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filmYeah, yeah, I know lovers of mediocrity will be up in arms but this is a conversation

we must have. This is a question that must be asked: are Cameroonians films videography or cinematography? Simply put, do the reels of films our toddler industry is increasingly churning out worthy of the appellation movie or film in the professional sense of the word? Or are they nothing more than video lengths of  motion with  no underlying artistic logic or design? Are our films just “persons caught on camera”. Don”t get me wrong. Nobody is denying the socio-cultural function of self-projection that our films play, no that is not the issue. Somebody is simply asking when we will focus on quality. As the film industry goes up a notch, this is a question we must answer soonest. An industry cannot start, exist and thrive on just the socio-cultural value. So let”s ask ourselves the

question, are our films more of videography or cinematography?

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We are witnessing some form of growth in the Cameroonian film industry. I say some form of  because the growth has only been in the number of films. The quality has stayed stagnant, and in some situations one can even notice regression. This quality deficiency poses a serious problem for anybody who attempts to review the films. Which parametres do you use to review a film? Do you disregard the inherent cinematographic lapses  and review the social value? If you choose this option, for how long can you chant the social value of films without sounding like a broken record? Are you helping the industry grow if you do not inspect the things that make films films? Furthermore, when reviewing our films, do you compare them with Western films or Nollywood films which seem to be the muse of most of our filmmakers. If we want our industry to grow and stand out then we must use the highest standards. We all know what that means. Reviewing films is another pointer to the level of maturity and growth of an industry. But this aspect seems useless given the perpetually low-quality of the films produced.


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While some consume it blindly, others are offended that Cameroonian films increasingly look like Nollywood films. They are uncomfortable with hearing expressions like “toufia” , “amen oh amen”  and a whole string of  other things that have a Nollywood colouration. Their position is understandable because it seems like our own culture has been forsaken and we have been “invaded” and “overpowered” on the cultural front. It is however worth noting that there are reasons for this which have nothing to do with our being “invaded” or overpowered. If our films are supposed to be a reflection of our Cameroonian society then it is only logical that our films should look like Nollywood productions. Given the popularity of these films in our country, some of these Naija mannerisms and expressions have creeped into our way of life. We are witnessing more and more Cameroonians using words like “toufia”. If these things then feature in our films then it is only normal because we Cameroonians have adopted them. We have thus not been “invaded”. Furthermore, if these Nollywood films, characters  and their classical lines have become our common cultural references and are easily identifiable to us Cameroonians such that we find the echo in our films then it is a natural consequence of watching them. This is no instance of being invaded. Unfortunately,this situation is compounded by our “acclaimed directors” who have chosen Nollywood as their muse. At a time when people want to identify wholly with the things on T.V, it is necessary for our film industry stakeholders to be aware of this and try to sculpt a truly Cameroonian and unique image for our cinema else we will forever stand in our neighbour’s big shadow. Let’s remember that even when this is done, this trend will continue because Nollywood has the pionneer’s advantage. Since they were the first to popularise filmmaking in Africa, our story lines will always trigger comparisons with those of some Nollywood films Cameroonians had watched earlier. This will perpetuate the feeling that Cameroonian films look like their Nigerian counterparts.This shouldn’t however be a deterrent to forging a separate identity for our films. What do you think?

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