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Tuesday, 6 March, 2001, 12:55 GMT
What is the future of African films?
This week Fespaco, Africa's prestigious festival of film and television, takes place in Burkina Faso.

It comes at a time of cheaper and better technology, benefiting Africa's low budget filmmakers. But the majority of African filmgoers continue to watch Indian and American films.

What kind of movies do you want to watch and does it matter about their origin? Do you want something that reflects your personal circumstances?

Or would you prefer to escape with romance or adventure?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.



Africa has so much artistic talent that is lost to other countries

Ruth Gilbert, UK
Africa has so much artistic talent that is lost to other countries. The young film hopefuls' main priority is to get out of Africa to pursue their dreams. This is because the continent's film industry has very little financial backing thus there are no opportunities for them. We need government support as well as teachers who are willing to take a risk.
Ruth Gilbert, UK

I am sick and tired of watching the American and Indian films available in Ethiopia. If you watch a single Indian film I think that is enough because all the others are the same monotonous love stories. And American films? In most places we have films from the late 50's because the recent ones are too expensive to import. I am of the opinion that Africans should seriously think about developing their own film industry rather than importing monotonous or otherwise outdated films from outside.
Guchumo Gumbori, Ethiopia

Most people watch films for a few hours of entertainment. It's a simple rule of human behaviour that the more entertaining a film, the more watched it will be. As long as African films fail to dramatically entertain their audiences, the more entertaining Hollywood and Bollywood films will thrive.
Taha Rajabali, Tanzania/ Canada


I would like to see African films competing with other medium budget films in Europe

Midodzi, Netherlands
I would like to see a bit of both and if possible, I would like to see African films competing with other medium budget films in Europe. There are a lot of Africans on the European continent, who would like to see films portray the harsh realities of Africans living abroad with a touch of laughter, just to cool things down.
Midodzi, Netherlands

I agree with Michael's comments about the Iranian film industry. I just saw "The Drunken Horses", the first movie to be produced in Kurdish. This movie was inexpensive, showing the real physical setting with no special effects. It was noticed at Cannes and is having a successful run in Canada. There is a huge appetite for good non-Hollywood films here in this country. I hope that African film makers will get the funding and support required to bring their stories to the screen. We've had lots of jungles and wildlife - let's have some cinema that captures the everyday life of real Africans.
Maureen Malcolm, Canada

Want to see Hollywood in Africa? Watch Nigerian movies and you will be happy you did. African actors have really come of age. Enough of Western "civilization".
Abel Omobhude, USA

In order for the African film industry to flourish it has to be commercially viable, and that prospect seems distant despite abundant talent on the continent. We need to enact and enforce copyright laws to protect the intellectual rights of films makers, improve distribution of African films and remove high taxes that overburden the film industry.
Abdel Madani, Sudan/ USA

Many bright amateur film writers in Africa don't know where and how to market their scripts. They've heard talk of the lies and treachery that go on in Hollywood, and are afraid to submit their scripts to agencies they don't know in case their ideas are stolen and there is nothing they can do about it. A home-grown African initiative should be launched that will encourage young film writers to submit their scripts and the best scripts will be marketed for them. This is probably the only way out for budding film-makers who have no idea of how to get started in the industry.
Charles Kerich, Kenya


I have seen some Grammy talent from the continent

Simon Banda, UK
There's nothing wrong with flooding Western and Indian films on the African scene provided a balance is maintained. Surely there's a lot we can learn as viewers as well as actors. Unfortunately it is mostly junk that is being showed on African television. As for the future it is very bright. I have seen some Grammy talent from the continent, keep it up.
Simon Banda, UK

The time has come for Africans to see movies made by them and for them. I'm sick of seeing the continent exploited in Tarzan, Virus, Congo-like movies, where Africans are portrayed as savages, the enemy or servant of Westerners. I applaud the increase in African films and may it be 100 times more so that our people won't feel that only Hollywood and Bollywood are capable of making movies.
Chemi Che-Mponda, USA/ Tanzania

The most popular movies in Nigeria are Nigerian movies, not Indian or American. No one hardly watches Indian movies anymore and the American ones are mostly watched on cable channels.
SEG, Nigeria


Africans have so much to hold on to and be proud about

Sedinam Akpedonu, Ghana
It feels really sad to watch the infiltration of foreign films into our local movie industry. Africans have so much to hold on to and be proud about. They have very good value systems that could be preserved for posterity but unfortunately we are far behind in technological advancement.
Sedinam Akpedonu, Ghana

I believe that African cinema is something that has to be encouraged. There are plenty of talented local actors and actresses and governments should invest in local filmmaking efforts to encourage more African films.
Moses Mugo, USA

I am an African film school graduate. There are technically very few successful African films. The reason is partly due to inadequate editing facilities and exposure to technological advancement seen in Indian and American films. Most African films are shot on video: Betacam, Super 8 and Digital betacam because of lack of adequate funds to shoot on 16mm and 35mm. For some time to come Hollywood and Indian films will continue to steal the show. Change can only come faster if Africans start watching more African films and politicians put in more money to support the initiatives of film-makers.
Kehbuma Langmia, USA


Africa has a wealth of tales to be told

Michael Brodie, UK
An idealist would dream of Africa's film industry taking the same path as Iran's, where, without a special effect in sight, filmmakers are constantly producing superbly crafted films that poignantly depict the subtleties and complexities of everyday life. Africa has a wealth of tales to be told and a people starving for an invitation to the economic prosperity of the First World. Let's hope that somewhere along the line the idealist and the pragmatist can come to a compromise for the sake of good cinema.
Michael Brodie, UK

I guess Eddie is playing to the old popular assumption that Africa is awash with foreign films. There has been a wind of change blowing. And I can confidently vouch for Ghana and Nigeria. In these two countries locally made films, by local directors with local stars are dominant. There has been a steady reduction over the past 8 years or so in the amount of Hollywood junk and Indian movies. Thanks to new and cheap video technologies, these locals are using the opportunity to give us African stories. Let us recognise their efforts and give them due credit even if there is still more room for improvement in picture quality and story plot
Amin Alhassan, Tampere, Finland

I'm an Indian residing in Kigali, Rwanda. I teach English at Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management. My students are quite aware of what is happening in the Indian film industry and they know the names of many of the actors and actresses. That is the impact of the Indian film industry on them. In Africa people are very fond of entertainment but unfortunately they are forced to watch Western and Indian movies as they don't have many made in their own continent.
Albert P'Rayan, India/ Rwanda

It is no surprise that Indian and Western films are more popular than African ones, because of the affinity for exotic places that are more interesting and funny. Africans need to develop their own films with the aid of government and international aid. The film industry in Africa is growing very fast but it is mainly Western oriented films that teach bad moral values.
Eddie Edirisa Wanzusi, Mississauga, Canada

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