Cameroon cinema: Younger Ones Educated

The 2019 edition of the Ecrans Noirs film festival had the participation of children amid its usual activities ( as screenings)  and workshops, at the Yaounde multipurpose sports complex.

The annual African film festival has an innovation, involving the young in cinematographic art.  Known as Black Screen Kids, its maiden edition was launched at the 23rd edition which ran from July 13 through July 20. This program which targets children from 5 to 13 years of age has as aim to educate, entertain and train them through the cinema so as to incite interest in related jobs and let them have basic knowledge before acquiring more at the secondary level. Also, the children can create a social bond, thus promoting togetherness and letting them discover their culture in cinema, amid others.

During this week, they could watch films in groups, participate in workshops varying from civic education to environmental notions and concepts relating to scenarios and acting. Scenario basically being a written plan of characters and events in a play or film. Films like Kirikou, Minga et la cuillère cassée were aired. About a thousand of these kids from schools like Queensway, El Harammed, Le Phare, Les Petits Anges, and some government schools from Essos and Fouda neighbourhoods in Yaounde amid others, made their way to these activities. The little ones were sensitized on the dangers of pollution to their environment and human health, alongside corporal sanity tips and ways to behave in society.

As concerns the scenario workshop, two trainers were involved; Anda Jean Marc for kids from 5 to 9 years and Pambi Claude for those from 10 to 13 years. They learnt how to behave in front of a camera, theatrical expressions, and were initiated to the acting game skills. They were also showed how to improvise in situations, and work on pronouncing words properly.

Under the general supervision of director general Bassek Ba Kobhio, the organising committee plans on extending to other schools so as to encourage more children to develop interest in cinematography, especially African art, and why not, discover hidden talents which could be used to perpetuate this notion. Also, the committee plans to extend this Black Screen Kids program to the academic year, thus sensitizing more children in more schools. Hence, this year’s edition is worth looking up to.

Suzanne Nanyonge

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