Jean-Michel Frodon was in Algiers for a conference on cinema in the South. Here, he talks about filmmaking in Africa.
During the conference, you evoked the great problem of too few cinemas in Africa. Is this a problem linked to the state’s disinvestment?
I think that, indeed, it’s impossible to have a dynamic film sector without lots of cinemas to attract an audience. This, according to me, is the weak point in Morocco’s otherwise very energetic political campaign for cinema. In the African context, the state has an essential role to play. This role is both political and legislative, before it is financial. The “state” here means not only a central administration body, but also the regions and municipalities. Yet, if without the state nothing is possible, neither can the state do much alone. One part of the film sector’s development, especially with regards to cinemas, requires clear public policy, private entrepreneurs for whom attracting an audience is essential, cultural activists, and the media. There is a lot of training to be done on the matter.
Here in Algeria, there is talk of a new generation of young filmmakers. How, according to you, can this generation evolve in a country without a real film industry?
All the work that I know of theirs seems to me to be of great quality. But sadly, they are too isolated, in the absence of a professional, commercial, cultural, political, and media framework. These young filmmakers’ task is too heavy. It's as if they had to start everything over from the beginning each time. I hope that they will, at least, find the capacity to support each other and, of course, even if it’s not a satisfactory solution, it’s great that they can find support from the other side of the Mediterranean.
Source : www.elwatan.com