A new Cameroonian film will premiere tomorrow Saturday October 19 2013 during the officially launching of the Miss Bronze Uk scholarship beauty pageant at Marriot Hotel, in the English seaside town of Portsmouth.
Titled simply as “Woman”, the film was written and directed by UK based Cameroonian script writer Goretti Folefa Etchu-Egbe. The mother of two made her debut in the film industry in Nigeria many years ago and has written, and acted with some of the best known Nigerian actors including Liz Benson, Olu Jacobs and Genevieve Nnanji.
On the eve of the premier of Woman, Francis Ngwa caught up with Goretti Folefa Etchu-Egbe for a chat.
Q What was the inspiration behind your film “Woman”?
Basically, Woman is a short story which addresses the question of infidelity within a marriage from the point of view of all three parties involved; the wife, husband and mistress. Is it always the obvious answers?
Woman was inspired by responses to a Facebook posting I made some months ago which asked: “What will you do if the mistress knocks at your door?” The answers were so varied yet honest that it prompted me to write the film Woman.
99% of the cast is Cameroonian, with 1 Nigerian female actor.
Njungwa Susankembling is the mistress, Christiana Awotayo – wife and Gabriel Leke- husband. That’s the main cast.
Q Just how serious is the issue of infidelity in marriage that you decided to do a film around that subject?
Every married individual I believe has an idea of what they can or can’t tolerate within their marriage. To some, infidelity is a deal- breaker while to others, it’ll take more than a man cheating to break up their home. Personally, I think it’s not as clear cut as Hollywood tries to paint it. But hey, to each their own right
Like I said earlier, the issue of infidelity was tackled as a result of the comments I received following my facebook question. Over 30 women felt passionate about it enough to leave comments. I was inspired by that.
Q Woman will premier tomorrow Saturday October 19th 2013 in Portsmouth, UK. Why that particular venue to premier what is essentially a Cameroonian film?
It might be a film made by a Cameroonian but ultimately, it is an issue that could affect any marriage- African, European or Asian. So I am open to showing it to any audience that is old enough to understand the issues it tackles. The Miss Bronze UK Scholarship pageant is about empowering and building women leaders- and as women, this issue could present itself in their future homes. Hopefully, the film could help them tackle the issue if it does happen to them. They would learn a lesson or two from ‘Woman’
Q Who are the main actors in the film?
Woman’ has three main characters: the cheating husband- Cameroonian, the wife- Nigerian and the mistress- Cameroonian. The two Cameroonians Njungwa Susan Kembling and Gabriel Leke are first time actors and I was very impressed and pleased with their work. The lovely Nigerian actor, Ms Christianah Awotayo took acting lessons back in secondary school and is building a great career for herself
Q What part can a script writer like yourself play in making the relatively small Cameroonian film industry an international brand as is the case with Nollywood in Nigeria?
I can certainly not take the Cameroonian film industry to the international stage by myself. I’m a team player and believe in team effort to achieve success. So far, the relatively young Cameroonian film industry has done some fantastic collaborations with Nollywood and the Ghanaian film industry in a bid to expose our talents. With others like myself making films in the diaspora, we will hopefully continue to fly the Cameroonian flag with great content, cinematography and strategic marketing
Q What does it take to be a good script writer?
You have to be passionate about telling your stories. You need to be creative because a lot of your time is spent creating these characters and living with them in your head, sometimes for months or years. How do you separate their different profiles and weave their stories together so it entertains your desired audience? You certainly need to have good writing skills, you may be the best story teller but if you can’t create an interesting plot or know when to include drama, then your film will fall flat. Finally you must be very disciplined. There’ll be days when you don’t feel like writing or when you’re not feeling creative. You’ll still have to force yourself to write
Q What other films have you written and have they been produced?
7 years ago, I was a budding scriptwriter who went to Lagos, Nigeria to take my chances. Luckily for me, it worked out-.I wrote and starred in Turntable– produced by Jummai Joseph, marketed by Charles Novia and starring Dakore Egbuson, Liz Benson, Olu Jacobs, just to name a few. Then I wrote a 13 episode TV series pilot which aired on AIT, then I wrote Just Me, again produced by Jummai Joseph- starring Desmond Elliott, Bimbo Akintola. During that time, I also featured in ’30 Days’ produced by Ego Boyo and starring Genevieve Nnaji, Chet Anekwe, Joke Silva etc. I also acted in a TV series – can’t remember what it was called, because I left before it was aired. I acted alongside Padita Agu, Robert Peters, Ricardo Agbor and others whose names I’ve forgotten. My entry into the Cameroonian Film industry was thanks to Agbor Gilbert Ebot – I co-wrote and starred in Before the Sunrise and shortly after that, came back to the UK, to focus on other more personal matters. So you see, I’ve been around the industry for quite some time now.
Q What future projects do you have in the film industry?
I have a series of scripts that I’ve written and will soon be actively looking for crowd funding. As a matter of fact, Woman will be released exclusively on Vimeo in the next few weeks, where viewers will be encouraged to tip my project if they enjoy it, so we can raise money and shoot a feature length movie. I’ve also sold a few scripts and I’m looking forward to producing some of them.
Fun facts about Goretti Folefa Etchu-Egbe
Star Sign: I’m a true Gemini. Hang around me for 10 minutes and you’ll figure it out.
Best Music video: That’s a tough one. Still thinking
Best Friend: Mrs Chantal Kassa
Most Unfulfilled Dream: my yet to be released films.
My Nickname: Show- Show or (SS) for short.
What Music Means to Me: Music is a gift from God to me. No matter the situation, a good piece of music will always make me smile.
Favourite Meal: Ekwang.
The Job I wanted but Never Had: As a child, I used to attend Kiddies Corner recordings at CRTV, and I thought I’ll grow up to be a journalist.
Favourite TV Show: Scandal starring Kerry Washington
Teenage Fantasy: As a teenager, I fantasized that I married R. Kelly and we built a family together and lived in Buea. Hahahaha