This weekend we held the premiere for our film, ”Himba – det röda folket” (Himba – The Red People), a film about a unique culture in southwest Africa. When I’ve been working on a production for several years and are finally ready to plan the premiere, expectations are high and I am always curious how the audience will respond. Will they react the way I’ve hoped? By that time I’ve seen the movie hundreds of times, back and forth, and am, quite honestly, sick to death of it. It’s hard for me to judge if it is any good. Technically I know that it is ok, but will the audience appreciate the film and understand the message.
Producing a film or writing a book has many challenges. It’s like wandering out into unknown territory and having to climb a mountain. In the beginning it is rather pleasant as you walk up the foot of the mountain, but after awhile the path becomes steeper and more rugged. It’s a long haul to the summit, and by the time you finally reach it your thoughts are muddled and you wonder if it was really worth the effort. Then suddenly the sun breaks through and the clouds dissipate to reveal an enchanted landscape. (The audience has stayed awake through the entire show and the first applause breaks out in the theater.) Yes! It was worth the effort. Descending the mountain is easier, but on the way down we see the next mountain looming in the distance. A new film awaits, a new story to be told.
During the first showings of any film I’ll stand in the darkness and study the faces in the audience. It is from their expressions that I’ll get the first indication of whether or not I have succeeded in getting my message across. I’m filled with a kind of apprehensive anticipation.
So how was the premiere weekend for “Himba – the Red People”? We’ve showed the film to a full house each evening and the response has been fantastic. We’ve been inundated in gratitude and have received many messages, emails and posts from people expressing their appreciation. We’ve also been asked to show the movie in other parts of Sweden. All anxiety about how the film will be received has evaporated and I realize that my efforts were not in vain.
I am very grateful to everyone who came to see the film during this premiere weekend. Special thanks to Christofer Wärnlöf and everyone at Häggatorp, who arranged a spectacular premiere party on Friday after the first show. Häggatorp’s Manor House, built in the 1700’s, was filled with people and music from the live African band, and we enjoyed a tasty buffet laid out in the charming dining room. I also want to express my immense appreciation to Namibia’s ambassador, Morina Muuondjo, and her staff who has been with us this weekend for the premiere. Ambassador Morina is a great inspiration for our work in Namibia.
Our next film premiere will be held in Cambridge, Minnesota on April 22. It is a wonderful story about Dr. Tom Coleman, a surgeon who spent a large part of his life working to save the lives of thousands of people in Ethiopia. “The Tom Coleman Story” is an extraordinary account of a remarkable man whom I will write more about in the coming weeks.
See the trailer for “The Tom Coleman Story” here.