Ernest Kanjo / Tuesday, 16 April 2013 13:19

delphine2Distributing the movies successfully is by record the biggest challenge facing Cameroonian film makers and producers. Even when some of these movies have been highly acclaimed quality wise, they have almost always suffered in the oblivion of the drawer. The ugly site of cartoons full of unsold movies is a common phenomenon at production houses, yet the problem hangs on. Fortunately, stakeholders have not been sleeping and have pledged to fight tooth and nail to put an end to this undesirable situation. Recently, in one of such moves to better the movie distribution situation in Cameroon, a workshop was organized. Taking place at the German Cultural Centre, Geothe Institute in Yaounde on the sideline of the annual women’s film festival dubbed Mis Me Binga, the workshop brought together female film makers and producers. Among them was CFI’s Itambi Delphine, one of the industry’s most industrious producers/ directors. While in Yaounde, TIPTOPSTARS got Itambi on the line to throw more light on the workshop. Excerpts of the interview with Ernest Kanjo!

Ernest Kanjo (EK): Greetings from the US! How are doing Delphine?

Itambi Delphine (ID): I’m ok Ernest! And you?            

EK: No qualms! You travelled to Yaounde for a workshop…

ID: Yes, I was chosen by the new board of the Cameroon Film Industry to represent the industry at the Mis Me Binga festival and the workshop on movie distribution organized as part of activities to mark the event

EK: So, what are the things you learned from this workshop?

ID: A good number of things! First, we were recycled on what movie distributors want and should want from their movies. Secondly, we were drilled on the conventional way of distributing a movie and thirdly on how to develop a unique distribution scheme pertaining to each country and the taste of its consumers. You would realize that most producers in Cameroon are their own distributors. Due of the lack of theatres, the next professional distribution strategy has always been DVD release. But even so, the rate of piracy has increased with the lack of original copies of these movies in the market, making it easy for pirates to unlawfully mass produce. If mass producing DVD is our first and most reliable distribution strategy then, something must be done to get original copies of all released movies available to every Cameroonian. Points must be set in the country to enable consumers find original copies of Cameroonian movies.

EK: How would you assess the workshop?

ID: It was very engaging, sharing the Cameroonian film culture with that of Germany and seeking ways in which both cultures could interweave as regards distribution schemes.

EK: How different was this workshop from others you have attended?

ID: This workshop concentrated on marketing and distribution of movies which I think is the greatest problem our industry has. Yet, it’s a topic that is never paid so much attention to. We create producers’ guilds, directors’ guild, actors’ guild, etc, but we ignore those who really get our products to the consumers which is the ultimate goal of every producer. I would say this was an eye-opening workshop that drove me thinking something really has to be done with the Cameroon film market.

EK: Are you going to share the knowledge acquired at the workshop with fellow film makers in Buea and if so, how soon?

ID: I’ve written a report on the workshop and sent to the Cameroon Film Industry. I’ll expect that they share it with all the film makers. I also would have loved to organize a workshop on distribution, but because I’m pre-production for my next movie, it won’t be possible. Nevertheless, at the moment I’m writing a marketing and distribution project to send to the industry board so that it can be proposed to the Ministry of Culture. That’s the best I can do at least for now.

EK: Would you want more of such workshops to be organized?

ID: Definitely! Trust me when I say we all need them. We need to sit down with everyone who is showing some interest in marketing our movies and together develop a complete distribution plan. Yes, we need a genuine marketing plan for our movies. This is the only way to guarantee producers who rely on the national market to get back their investments on movies. This would undoubted encourage production.

EK: Away from that, how is your new movie doing in the market?

ID: Oh! House of Triplet is doing fine so far. We have sold a number of copies and are still selling. I think Cameroonians are getting there by beginning to consume their own product.

EK: What reaction do you have to the newly created board of the film industry and what advice do you have for members?

ID: I’d say so far I love their push. I hope other guilds such as the one for marketers will be created. This is a challenge to all of us not just the guilds and the board. We need to assess how much we are willing to offer to make this industry. It’s time we stop criticizing others and put our heads together for the big dream. The board members can’t do this on their own, they need our advice, our support and above all our love for the industry.

EK: Thanks Delphine for talking to us.

ID: It’s always been a big pleasure talking to you Ernest.



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