Mbye Cham on African Cinema

Via Cinema Minima, Martin Jumbam’s interview with Howard University film professor, Mbye Cham. The interview is from 1997, but still very much worth reading, as I’d imagine that African filmmakers still face many of the same obstacles. Cham, in particular, notes the difficulties that African filmmakers face in comepting against the US and Bollywood film industries in getting their films distributed:

I think that African film-makers and those working in the film industry in Africa have a difficult task ahead of them. The Indian romance spectacles, the “Kung Fu” movies and all other imported, cheap Hollywood films have an extremely powerful grip on the popular imagination of the ordinary film-goer in Africa as they are usually the only films regularly screened in African theatres. But the key issue here, I believe, is the lack of viable distribution networks for African films. It’s even a miracle, given the limited means at their disposal, that African film-makers are able to make films at all, and once such films are made, the other major hurdle is getting them out to the spectator. People have to see a film before it can make a career, both artistically and commercially.


  1. Scrivener Said,

    February 21, 2005 @ 8:11 am

    Totally off topic, but since we were just talking about him the other day (was that last week?): Hunter S. Thompson shot himself yesterday.

  2. chuck Said,

    February 21, 2005 @ 8:24 am

    Yes, I just got the news. Steven Shaviro has a very thoughtful post on Thompson’s life and career. I know we were talking about him fairly recently because I bought his most recent book while travelling a few weeks ago.

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