“The director Charles Burnett called me in LA from Namibia and asked me if I would edit the film. We had just worked on Martin Scorsese's The Blues Project and it didn't take much convincing to get me to go to Namibia to edit the film.

The shoot schedule was 93 days, and I took my own Avid Adrenaline. I edited in Namibia for around four months, and left before the shoot had wrapped to do the final editing with the director at my facility in LA.

We completed a director’s cut which we took back to Namibia to show the stakeholders. It was at this stage that we had to decide where to do the final post production”.

Santiago explains how the decision to do post production locally came about as follows:
“When I first came over for this movie, I was met by Nerissa Black, head of post production for Sasani Film. She showed me all the services and facilities on offer. I was impressed by how comparable it was to any facility in LA – it is truly world-class. There is a full service laboratory, post production houses with advanced Telecines and editing equipment, and a full Dolby sound studio right here in Johannesburg.

We did some number crunching and despite working away from my home base for a fairly long period, we found that the budgets worked. Having made the decision, I went back to LA to prepare for the final edit and sound mix in Johannesburg”.

“I spend my working day between the Video Lab and Chris Fellows Sound. I am staying in Sandton, so I travel around a lot. I eat out a lot, and I have had some of the best food at the best price right, ever, here in Johannesburg. I really like this place, my family came to visit during the Easter holidays and had the time of their lives during our visits to Kruger Park and Sun City.  I am convinced that the movie has benefited immensely from the decision to do the post production here.

The final deliverables are scheduled for June and I know for sure we will be on deadline.”

Quite co-incidentally, Santiago has since employed Nerissa Black as an editor  at his company in LA,  and has as a result, become close friends with her partner, Gavin Hood, the award-winning director of Tsotsi.

“I was actually with them when Gavin received the Oscar for the best Foreign Film. It’s a small world, isn’t it!”

Fact File

‘Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation’ has been shot on a total of some 350,000 feet of 35 mm film. Santiago opted for a Digital Intermediate, which allows for most of the post production to be completed in a digital domain, with a new negative film generated for theatrical release.  As a result the film could be graded digitally, a task for which the Lustre suite at the Video Lab was ideal.

The sound post production, too, is being completed digitally at Chris Fellows Sound Studios in Johannesburg. This process will combine the dialogue editing, effects and music together with a final mix which will then be married to the final, edited visual.