A group of young creatives have joined forced to start production on a new local feature film that will be shot entirely in Namibia. The film tells the story of a young female preacher who criss-crosses the desert to preach to a dwindling faith community.

Titled “Woestynpsalm”, the film is the brainchild of Ben van der Walt (22), a former headboy of Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool and currently a student at the Kanbar Institute for Film and Television in the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. Van der Walt is both writer and director for this film.

Getting started initially proved to be complicated. Van der Walt decided to follow a formal route, first founding the operational shell, Bosman Films, and then contracting the technical partners. Filming is intended to start in April with an all-Namibian cast and a cosmopolitan crew consisting of members from Namibia, South Africa, the USA and the Netherlands. Filming will primarily take place in Windhoek and in the southern parts of Namibia, even up to Lüderitz.

“Woestynpsalm is a homage to my family and my beautiful Namibia. Loosely based on a true story, it narrates the physical and emotional challenges of keeping something you love alive in a desert,” said Van der Walt.

The lockdown prevented Van der Walt from returning to the United States to complete his education but it gave him the opportunity to conceptualise his own major undertaking. From this, Woestynpsalm was born.

Like all enterprises, filming requires funding. “The initial plan was that I would self-fund Woestynpsalm through my freelance film projects. But once we got into pre-production, our vision grew as we realised the enormous filmmaking opportunities that Namibia has to offer,” he said.

“The project’s scope and budget had to expand beyond my own funding capabilities. We are now actively looking for local partners to help us bring this film to life. We would like to urge any Namibians who are in a position to contribute to reach out to us,” he emphasised.

Van der Walt and his enthusiastic crew has set their sights on October this year for the premiér.

Their progress can be tracked at www.facebook.com/woestynpsalm.film.

Ben van der Walt, a film and television student at New York University, has set out to produce a new local feature film, “Woestynpsalm.”

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