Never have I had a film captivate me as much as 'The White Line' did. As I sat in anticipation, I was fearful, I was angry, I was disgusted and I felt sad. The joy and the overwhelming pride I felt, as it fundamentally told our story, our Namibian story, is indescribable.
Set in 1963, 'The White Line' tells the story of illicit love between a black domestic worker and a white police officer after the Old Location uprising. The two subconsciously went against society's norms and found solace in love in an era where love was restricted to you only loving your kind. The storyline was solid and consistent throughout. The lead actors Girley Jazama and Jan-Barend Scheepers, including the rest of the cast, embodied their roles and did it so beautifully. Scheepers, like everyone in the room, shed tears during the closing scene, a scene that spoke volumes.
It is pure genius that the filming took exactly 14 days at different geographical locations, including Khorixas, Karibib and Okahandja.
One of the biggest obstacles in the production of such films is finances. "The film took long to produce because sourcing money was an obstacle. We decided to visualise it for the people, to also test the audience so that we have something to show to the investors," recalled the Director of 'The White Line', Desiree Kahikopo.
She said lack of funders saw the Namibian Film Commission (NFC) coming to their aid. "Our initial budget for the movie was around N$7 million but NFC said they could assist with N$1.3 million, so we had to work with that," stated Kahikopo.
Entertainment Now! observed how Jan-Barend Scheepers, who plays Peter shed tears while watching the film. "As a Namibian, I am interested in Namibian history. The reason why I cried was that these have always been things I wondered about a lot in my life. I have always asked myself these questions: If I was 40 years older right now, what kind of decisions would I have been making, would I have been with all the propaganda and all the nonsense that was happening around me?" asked Scheepers, as he wondered if he would have had a problem with how things were going on back in the days.
"I, unfortunately, don't have an answer to that," he said.
Scheepers said character, Peter, is kind of good, naïve and a little bit of a coward and he could kind of relate to the character that is why he shed a tear.
Screening local films is a big challenge and reaching the big screens is always an issue. "One of the strategic reasons why we hosted the screening is to have these types of conversations. 'The White Line' is different and people are going to watch it. The mandate is to have this type of content commissioned and present for Namibians," said Levana Cloete, the Corporate Affairs Manager at MultiChoice Namibia.
Cloete said taking such films is part of their agenda.
The locally produced film 'The White Line' premieres in Durban next week.
Kahikopo was watching something about the civil rights movement while in America when she figured Namibia is also full of stories that no one is telling. "I wrote the title on a piece of paper until I saw something on the old location and figured this would be the perfect plot since no one has told the story," said Kahikopo.
The film, produced by Kahikopo, Girley Charlene Jazama and Micheal Pulse, who was also in charge of the writing part and edited by Renier de Bryun with Laurent Hasemans as cinematographer and Ponti Dikuua as composer, is a true reflection of what happened in the Old Location.
This week, the cast treated the media to exclusive viewing of the film. It was a 99 minutes of utter brilliance, the costumes, the cinematography, the locations and, most importantly, the cast.
-Additional reporting by Paheja Siririka