And yes, there are countries, like South Africa or Nigeria, where the challenges seem to be tackled successfully — although in different ways, different settings and with different results — the overall situation on the continent remains pretty much the same as in the ies and ies.
How was that experience? Archive is one battle. Because to get the financing together, to get the work done properly, to do this and to do that, I need that time, and I need that money. It is only now, after I have worked tirelessly for so long, that people are starting to recognize the value of all I have tried to do.
And we can continue to blame Western donors and producers for their mere interest in their Western markets and festivals. Do you think they wanted to talk to me? I want to be a DJ. I mean, I think we went from the red scare straight into the green scare. Like them, I believe that nature gave me the gift of being skilled with my hands.
He grew up in a dominated world, then, but one that kept on fighting for its emancipation.
What has that journey done to me? Can you tell us something about how Teza unfolded as a project? He noted that in Nigeria films are being turned out cheap and fast, making the industry more democratic than virtually anywhere else. As a child I was restless, and I was always in trouble.
Most of it unfolded during the process of shooting, and also in the process of looking for the location, because the location informs your story. I think of myself as a filmmaker, period. Most of the archive available is either French, Belgian, British, American, you name it.
Even at my age, I keep on learning. What would you say Teza brings to the table that is different from what you have done in your previous work? About the interviewer Alonzo Rico Speight is an independent producer and director of film, television, and theater.
Your new film, Teza, has done phenomenally well in I was like, am I this kind of person? And we need a regional and a stronger pan-African integration.
When you struggle to make a personal film and then see the results—when a great deal of people in Africa, in Ethiopia especially, and even in Europe, begin to claim it as a film that expresses a slice of their own personal life—that can transform you. The man is always ripe if he knows how to think.
Made 37 years apart, both are set in fictional African countries where a crucial ceremony ignites conflict between the goal of unification and the maintenance of tribal identity.
Do your films circulate within Africa as much as you would like? How the information penetrated into my brain as a child and came out in my old age, through scriptwriting, was unbelievable. Now, how you illustrate this narrative arc is through sequences and details and bits of the puzzle that construct this narrative arc.
For example, I have never received any money from the Nigerien government to make one of my films, and I am obligated to go and collect money from all sorts of places, left and right—and I am left to primarily count on myself.
So, all that is just to say that this stigma of suddenly being classified, in a funny way, got me very much on the defensive, and got me in a whole logic of defending the Islamic side of things, which I do defend, as a woman.
I find your work fascinating; do you not find it so? It was primitive to them, but logical to me… About the director Haile Gerima is an award-winning and critically acclaimed independent filmmaker.Although we live in a global village and in an e-information driven period, a world wide web of information and downloads just a click away, dominated by social mass media enabling social uprisings and the toppling of governments, one still finds oneself struggling to get access to African films, be it at video shops, cinemas, and online sales.
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