The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

28 May 2010

A Conversation with Angéla Aquereburu

(photo credit: Alexandre Ouya)

A Conversation with Angéla Aquereburu


Angéla, perhaps you could begin by talking about your “multiple identities”, if I may use this term, and how these identities have influenced you and your work.

In fact, my mother is Guadeloupean and my father is Togolese. I have lived in France for 15 years. I think that my diverse education has allowed me to develop a certain rigor, openness, and thirst for originality.

Your company, Caring International, well, the name is interesting. When was it founded and what are its objectives?

The company was created a year ago, in 2009. When I decided to create my company, I was looking for a name that reflected my personality. I give a lot of attention to the projects that I initiate…thus, “Caring”; and “International”, because I am a woman of the universe.

You and your husband work together, how do you conceptualize your projects, divide your tasks?

We work as a team on all of our projects, from idea to delivery. What is interesting about working in tandem is that since we are also partners in our private lives we are very frank with each other. We both are perfectionists and demanding, which can be difficult to live with sometimes, however these attributes are always constructive. We have learned to utilize our gender, cultural and personality differences as a source of strength.

You also navigate between France and Togo, is it mostly virtual traveling?

We live half of the time in Lomé and the other half in Paris. We navigate between France and Togo, literally and figuratively.

Your current project, Zem la série, what was the concept behind it…your process…the interest in a bilingual series?

At the present we have co-produced 26 4-minute episodes of Zem with Canal Overseas. The series was broadcast on Canal Overseas during the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. The next broadcast is scheduled on Canal+ Horizons in Africa, RTBF in Belgium at the start of the school year, and on Comédie in France this summer.

Moreover, we have plans to broadcast on VOD (Video-on-Demand) through the official website of the series to regions outside of Africa and France. The idea behind Zem was to offer to African and Western viewers a hip, quality program “made in Africa”. Besides, we wanted to show another side of Africa: a youthful, contemporary, attractive, witty Africa. This is how Palabres/Troubles came into being. In addition to reaching an African market we have our sights on Europe and North America as well. We have, therefore produced the French version “Palabres” and the English version “Troubles”.

The Zem series was a pilot that was initially launched on the Internet. How has New Media facilitated the production and broadcasting of your project?

At this time, in 2010, I think it is difficult to communicate without the Internet. Last year, we were able to introduce the Zem pilot to Internet users and test their interest. In my opinion, it is much easier to convince broadcasters to acquire a product that has already been tested and proven on the Internet. In fact, we are soliciting viewers who have an interest in the Palabres/Troubles pilot to become followers in order for us to reach our goal of 10,000 “fans”, which will allow us to produce other episodes.

Your future projects? Your dreams?

We plan to present a short film at the Cannes Festival in 2011 and, of course, we hope it is selected. A long-term goal is to create studios in Togo as a base, so that Caring International becomes in Africa what Warner or 20th Century Fox or Paramount is in the United States.

Translation from French and Interview by Beti Ellerson, May 2010

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