Local film industry professionals were impressed by the work of College of the Arts (Cota) filmmaking students, following the screening of their final-year projects at MultiChoice Namibia on Friday morning.
It was the second-ever film screening of the short films and documentaries by approximately 10 Cota students, who included some NBC employees.
Film experts were called in as moderators of the students’ final projects, and one of them was Othilia ‘Tutu’ Mungoba – a creative director, content strategist and filmmaker – who described her input as “coming full circle”, having been one of the first Cota intakes for the exact course.
“I think 20 years down the line, it’s a ‘lekker’ and very proud moment to see Namibia has come this far,” she said during the event.
“My overall impression of today’s screening is… very insightful. I think it says much about where the industry is going in trying to mould, shape and groom the young ones so that they can offer quality services and are fully aware of their creative voices in the same stance.”
Cota rector Angelika Schroeder acknowledged the difficulties the students experienced through their studies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, lack of equipment and the strike.
“Some of your fellow students dropped out, and you experienced a lack of lecturers – to name a few, but you came through, and I’m grateful that you are pushing through until the end and have not given up,” she noted.
Three short films were screened, namely ‘You and I’ by Gino Rachid Shipanga, ‘Darling: The High Stakes of Breatris Mukoya’ by Maureen Sikongo and ‘Kandy’s Dream’ by NBC students. Two documentaries – ‘The Silenced’ and ‘The Dream’ were produced by Uakamburuavi Jeomba and the NBC students, respectively.
The ‘Breatris Mukoya’ film is centred around a 16-year-old high schooler, who makes choices that quickly change for the worst when she gets into a comprising position, where she has to choose between what she believes is her happy-ever-after or keeping it a secret for the rest of her life.
‘You and I’ is a film about girlfriend and boyfriend Dexter and Abigail deciding to have sex on their 6th month anniversary, only to find themselves at opposite sides when Abigail finds out she is pregnant.
‘The Silenced’ is about Sarah, who is the victim of rape and child molestation, as well as her tremendous experiences as a 16-year-old in the streets of Havana which have always been rough for young girls like Sarah.
Another moderator, Esther Beukes, said it was refreshing to see what the students are doing, and to see the type of stories they want to tell.
She added: “I was very much impressed with the passion they have and the ability to be resourceful to use the little they have – the limitation of resources to make the best because, in the real industry, we also work with limited funds for production”.
Leon Mubiana, the students’ lecturer, said the screening event provided them a platform to get some criticism from industry professionals, which, he said, instils in them the ability to be challenged.
“I often told them they need to be thick-skinned and allow people to criticise their work to learn from their mistakes,” Mubiana reiterated.
“From what I saw, most of the productions were really good, and one can see that they have the ability to learn and can differentiate how they started and at the level they are now; there is really good progress,” he said.
A few of the students shared their experiences of the screening.
“I had a wonderful experience because I got to be criticised by industry professionals, and I got to learn where I can improve to make better films in future as a scriptwriter and director,” said Maureen Sikongo.
Stephen Kimaro said the whole process was challenging and stressful.
“But I would love to thank the moderators for the criticism and empowering encouragements that we are yet to see in the real world – not the college films anymore,” Kimaro said.
Meanwhile, the students expressed excitement for the graduation that is coming up this Friday.