By Fonban Emmanuel
What future for the English Filmmakers in the Cameroons?
A changing world with the evolution in the digital world is a clarion call that the English filmmakers in the Cameroons need to reflect on a common ground and think about the future which could be hopeless if nothing is done now.
Let us look at the various platforms that provide a better market for some few filmmakers who have quality films. Do we want to talk of Netflix which has never taken any Cameroonian film despite great titles we have come up with? Do we want to talk of Hulu which has not taken any of 237 films or Amazon.com which takes but only pay as the content sells. When we put all of these together, we can all come to a conclusion that our creativity can never be outstanding to the world for as long as we depend on foreign markets when the local markets cannot be our foundation.
Let us look at our neighboring Nigeria for the time immemorial they started leading in the CD markets to mainstream television and now they are adjusting themselves for the digital world with the increase in streaming platforms owned by Nigerians.
My fellow 237 filmmakers, should we all continue to search out or we need to close down our differences and start tracing our path for the future? It is becoming so hopeless for as long as we are doing nothing now to colonize our immediate market. We have all seen the impact of economic dependence to French Africa due to some colonial bondage that tie the countries in these zones to some agony.
I believe we can interpret the cost of such a system in our context in cinema. When we are not independent in our own jurisdiction by creating a market that consume our productions, we will only turn into slaves who toil to sell to foreign markets and this is the reason why we have all sorts of conditions. I remember proposing my film to a distribution company in UK and all they told me was that my films is good but they needed only films about Lesbianism or Gay. I remember proposing my film to a TV channel in Nigeria and they told me, my film is good but for them to get any of my works, I need to have a popular Nigerian face. This is just a few of the many funny conditions which could be a great hindrance to promoting our own cultures and killing originality of our works. But let us ask ourselves, for how long shall we keep on fulfilling these conditions? Why should Nigerians shoot their film freely with Nigerians and sell, Indians shoot freely with Indians and sell, Ghanaians shoot freely with Ghanaians and sell etc but when it comes to us, for us to sell we must include others because if we shoot ours with our own they will not value it? I asked why? Let me tell you, when you bring a Nigerian actor or Ghanaian in your project in Cameroon and over pay them not because your concept required people like them, but because you need favors from the market, you are not different from a politician who pays allegiance to a foreign country to gain favors.
My people we need to join heads together and fight for our own. Let us think about the future.
I foresee this sufferings continuing even in 50years if we do not forgo our differences and fetch a sustainable solution in our jurisdiction. The local market is there and if we leave complains and put our heads together as people facing the same problem, we will be able to exploit the local market to the best. I tell you, the local market needs to see some cooperation among us and some level of humility and team work for them to have confidence in us. Without that we will remain in the same spot.
I think we should all start thinking of the marketing issue home together and there will be a solution. I urge all filmmakers to join the zoom we are organising tomorrow, Saturday 12 September 2020 so that we begin looking at how to face the future. Below is the link
Meeting ID: 779 5865 8086