African/German Lesbian Web Series Pitches Online to Raise Funds Independently


September 8, 2014 /LGBT News/ A web series based around a Namibian lesbian running a resource center for African women in the German capital of Berlin, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to make its second episode.  'The Centre' is written by Naomi Beukes-Meyer, herself a Namibian native who has been living in Berlin for over 20 years.  

Though there is a large African diaspora throughout Europe, Beukes-Meyer felt that there was a distinct lack of film and television dramas highlighting first and second generation African female and, in particular, lesbian experience on the continent and it was this that spurred her on to write the first episode of ‘The Centre’ two years ago.

Entitled ‘I’m Still Down Here’, that episode which, like each of The Centre series’ episodes, can also be viewed as a stand-alone short film,  focused on the tender love story of two teenage girls and their struggle to deal with family, religious and cultural values.   Though the film received no funding and was primarily bankrolled by Beukes-Meyer herself, its unconventional storyline and the fact that it appeared as a webisode on various video sharing platforms across the Internet, including One More Lesbian, has resulted in it being viewed a remarkable 150,000+ times since it first aired online last autumn.  


The second episode, ‘What to do with the Silence’, concentrates on the personal journey of the central character Leoni, and the tragic circumstances that bring her from a settled life in Namibia to helping other African immigrant women in Berlin.  While the first film was shot entirely in Berlin, this time Beukes-Meyer and her team are planning to film in both Berlin and Windhoek, Namibia. The $30,000 raised through the crowdfunding campaign will help with cast and crew fees in both countries, post-production costs as well as equipment rental in the Namibian capital city.

“We began looking at the Crowdfunding model which has been used so successfully to fund film productions in the US and Canada and felt that this was a positive option for us,” Beukes-Meyer said.  

“We really liked the whole notion of peer-to-peer funding and it seemed to fit well with our own ethos, not just because this is not a big budget production but because the nature of both the Berlin and the women’s film scene has always been friends and friends-of-friends helping each other out to get a film made.”

“My dream,” she added, “Is to film one episode of ‘The Centre’ a year.   If crowdfunding enables us to do that and to bring these stories to a larger community of film lovers, then we can help to give a voice to many lesbians who may not have had a voice, or a reason to believe their voice was important, before.” 

A note on crowdfunding: Crowdfunding enables people with a great creative idea to ask the general public for the funding they need to get the film made. The team behind the idea sets a target for the money it wants to raise and explains how it will use the cash. People can then make pledges for small amounts of money in return for a reward if the target is reached.

What To Do with the Silence’ goes live on Indigogo on Tuesday 9th September 2014 at  igg.me/at/the-centre-web-series



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