The 3rd edition of the now famous Cameroon’s international Film Festival has come and gone but the reverberations of the 6 days event are still making headlines around Buea and beyond.
But beyond the sex scandal and mountainous logistical difficulties, the event was overall a massive success and once again shows that the industry is growing and rapidly and organizers learning from errors of the past.
There was plenty of publicity and the town of Buea was gripped with CAMIFF fever like never before.
They came from all over the world, Nigeria, Ghana, London, Qatar, South Africa, US and other countries to rally at the historic town of Buea.
Agbor Gilbert, CEO of CAMIFF has rallied the who-is-who in the country’s baby film industry to market Cameroon’s own.
From Nigerian Zack Oji to Ghanaian super star Nadia Bhuari to a team from Canon, the 6 days event involved party, high level training in everything movies, master class and finally awards for the best in the industry.
The festival had all the characteristics of an international festival of its stature and the Buea refurbished Mountain hotel host the festival proudly and boldly.
The event has significantly grew from the previous years and the organizers were promising better days ahead despite the challenges in putting together such a masterpiece in itself.
The CEO of CAMIFF says he was inspired by the need to tell Cameroon stories and market their movies which were constantly being produced but without exposure. An adorable goal for a man who has contributed so much to the country’s entertainment industry this far and continues to do so despite the challenges.
But amidst the ambiance, red carpets moments, party and fun, there lie this sad and heart breaking reality. Organizers are languishing in pain and frustration and the problem is -Finance.
Cameroonian government has failed to support the initiatives which ordinary sense would have made everybody believe they will quickly jump at the moment for a thousand and one reasons. But it wasn’t just the government, so too did the business guys and organizations.
In its closing ceremony on Saturday April 27th 2018, the organizers made tear dropping declaration to the embarrassment of many and leaving participants to hide their faces in shame, for the very first time I personally felt ashamed to be called a Cameroonian
The opportunity-pregnant project surprisingly got no financial support from anybody in the country. The list of partners were endless and the names as big as you could get, but there was a problem, the money never ever came and the organizers had to do it all on their own
No senior government official attended the event, not even the mayor of the town hosting a rare international event nor its senator or MPs. The DO f Buea did attend the ending ceremony but more as a guest than an official government figure and the minister of Arts and Culture was represented by one of his directors who came with an empty hand too.
And so when the MC took the bold, desperate but necessary step to make these staggering revelations, calling for people to support Agbor Gilbert with what they can in an embarrassing offering style donations and pledges, the population sandwiched with international stars whose net worth from the same industry but different country can sponsor the country’s film industry for decades, looked embarrassed, Cameroon which was exposed and disgraced and rightly so has failed its people in front of their august guests
People donated what they could from 1000 frs to 50000 frs and others did make pledges to support the initiative.
But it was indeed insulting and shameful to the country. The industry promising and the least government can do is support it to keep its increasingly swelling unemployed graduate who cannot find work there, and be busy.
The industry has made neighboring Nigeria to be the envy of the continent today and Ghana is fast catching up too, so if they can do it, why not we.
Truth us Cameroonians don’t give and supporting initiatives especially one born out of Anglophone Cameroon and by an Anglophone. This is once again another glorious opportunity to project our country, market our culture and take this country to another level.