Namibia and Germany Produce Colonial Race-Theory Film

20 September 2021

NAMIBIA'S Joe Vision Production (JVP) and Germany's Zero One Film has started with the production of an international feature film, titled 'Ein Platz an der Sonne' (A place in the sun).

The film is directed by the award-winning Lars Kraume, and will be filmed in the Erongo, Otjizondjupa and Khomas regions until October.

According to JVP's Caillin Basson, the film follows a young German anthropologist, Leonard Scheicher, on a research mission amid the war in the former Deutsch-Südwestafrika in an attempt to disprove race theory.

"His journey becomes one of trying to find a young Herero woman he met in Berlin during a colonial exhibition. This female lead is played by our very own award-winning actress Girley Jazama alongside Germany's Leonard Scheicher," she says.

While the film is a work of fiction, Basson says it is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation in both Germany and Namibia on "the darkest time in human history".

It is a stark reminder of colonial race views of the 19th and 20th centuries, she says.

Kraume last week told German Spiegel Kultur magazine: "We have completely erased the colonial era from the collective memory."

This production comes at a time when the film industry is in dire need of work.

Earlier this year The Namibian reported that when Namibia first locked down due to Covid-19 last year, 18 foreign film productions were cancelled.

This did not only cut foreign revenue, but was also a big blow to local film production and development.

According to Basson, 'Ein Platz an der Sonne' has been able to employ 1 644 Namibians.

A database that manages further opportunities will be developed to assist in the professionalisation of the film industry, she says.

"The production brings a significant contribution to the local economy in terms of opportunities, as well as spin-off benefits to industries such as hospitality, logistics and transportation. This is an opportunity for us as a nation to make a more deliberate effort to ensure that the cultural and creative sector becomes mainstreamed in the conventional economy as a significant contributor to improving the national identity and film as a national resource of Namibia," she says.

The film is reported to cost about N$130 million.

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