Cameroon film industry has always been described as “the upcoming industry”, even though it has been existing since 1962. Today, it can be analyzed that Cameroonians make sufficient progress in the art of filmmaking. But there seems to be a huge stumbling block around the industry. Talking to one of the active filmmakers, we were able to get inside the Cameroon film Industry of today.
Azuhni Elvis is a Cameroonian filmmaker from Bambui. The 32-years old passionate actor, who is also a production manager has been in the Industry for over 5 years. During these years, Elvis has featured in more than 8 movies. some of the movies are Butterfly; Night Mares; Bed of Thorns; It’s Mine; Crossing the bar with the latest “Full Moon” still in the production process.
The Socio-political situation of the English part of Cameroon is a big concern today. Does this interfere with production? How does this affect creativity in the film industry?
Yes, the Anglophone crisis has been a stumbling block to the development of the industry today. Due to the crisis, the 2019 Cameroon International Film festival was canceled. This festival which started a few years back was an open door for our films. This is a huge problem in the industry because investors are scared to come in. This limits creativity.
Even with the present situation, filmmakers in Cameroon still produce against all odds. How do filmmakers manage the production in these crisis-based areas?
Creativity should not die completely. We try to avoid situations that will kill our productive spirit. As a result, we do more indoor movies. Thus, avoiding outdoors for fear of the unknown. Also, we try to minimize the cost of production as much as possible. So that we should not run out of our creative skills in this domain. Certainly, Cameroonians themselves are yet to fully appreciate homemade products with or without this crisis.
How did you find yourself into the Film Industry and how are you inspired?
My God-given qualities. I am tall with an ebony looks. Also, I am a fluent speaker and athletically built too. These drew me closer to a renown filmmaker who offered me a minor role in his project. Hence I had the opportunity to join the industry. I am inspired by films and creative people.
What do you usually do out of the film industry to keep your creativity engine steaming?
Out of the film industry, I am in another interesting department. I am a secondary school teacher. This keeps me very busy and creative as well. Above all, meeting different students and transferring knowledge is what I enjoy doing, just like making films.
As an educator and aspiring full-time film producer, what advice can you give to your colleagues and aspiring filmmakers?
Generally, the industry needs much of our time, humility and commitments for its success. Despite the fact that we all were born with creative skills. As filmmakers, we still need persistent practice in other to become professionals or more professionals. For this reason, the crew members need each other’s back. While actors need mentoring and coaching. This will get the actor ready for the screen when the need be. In addition, workshops, seminars, and educative group participation will be beneficial to the filmmakers in general.