Ecrans Noirs Festival 2022 : adding value to African Cinema

Ecrans Noirs Festival 2022 : adding value to African Cinema

CAMEROON : Founded since 1977, the week dedicated to the discovery of African cinema was opened in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. From the 30th of September to the 8th of October 2022, the town vibrated to the rhythm of the Ecrans Noirs Festival placed under the theme: “Cinema, a total art”. The 26th edition of this festivity took place in the Congress Hall and the National Museum spiced with fun-filled activities.

Cinema is really proven as a form of art at the Ecrans Noirs Festival taking place in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Literally translated as “Black Screens” in English, the ceremony has as main objective to promote Africa’s culture through cinema. For this 26th edition, a lot is out on the table unlike the former years. After the traditional red carpet show at the Yaounde congress hall, cinema lovers, film makers, producers, children came in their numbers to live the official launching of the festival rich in colours. An opening ceremony that saw cultural valorization with dances representing the four corners of Cameroon, a fashion parade and a display from invited artists.

As a curtain raiser for this cultural event which promotes African Cinema, the fiction “Future Lullaby” by Cameroonian, Blick Bassy was screened in preview. It must be said that the singer won’t stop in his arts work as he has gone from literature to the cinematography project of “Ma Case”; a film that makes the transition between the past, present, and the future on the relationship of parenthood.

This year, the organizing committee received nearly 500 films from 35 African countries which were involved in a fierce competition for the best movie award. African cinema brought to the lamplight saw the projections of movies at the esplanade of the National Museum in Yaoundé from the 1st to the 8th of October 2022 to the enjoyment of many. This year, Ecrans Noirs is spiced with new features as Bassek Ba Kobhio, General Mananger of Ecrans Noirs explains “Each year is new for us. The first peculiarity is that there are new movies, new directors, and new actors. With these new people in the industry, there is surely a positive change. We hope that this 26th edition will be one of the most beautiful in the history of the Ecrans Noirs festival”, he states.

On the program of the festivities was the film market where movie directors, distributors, African project holders, mainly drawn from Central African states came in contact to discuss structures or people that can finance the production of movies. The international symposium came in place as researchers, journalists, movie critics and cinema professionals met with other people of the movie industry to discuss the fundamentals, history, present and future of African cinema. Dr Eloundou is an expert in cinematography and according to him, no one is left out in ensuring that African cinema gains value. Nights are animated with musical performances and also dance competitions with particularity on Mbole. The Ecrans Noirs Festival is also the projection of films. Many fiction stories selected were diffused in the different halls at the National Museum.  During this edition, kids are not left out because the Kids Cinema Corner was reserved. Here, the vocation is to offer to young people the possibilities of distracting themselves positively and also training and educating them on cinema. It should also be noted that, a competition of “10 jours pour un film” was  launched in collaboration with the Goethe Institute of Cameroon.

Ambiance at the National Museum

Officially launched on the 30th of September at the Congress Hall in Yaoundé, the Ecrans Noirs festivities later on moved to the National Museum where it was called “le Village du festival”. On scene there are tents from different cinema companies, businesses, partners and lots more. As people make their way into the esplanade, they visit different stands, participate in conferences or wait for the projection of movies. As part of the mission to promote all artwork outside cinema, the festival adopted the Fashion Star Ecrans Noirs which is intended to promote fashion from Africa. Several training workshops on film and audio visual professions were opened and led by French photographer and portraitist, Odile Motelet. Also, there were several exchanges between the different media outlets and project carriers at the International Central African Film Market, MIFAC. This particular event had as aim to ease the visibility and accessibility to better film production. Music was not left aside during the festival as many “Mbole” dance and music groups participated in music competition in a very rhythmic atmosphere. Some of them include; Wanda Boys of Mbalmayo, the Dream Team of Etam-Bafia and the Great School of Mbole.

The organizers noted that the Ecrans Noirs Festival which ends in Yaoundé on the 8th of October continues in Douala from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2022.

Kuwan Chelsea Kernyuy (Trainee editor) ©

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