Meet the Crew

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Ben van der Walt

Writer, Director

Ben was born and raised in Namibia, an arid country in Southern Africa, where his interest in filmmaking started. After completing high school, Ben applied to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for Film and Television. Although he had never been to the United States, a few months later he was headed for New York City. In March of 2020, Ben returned to Namibia indefinitely but continued studying through online classes at NYU. Having told Rex about the idea of a story about a female reverend in Namibia a few months prior to COVID-19, they started exploring this concept and its potential again after arriving at a crossroads regarding their future in film school.

While still working on the script, Ben is currently overseeing the broader logistics of making a feature film in his home country. Just like the main character, the crew would have to travel large distances in the Namib desert, making it an exciting and challenging endeavor for everyone.

Shooting a film in a relatively unseen part of Namibia is an aspect of this project that Ben is not only enthusiastic about but feels is important to display on the big screen to an audience familiar and especially unfamiliar with this beautiful and daunting country. Furthermore, taking on this project with a group of like-minded people and friends is something that Ben looks forward to. Being introduced to such an extremely diverse collection of people at NYU, Ben has always dreamed of showing them his home country.

bvd237@nyu.edu / IG: ben.vdw

Rex Sang

Director of Photography, Co-Producer 

Rex is a Junior at NYU Tisch School of the Arts studying Film and Television. He grew up in Shanghai and later moved to California. Rex is pursuing cinematography but also enjoys writing and directing. He loves food and would have wanted to become a chef in another lifetime.

 

Rex is currently helping with pre-production in New York City and also looking forward to flying to Namibia to meet the team in person.

rs6348@nyu.edu / IG: rex.sang

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Anna is a half-Russian, half-Korean student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is originally from Moscow but has been living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for the last ten years, where her longtime childhood obsession with Old Hollywood and New Wave movies developed into a determination to pursue film. 

Anna is now in her junior year at NYU double majoring in Film and Television and History and is interested in exploring the connection between humanitarian advocacy and film. She met Ben during freshman year as he lived across from her, and they quickly became friends, finding comfort in similarities between Dutch and Namibian culture, as well as the fact that neither of them has lived in the US before. 

As this is Anna’s first time producing a full feature film, she is looking forward to when she and Rex can actually fly to Namibia to meet with the rest of the crew and begin shooting. She has never been to Africa and is excited to finally be introduced to a culture that is both foreign, yet also somehow so familiar.

annamlee11@gmail.com / IG: anna_michelle01

Anna Lee

Producer, Camera Operator

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Anika is a born and raised Namibian, passionate about the possibilities within the creative industry. She is currently a 3rd-year student at The Aleit Academy, situated in Somerset West, South Africa, where she is studying Events Coordination.

For the time being, Anika is in Namibia continuing her studies online, whilst she is assisting with the pre-production and production planning of making the Namibian film.

Awaiting for the crew to arrive, Anika is co-managing the campaign with Anna, while also researching potential cast members.

anikahenning3@gmail.com / IG: henninganika

Anika Henning

Campaign Co-Manager, Designer, Casting Director

FC Smith was born in Keetmanshoop, Namibia, and grew up in Windhoek. During his years of participating in cycling, his coach gave him his first proper point-and-shoot camera and he became obsessed with it. With this new fondness for cameras, he, later on, decided to go off to film school in Cape Town, where he has been currently studying and learning the craft of film. What has started with a mere gift has now grown into a love for the creative world that is within the film and all the possibilities of imaginative creations.

Currently going into his post-graduate year, FC wants to further develop his skills in Cinematography and learn how to move his love for cinema into the new digital world. Working on a project like this would be a very special opportunity to create something in the homeland as Namibia has some of the most beautiful landscapes that can be caught on camera.​

fcsmth@gmail.com / IG: fc_smith_

FC Smith 

Camera Operator

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Benjamin Jacobs grew up in Namibia and went to South Africa to study film. He got inspired by his dad that loves to watch films with a keen interest in sound quality, showing him what stories are and can be. This is why he decided to pursue filmmaking.

He is now continuing his studies with honours to learn more about storytelling by creating content. His inspiration and passion lie with world-building whether that is through Visual Effects or Sound Design. He is always willing to help and push boundaries where he can, to create a believable story.

 

Furthermore, he is excited to shoot a feature film in Namibia to show the potential in Namibian stories.

benjaminjaces@gmail.com / IG: _benjij_

Benjamin Jacobs 

Sound Operator, Designer

Janay is a Cape-Townian that has spent the majority of her high school years in Namibia. It is here that she got her first education in technical drawings and architectural programs. This sparked an interest once she realized she can apply it in a creative way to visualize and execute aesthetic spaces – doing so to contribute to the telling of meaningful narratives. She is especially passionate about symbolic design and colour theory, a background in other art mediums contributing to an ongoing exploration of these elements.

This forming the basis of what she is exploring within her thesis this year, which is part of completing her honours degree at AFDA in Cape Town. She has completed her BA degree at the same institute, majoring in Production Design for Film and auditing Producing for Film. The combination of the two contributing to detailed planning and executing cost-effective designs. Hoping to apply this knowledge effectively during this production and looking forward to the challenge of working on her first feature-length film. Being especially excited about going back to Namibia to work on a film in the country where it all began.

janaycoetzee777@gmail.com / IG: janay_ja_nee

Janay Coetzee

Production Designer 

Maxim Velli was born in Russia into a family of members of the clerisy. From an early age, he was surrounded by the arts and the insistence of his parents to be knowledgeable about the arts. In spite of his talent and passion lying in the technical sphere, he never drifted away from the artistic world that his family had introduced him into.

During his teenage years, he started to get involved in web and graphic design as well as photography and video. His broad interests and a determined work attitude have led him to develop several websites and create printed media for various companies.

At 14, he moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where his international network rapidly expanded, which has led him to meet the wonderful people behind this project and share his experience as a graphic artist and a web developer. ​

max.velly@gmail.com / IG: maxim.velli

Maxim Velli 

Graphic Designer, Web Developer 

Danielle Jansen 

Graphic Designer, Visual Creator

Danielle is a BA Honours Visual Communication Design graduate at Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She grew up in Namibia and lived there for 14 years, and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, but she prefers to call herself a visual creator, as she likes to explore different mediums and platforms that do not restrict her creativity.

 

She will be partaking in designing the visuals for the social media and promotional departments of the film, and is looking forward to collaborating with other crew members.

danihellj@gmail.com / IG: danihellj