Ebah Hélène: Still Producing Despite Meagre Means

She advises any would-be film producer to be daring in their thinking.

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While still in cinema school, she released her first film, “Ruban.” And today, Ebah Hélène has several films and documentaries to her credit. The graduate of the “Ecole International du cinema et d’audio-visuel de Paris,” France, also worked with Jean Pierre Bekolo on his long film, “Les seigneurs.”

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Ebah Hélène has produced, “Les bléssures inguérissable,” a long film that won the “Meilleur espoir feminine” award at the 2007 “Ecrans Noirs” Film Festival in Yaounde. She has just finished producing two short films - “Pour le mal” (19 minutes) and “Therapie” (26 minutes). “Length doesn’t count to me. I just want to treat interesting social subjects,” she notes, explaining that the recurrent themes in her films are gender, absence of social solidarity, violence and underdevelopment. “My critical spirit made me to turn to cinema. At the beginning, I thought I was drawn more to journalism, but later realised that film-making was my calling,” recalls the young lady.

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“Everyone can produce films. You don’t need to study it in school. Training is important though, but you don’t need to have big qualifications. To be a film producer, you should be talented, read much and watch many films,” Ebah counsels. Similarly, intending producers need to understand film making, be informed about cinema, have good general knowledge, know their environment, and have a sense of observation and criticism, she says. According to her, filmmakers must not censor themselves. “Don’t be afraid to depict what goes on in society like rape, incest, crimes and assassination,” she adds.

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On film-making in Cameroon, Ebah says it costs much and thus scares off many people. “I don’t have much means, but I always think of how to add beauty to my films. Often, I spend more in making a film than what I get from it. Thus, film-making in Cameroon demands that you also have other means of livelihood. But the difficulty is that artistes represent what some people don’t want to see. If people stop being afraid, they will consider the civil society and artistes as partners, not foes,” she concludes.

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