the need to work on local content and becoming a catalyst of innovation for future projects such as this. This is the only project that procures from all four pillars of the National Development Plan, namely manufacturing, finance, tourism and logistics.

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