Mikiros Garoes and Jenny Kandenge were the only two local young scriptwriters selected to participate in the newly initiated Youth Film Programme, which kicked off in South Africa last week. Garoes and Kandenge joined eight other participants from South Africa in this exciting programme, which will train them on how to produce a film from the script development, until the postproduction and launching of the film.
The Namibia Film Commission (NFC), and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an Agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, partnered on this programme to host a six month mentorship and hands-on-training programme for emerging young filmmakers.
The programme will be facilitated by Asi-B Films, which has been appointed as the supervising production company by the NFVF. All the Namibian participants are fully funded by the NFC during their stay in South Africa, including their production costs.
Speaking to Entertainment Now, Garoes says she feels lucky and honoured to be chosen among other talented up and coming writers/filmmakers. “I am feeling the pressure because not only am I representing myself and my work, but I am representing Namibia as a country and its film industry. Ultimately I just want to make my people proud and show the rest of Africa, and the world at large how talented Namibians are when given the right opportunity,” she says.
“It’s also a major boost for my career in terms of exposure. All the stories and screenplays I’ve been writing over the years can finally get out there with financial support instead of collecting dust in my library. It feels like all my hard work is finally paying off,” says a proud Garoes.
Apart from this, Garoes adds that it will also help with her writing skills. “I’m an instinctual writer, I follow my gut but I don’t always follow the standard rules. It’ll be good to have a seasoned writing mentor that will help me find a healthy balance between my instincts and what is palatable to the viewing audience.”
Garoes started acting in theater when she lived in the United States of America (USA), writing and performing in one woman shows locally in Los Angeles. She also produced student films to become comfortable in front of the camera when she was first starting out.
Moving back to Namibia last year, Garoes hosted one of her biggest one woman play titled ‘Black Coffee, White Porridge’ written by Joseph Molapong at the College of the Arts Theater (COTA). “I also had a leading role in the German Namibian feature production ‘River of Life: Survival on the Okavango’ produced by Joe Vision Productions and Schiwago Film, which is set for release later this year,” she says.
Garoes schooled her lower education at the Emma Hoogenhout Primary School and Delta Secondary School in Windhoek, before moving to LA to study music, writing and acting. “I studied vocals and music production at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and for acting I studied at Ivana Chubbuck Studios and Stanford Meisner Studios. For writing, mainly comedic, I studied at The Groundlings and The Upright Citizens Brigade,” she says.
For Kandenge, being selected on this programme is an honour although she also finds the experience a little overwhelming. “A lot of people want us to do well and represent the best of Namibia. The pressure is tough but I guess it comes with the opportunity,” says the 26-years old Kandenge. On this programme, she intends to obtain more recognition for her work and to gain new skills from the people in the South Africa industry.
She adds that this is a career making opportunity and she already started writing and working and within a few weeks’ time, she will has learned so much. “It means a lot to me because I haven’t had the chance to study filmmaking and NFC has granted me the opportunity to learn from the best of South Africans young writers,” she says.
Born in Swakopmund and having grown up all over Namibia, mostly in Windhoek, Kandenge always had a love for literature, mostly reading and writing short stories. She studied Media Studies and Drama at the University of Namibia (Unam), where she learned more about scriptwriting.
“I fell in love with theatre when I was at Unam, but attending a screenwriting course with the NFC in 2014 taught me a lot more about writing for film. I was mostly focused on theatre until last year when I got more opportunities to write for the screen,” she says. She recently wrote and self-published her first novel titled Trauma.