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The Movie Industry Can Sell Cameroon 

Interviewed by Walter Wilson Nana — Tommy Germain Adiang is a Cameroonian-born film maker, script writer and director making waves across Brazil and the USA. Though he is not well known in his homeland, he is still interested to see that the business of the silver screen flourishes in Cameroon.

Adiang (Centre) in one of his movies

In this exclusive interview, he talks about the gain Cameroon can make in the movie world, the cinema as a tool for education and the Oscar winning stories embedded in the African continent. Read on!

How did you get into the world of acting and film making?

I never thought of becoming an actor but when I arrived in Brazil, I discovered I was in the land of one of the best drama pieces in the world. I remembered; Escrava Isaura, which I loved watching when I was still a kid. I said to myself I want to represent, be an actor and portray the realities in my society. Africa is full of Oscar winning stories. I was indeed, motivated to study and bring out these stories into pictures and show the world the many good things omitted when talking about Africa in the Diaspora.

How has the experience been?

So far it has been the best choice I have ever made in my life, becoming an actor out here.

What is motivating you to stick to the movie industry?

It is built on my faith and the constant quest for perfection. I am motivated to bring my little and humble contribution through the cinema industry, to make the world a better place for our children and the future generation so that they may look back one day and see how much we contributed to give them a better life. This is education, they will be prompted to do the same for their kids and that is how the chain goes.

Does it put bread on your table?

I would have changed career if acting did not give me what to feed my family and myself. I have invested a lot of money and I am still investing with the various recycling classes I take in Brazil and in the USA regularly.

Which are some of the films you have made and those you have featured in?

Most of my films are in Portuguese and Spanish languages. The first film I directed was nominated in the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo International short film festivals respectively, titled; IDENTIDADE. I co-directed my second film, a feature film titled; UM VAMPIRO NA TERRA DO SOL.

I am presently co-starring and co-directing a comic TV series; SAI DE RIBA. I have a long list of films and plays I have done. These include; DESTINOSP an HBO LATIN AMERICA TV series, BELEZA S.A another TV series for GNTGLOBOTV canal, DE LADO DE FORA a feature film in Portuguese and French languages.

What is your reading of the Cameroon film industry?


My first time to have a close view of the Cameroon film industry is recently, during the Cameroon Entertainment Awards, CEA in Washington DC, where I was invited. My long absence from Cameroon has kept me out of the Cameroon film industry. However, I had a very happy surprise to see how far they are gone, though there is still much to do.

I must appreciate the talents we have back home. Technically, there is still much to be done. The enthusiasm of the Cameroon film makers in spite of their little budget is proof of love for what they are doing and this will help them get to greater heights.

What is lacking and how can it be made better?

The government should give a helping hand to this new industry in Cameroon by financing it and combating piracy in the country. The Ministry of Culture together with the national security and the parliament should implement laws, severe enough for those caught pirating movies or arts works.

This is a vehicle to sell Cameroon in the world and if we make it cheap, nobody will be interested. It is frustrating to see one’s job destroyed by pirate industries. It is also important for Cameroon to host international film and acting workshops. This, amongst the other problems the industry faces must be battled for a better future.

Are you working on any projects?

After the event in Washington, many producers have contacted me for a role in their films but later claimed they are short of finance to take me out of Brazil to play a role in their movies, which make me repeat that if the government in place could finance film projects, bring in professionals in the industry who will help improve cinema back home, then it is a great step. We all know that Cameroon is suffering from economic crises as they say but a professional actor cannot also work for free since we got bills to pay too.

How far do you intend to go in this industry?

As an actor only death retires me in this industry, but my dream is to partake in a society where excellence is celebrated.

Tell us more about yourself…

I was born in Mile One neighbourhood, Limbe. I did primary education at Government Primary School, Down Beach Limbe, moved over to Bilingual Grammar School, Molyko, Buea for my secondary education and subsequently to Government High School, Limbe. From Limbe, I proceeded to the University of Yaoundé. Due to some unforeseen circumstances I left Cameroon for greener pastures and got stuck in the war in Angola for four years, from where I decided to fly to Brazil after the war.

In Brazil, I invested in a new career of acting and film making. I studied in the best schools like; Teatro Escola Macunaima, Universidade Internacional Anhembi Morumbi, Talent Ventures Incorporation, TVI and Actors Studio New York City, where I came out as a professional in acting, script writing, director and special effects in theater arts and cinema. I am a father of two kids.

First published in The Post print edition no 01470

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