A Pan African film titled 'The Skeleton Coast', shot in the Namib Desert, is providing a springboard for African film makers to create world-class movies.
This is according to the producers of the film, who stressed the need for Africans to unite in telling their own stories and use the industry to create economic opportunities.
Namibia's Mondjila and Nigeria's Play Network Studios are the forces behind the epic film 'Skeleton Coast'.
From blockbusters to documentaries, the Namib Desert has offered breath-taking scenery for international and foreign films to tell stories, though the local industry has often struggled.
But this time, the two African studios are determined to change the narrative.
Rogers Ofime, the producer of The Skeleton Coast, says, '' Why can't we harness what Africa has to offer for Africans? And that's actually what brought us here. There can be no better place to start this pan-African vision than Namibia. The landscape, the location, the scenery—everything is amazing. Everything is amazing. So we were able to write a story that suited the ambience that suited this place, and I think we've done a very wonderful job.''
Co-executive producer of the Skeleton Coast, Panashe Daringo, says, ''The Nigerians make their own films, and we know them as Nollywood; the South Africans make their own ones. And it's all in clusters, but very seldomly. We want to tell sophisticated stories. So specifically in our film, we've got young African scientists that are looking for a rare mineral, so it elevates the populace into a space of professionals as opposed to just telling the normal monotonous stories that we've heard before. And that's really what we want to do; we want to try and break the mold and reach new frontiers.''
After collaborating to bring renowned Nigerian artist Burna Boy to Namibia, the two companies dared to dream of an ambitious Pan African film, featuring stars from South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, and Ghana, as well as seasoned American actor Eric Roberts.
Film locations in Skeleton Coast Park included the state-owned NWR Terrace Bay Resort, which further housed the celebrities and production crew for a month.
''so through this production, we believe we've got the opportunity to take Namibia to the world. We have the opportunity to leverage relationships and partnerships with other brothers and sisters across the continent and tell our story not just as a Namibian story but as an African story.''
''We want to do as many more; we want to be able to go from Namibia to the next issue in the next place, and then also, there's a lot of stories in Namibia: come here established, move on to the next place, establish what dream, the Pan African dream needs to continue. The Pan African dream needs to continue. We need to own our own existence. And that's the one thing that this story is going to do for us as Africans.''
The journey of this production was difficult at times because the film was self-funded, to the tune of N$10 million.
Among others, top-notch equipment and expertise were used to create what is expected to be a compelling story and ensure the product can be sold on international platforms like Netflix.