Namibian Economy Gets 'Reel' Boost

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Waiting for the day they will come and shoot in Nigeria. If only we provide the enabling environment!

Namibian Economy Gets 'Reel' Boost

The Namibian (Windhoek)
November 21, 2003
Posted to the web November 21, 2003

By Maggi Barnard

MILLIONS of dollars are being pumped into the Namibian economy as a result of the filming in Namibia of the Hollywood action movie 'Flight of the Phoenix'.

Guy Nockels, co-owner of Namib Films and Namibian unit production manager of the movie, said as much as N$90 million will be spent at the coast up until February 2004.

"The economic boost is unbelievable," he said.

"Restaurant owners have full houses almost every night".

If all the spin-off spending is taken into account, an economic boost of more than N$257 million can be expected.

This includes additional spending by the film crew, such as eating out in restaurants, shopping and travelling to other places in the country.

'Flight of the Phoenix' is also employing a large number of Namibians.

Of the total crew of 250 people, 150 are locals.

They include welders, painters, carpenters, drivers, personal assistants, a locations team and the transport department.

"We have given preference to Namibians as far as possible," said Nockels.

He added that on the technical side Namibia still lacked skilled workers and most of them had to come from South Africa.

"But we are building up a database of locals for future projects".

Another seven Namibians have been taken on as trainees on the set through the Namibian Film Commission.

The seven were picked from about 400 applicants.

They are employed in the camera, lighting, art, grips (everything below the camera), wardrobe and special effects departments.

Nockels said this opportunity would allow them to learn and gain experience to further their careers in the industry.

The biggest negative aspect for Nockels was that people had taken advantage of the house rental side of it.

"They should not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," he said.

He said some people were charging exorbitant rentals which he said would be difficult for locals to bear.

The highest monthly rent is apparently N$15 000 for a luxury house or flat.

More than 85 houses and flats have been rented to crew members, including the 11 actors.

All the Namibian and South African crew members are employed by Namib Films.

It is the only company in the country that has experience with international feature films.

The cast of 'Flight of the Phoenix' includes famous names such as Dennis Quaid in the lead role, Giovanni Ribisi and Tyrese, well-known British comedian Hugh Laurie, rap artist Sticky Fingaz and Australian actress Miranda Otto.
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