Interview with Narcisse Wandji, the chief representative of Mis Me Binga and translation from French to English by Beti Ellerson, 25 March 2012. The third edition of the international women’s film festival was held from 8 to 11 March in Yaoundé Cameroon.
Greetings Narcisse, what are your impressions of the 3rd edition of Mis Me Binga 2012?
Well, the Festival was a success. This third edition hailed 250 films from across the globe and welcomed as many as 5,000 participants.
This year the festival saw the birth of a network of film festival organisers from Cameroon, which are currently working on its charter, of which the details will be given to you later.
In addition, we had the honour of welcoming Professor Ute Fendler, who teaches African studies and cinema at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. She discussed the economic issues regarding the film industry in Africa. It was very inspiring!
The prizes and winners for 2012…
In terms of the prizes, I must note that the jury’s task was not at all easy. Out of 250 films, 30 were selected.
The festival awards three prizes each year: The Golden Minga for the best fiction film, the Golden Minga for the best documentary and the Special jury prize.
The Golden Minga for the best fiction film was awarded for El Padre (The Father) by Patricia Venti from Spain. The Special jury prize was awarded for Zebu and the Photofish to Kenyan Zippy Nyaruri.
The jury did not award the Golden Minga for best documentary this year because in their estimation, none of the documentaries met the necessary standards for the prize. While the themes of the films were relevant, their superficial treatment and technical problems were the factors that prevented the selection of a film that merited the award.
However, two films received an honourable mention, Computer by Peggy Mbiyu from Kenya and Nebuleuse by Sandrine Batsotsa from Cameroon.
In your opinion, what could better ensure that the quality of the film selections are up to par in order to not have the reoccurrence of the documentary category without a prize awarded?
Good question! In the first place, we did not receive many documentaries, which, to note, were short films. All of the films were made African women filmmakers, the majority of whom are self-taught. Therefore, there is a serious problem of training. This is the only explanation that I can give at the moment. And as I already stated, there were very serious technical problems, especially with the audio. As well as the superficial treatment of the subject matter.
I know that there are many great female documentarists on the continent but those who sent their films, need a bit more work in terms of training.
Perhaps a workshop devoted to technical aspects of documentary filmmaking and scriptwriting in order to master the craft! Does this kind of initiative exist within the Mis Me Binga infrastructure?
Yes we have had two workshops in 2010 and 2011 and the films that were made from the workshop will be released for the 2013 or 2014 Festival.