Africa News Bulletin

Namibia: Winini’s ‘Sacred Places’ Lands Amazon Prime

WRITER-DIRECTOR Lloyd Winini is starting the year in high gear as ‘Sacred Places’ (2020), his claustrophobic African horror, hits United States streaming service Amazon Prime Video.

“This means a lot,” says Winini.

“It reinforces my decision to pursue my passion and gives me hope that I can carry on working to put as much work as I can out there. I actually hope ‘Sacred Places’ reaches as many people as the platform can give around the globe.”

‘Sacred Places’ has been featured at a few international film festivals, but one in particular resulted in it landing on Prime Video.

“After the pandemic hit, there was no work for artists, and I used up all my savings on living, so I didn’t have the funds to get the film into the top film festivals or festivals that are genre specific that would allow my film to do well,” says Winini.

“So I mostly applied to free film festivals and used the change I got from the odd job to apply to anything cheap. The film got into a few festivals, but it did well at Afriff (Africa International Film Festival), and was chosen for distribution.”

Inspired by the stories Winini heard growing up and based on a play he wrote in 2016, ‘Sacred Places’ finds five friends in the mysterious Chinhoyi caves where a supernatural entity teases out their true nature.

The single-location Goethe Stage film was produced by Senga Brockerhoff and shot in the University of Namibia tunnels in 2020.

‘Sacred Places’ stars Diana Masters, Adriano Visagie, Sakeus Katonfoka, JD January, Cathy Ngenda, and Bupe Chiwala.

“I hope a lot of people, especially in Namibia, find time to watch the film,” says Winini.

“That’s how it stays on the platform, and that’s how the film makes a profit. The industry can only grow if we support our own productions.”

Winini is an award-winning playwright, and won the best newcomer director and best original script for ‘The Nuthouse’ at the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards.

His next film project is a feature titled ‘Scavenger Hunt’, which the film-maker is currently seeking funding for to produce.

“’Scavenger Hunt’ will be my first feature,” he says.

“It’s an action/adventure that takes place in the Namib Desert. I started working on it back in 2013. It started off as a series, but slowly morphed into a film that I believe can change the landscape in Namibia and across Africa.”

As local films, such as ‘Kapana’, ‘Hairareb’, ‘The White Line’ and ‘#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm’ continue to be picked up by international streaming services or shine at international film festivals, Winini considers his own win as indicative of a larger truth about local film-makers.

“There is a lot of talent, and there are a lot of people who are willing to do the work,” says Winini.

These wins “speak to the amount of quality work that Namibians can produce”, he says.

“Imagine how much more can be done with more funding in the film industry, and not just from the government, but from corperate Namibia as well.”

Original story on The Namibian

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