Thursday, January 29, 2009

FREESTYLER ON THE SET

Monsieur le director himself speaks to Dulce Camer about his passion for film making and his desire to create a wave of change.
His mind is very intriguing and he is certainly very passionate about what he believes in, hopes for and expects to achieve.
Whilst his motive is to rock the boat and create some change, he is also very focused on black image and representation in the media.
Below is the interview, happy reading y'all!

DC: Why did the chicken cross the road?
CN: Erm…to get away from white people [he laughs]

DC: Who is Cyril, the person?
CN: I am a funny, down to earth person who is very focused on his dreams and aspirations. I am also a born and bred Kumba boy! [He laughs]

DC: How did you get into directing?
CN: Erm…it started with creativity, I have always been creative and plus every time I watched a movie or programme, I always thought I could do a better job. I met the right people and the rest is as they say…is history.

DC: What is your academic background?
CN: “a bi Sasse boy [he laughs]” I did law at the University of Buea and also did computer support and then management and I am trying to get another degree in advertising.

DC: How do you get down to writing your scripts?
CN: I write my scripts everyday as the inspiration comes.

DC: How would you improve the education standards in Cameroon?
CN: [he laughs]…on record or off record?
DC: On record!
CN: Ok, I will erm…change the curriculum that the students study. I would give the kids something far more important to study than the nonsense they have at the moment. I would also make education free.

With the late Vashti Jones

Late Vashti Jones & Cyril
DC: How can we increase the level of creativity we see in Cameroon?
CN: It is hard to do as there are unnecessary checks and balances. We need to cut off the barriers and limitations. I do believe that there are a lot of creative and talented individuals in that country and they are unable to express themselves.

Nollywood actor Desmond Elliot & Cyril
DC: Do you think we as Africans care much about our origins when we move to the West?
CN: Origins, that is where you come from like the word says. It has a lot to with your mental frame. A lot of people think that in some shape or form they are “inferior” to some “people” so when they leave Africa to go to the West, they try to assimilate and in assimilation they discard their better sense of judgement in order to make it. Some will shorten their names so that the Western people can better pronounce or say it. We always feel as if we need to please or satisfy them and let them try to define us.

DC: Can we as Africans change the negative perception of Africa?
CN: If the Africans want to improve that perception, they can do it in no time. Look at the people in power, they are just as bad. I think it starts from within a person…that is a change. Education has a lot to do with it and I don’t mean institutional

DC: Are the younger generations of Africans in the West, aware of their origins?
CN: Yes they are aware of it but they are trying to make it disappear. The ones that come here at a very young age do not remember their years back in their old society plus what they study at school some do not even want to be associated with their origins.

DC: How supportive have people been towards you?
CN: They have been very supportive, everyone has.

DC: What else do you do apart from directing and writing?
CN: On set, I do anything else

DC: Do you use Cameroonians in your work?
CN: Cameroonians are very tough and I have tried so hard with them! When I send out messages for castings, I always get replies from Cameroonians wanting some extra explanation of what it’s all about while those from other countries will just say ok I will be there but not the Cameroonians! So now, I have a few Cameroonians I work with who understand the game.

DC: Are they professional?
CN: Well on my set, they have to be.

DC: Are the “normal” careers still desired by our parents in your view?
CN: I think so…reason I say this is because I have seen so may young people with immense talent that when you approach them and speak to them to highlight their talent, they become so excited about it but when they go home and you approach them later, they are no longer interested. At this point, I know where that decision has come from – their parents who only regard being a doctor or a lawyer as the only careers.

DC: What themes are you obsessed with in your production?
CN: Image

DC: What do you mean by image?
CN: I have a plan which is to get my foot on the door and get my name out there as a director and then I will be following the footsteps of Spike Lee, who is my role model by the way.
He does not portray blacks in stereotypical roles. In Hollywood portrayal of blacks, they are shown as stupid and idiotic. Loften Mitchell, a writer on black theatre quotes that “there has been a deliberate distortion of an image” where you have to stereotype yourself to be accepted. I will be focusing on stories that project blacks as much more than killers and gangsters – that is my obsession – the image I am giving out of black people.

DC: Right!

DC: What motivates you?
CN: I am motivated by positivity. I like surrounding myself with positive people who dream big like I do, this motivates me to do more. I have no limitations.

DC: What is your goal?
CN: My goal is to change the world through movie making, one way or the other. My stories will bring change especially to mother Africa – that is my number one priority.

DC: What advise do you have for someone wishing to follow soot?
CN: The sky is the limit and don’t give up on your dream even if you meet negative people. Stay in school and study and do your passion on the side. Always try to use your imaginations the best you can

DC: What new materials are you working on? If any?
CN: I am currently working on a new film series called “Back Pack Boyz” which will be shot throughout the Summer of 2009. You should visit the website and view some Trailers / teasers at http://www.backpackboyz.com/

DC: How do you envisage this year 2009 to be creatively?
CN: 2009 will be a good year for me because I will be diving full time into filmmaking after May. I have a lot of incomplete scripts that I will finally have the time to tie up the lose ends and go out looking for more projects. I also plan to visit the UK and check out the scenery.

DC: Ok, we are waiting!

DC: Obama becoming the first black president of America, has that had an impact on you at all?
CN: It means a lot to everybody. His plans to change the economy are so similar to mine that I have come to the conclusion that it must be a black thing! Honestly, I can’t imagine why his predecessors never thought of all the ideas he is putting forth to have the economy bounce back. For instance, for many years I had always thought about going after the rich people in order to ease some of the problems of the poor whereas the leaders before Obama had always thrived to protect the rich at the expense of the poor.
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DC: Is he (Obama) capable of changing the world?
CN: Oh yes!! Barack “The Magnificent” is the answer to many questions! He is moving fast too so I like him a lot. Did you realise that the last of the Israeli terrorist invaders left Gaza the day Obama took oath of office? That’s change happening right there. Also, he has already signed an order to close Guantanamo Prison within a year. That place was a disgrace to humanity, and at the same time a symbol of American Imperialism. He will do good I tell you. May God/ Allah bless the man and his family!

DC: What is hope in your opinion?
CN: Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had, that events will turn out for the best. You can’t have hope (don’t need hope) if everything in life is going just the way you want. It is obvious all around the world that society is in a dire need of reformation. Wars, poverty, unscrupulous politicians, IMF, famine, frustration and general disillusionment has got the common people “hoping” that one day their conditions will change for the better. That one day, “third world” leaders will actually be born with brains in their heads so they can think of their own people before they sign away their birthrights to Western parasites. That the next presidents will bring development to their countries! That one day all the gun manufacturers of the world will fall down and die so that there will be no more wars, so that our poor mothers won’t have to panic every time their children venture unto the streets of Soweto, Compton, Gaza, Mogadishu, Harlem, Sarajevo, Darfur, Tibet, Kingston etc…

DC: Wow…
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DC: and Success?
CN: Success is when all these dreams and aspirations have all been answered by the most high and we’re living stress free and in perfect contentment! And that we go to sleep at night and wake up to a new face at Etoudi Palace!


DC: Oh, I cannot finish this interview without asking about your music collection! I hear it is vast!
CN: Ha haa [he laughs] I am old skool! I don’t like the new music because it is baseless and stupid so I don’t listen to it. I don’t like hiphop nor coupe décalé either because they have so much power and influence over their audience. If they were to change their lyrics, they would make a real change. I like things that make sense, reggae is my number 1. On my playlist, my number one artist is Dobet Gnahore, she is from Ivory Coast and she can play any of the traditional instruments very well. Her father, Boni Gnahore taught her all she knows.


DC: Okay..thank you so much!
CN: Thank you
DC: Dulce Camer
CN: Cyril Nambangi

Thanks for checking the blog y'all and let's each try to do something we can to make change happen where we are. It can start in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your town, in your city, in your country, in your part of the world...all it takes is one person with the right idea and the right attitude. I am going to borrow Amabel Niba of African Vibe Magazine's favourite quote by Hellen Keller "I am only one but still I am one, I cannot do everything but still I can do something and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do"
Stay sweet
Dulce
xxx

9 comments:

mabsfominyen said...

Good luck Cyril.
You make a point there concerning some parents who would rather have their children be doctors than actors etc.
That shouldn't however stop anyone from showcasing a talent!
Mabi

Anonymous said...

Another great interview Ms T. This guy is so articulate and is obviously passionate about what he does. Really inspiring UO

Banyangi girl said...

" When I send out messages for castings, I always get replies from Cameroonians wanting some extra explanation of what it’s all about while those from other countries will just say ok I will be there but not the Cameroonians!"
lol haha I think African's as a whole have an above average level of skepticism

Prince Hamilton said...

I read there Late Vashti. Is he dead?

Dulce said...

Vashti Jones is the lady in the picture with him (Cyril)and yes she is dead.
Thanks

Prince Hamilton said...

Oh I see. Sorry that the young woman passed away. My her parents be consoled.

Anonymous said...

Hey Prince Hamilton, you can view Vashti Jone's tribute video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ0-eVrVzGE

thanks,

-

Prince Hamilton said...

Thanks. I feel sorry the sun had to set on such a rising star.

NathyK said...

I am happy to see cameroonians like Cyril who are really thinking brightly and are doing praiseworthy things for them and other lives too.Good luck!