Obed Emvula, Namibia Film Commission
What are the benefits offered by the Film Commission or the Government?
The Namibian Government offers a one-stop shop through the Namibia Film Commission to process film permits, thereby reducing bureaucracy. The Namibia Film Commission has a mandate to develop and promote the film industry as well as make Namibia a favourable film destination. The Government also offers a positive film environment through world-class infrastructure in road and telecommunications, and a vibrant legacy and freedom of speech. There is no censorship in Namibia.
What makes this destination exquisite for shooting an Indian film?
Magical vistas and uninterrupted horizons make any film more exquisite when filmed in Namibia. The country is 850,000 sq kms, which means it is large with only a population of 2.1 million. Logistically, Namibia excels in offering film directors access to very dynamic landscapes, reachable with ease. The colours in Namibia are vivid and natural, unique when captured by camera. The tones and colours of Namibia add value to a film like no other location, other than what Namibia does so beautifully, especially anything achieved by CGI.
Why should an Indian filmmaker choose your region to shoot?
300 days of sunlight all year through. Rainfall lasts only 40 minutes. Unique and magical landscapes and vistas. The vast variety of flora and fauna along with a film-friendly society is a plus for any filmmaker. A competitive film rate card, especially for crew. Proximity to major trade hubs (Cape Town 2 hr flight, Johannesburg 1 hr 30 mins flight). All this makes filming Namibia lucrative to an Indian filmmaker.
What are the tax incentives? Are there any special tax benefits for large production companies?
Currently, there is a 15 per cent VAT returnable incentive. The country and the local industry are currently in advanced stages of putting forward more incentives related to the film industry.
Can you share some anecdotes about film production in your region?
Namibians love comedy. When Angelina Jolie gave birth to her daughter in Namibia, most people assumed she chose this country because it is home to the oldest desert in the world. Many thought Namibia was an Arab country, which it is not. Namibia is a Christian country with religious freedom, where locals enjoy some of the best beers and beef in the world.
Have any Indian films shot in your region. If so, can you name some and the assistance provided?
Parts of Dhoom 2 directed by Sanjay Gadhvi, and Ghajini directed by AR Murugadoss were filmed in Namibia. Parts of Mast directed by Ram Gopal Verma and Ayan directed by KV Anand were also filmed in Namibia. We assisted with providing film permits and visas on time and facilitating their stay in Namibia for the duration of the project.
What is the procedure to obtain authorisation to shoot?
Simply complete a permission-to-film application form and pay € 55. It only takes three working days. Then apply for a work visa, which takes 14 working days. For filming in protected areas, additional permissions are needed from relevant authorities.