“Where I Come From” is a story of unconditional love between a young girl Mambi and her broken widowed father who is a gambling addict. Mambi (Faith Fidel) is forced into the streets and into partaking in the very lifestyle that ruined her father. Her father David (Anurin Nwuembom) has drowned himself in a pool of debt by gambling. Weighed down by the troubles of her father’s debts, she learns the tricks of the game and is able to pay off her father’s unending debts, while keeping a watchful eye on her drunkard of a neighbor Pa Dan. The thought of having a normal childhood, going to school, feels like an illusion to her. Eventually, education becomes the center of their conflict.
105 mins | English | Drama, Comedy | 2020 | Cameroon
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Takong Delvis
Why this subject matter for your film?
Growing up as a kid, I used to marvel at all street children I passed along the way to school who never had an opportunity as I did to have mainstream education. Where I come from, each day as I walk the streets on my way to work, I see grown-up men who sit at local joints, gambling daily. That drew my attention to start thinking about their different families and this aspect drew me into the story of WHERE I COME FROM because, in a sense, it reminded me of that aspect of my past and brought fond memories of those I relate to. I wanted to show how limited the options are for the children of the ghetto, like MAMBI, who have but often one option to choose from.
Where did you find this story for this film?
The writer/producer of this film “TESSY ESEME’ and I come from the same place and we happen to share the same views and experiences on a daily basis. She wanted us to shoot a film and while we were brainstorming on what to write on, this topic came up. We started discussing and the deeper we found ourselves in it. We started writing.
What were the challenges you faced while making the film?
The major challenge was financing the film. We had a very limited budget for this film. This means I had to work with a very limited crew than I wanted. Finally I resorted to working with beginners for the project, aside from the Director of Photography TEBO NJEI who is more experienced, the rest of the crew were a group of passion-driven young boys/girls. This also meant that we had very limited time (14 days) to capture principal photography for this film and it was so challenging.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
For so many years our country was without cinemas. They were shut down for reasons we, the new generation can’t yet place hands on them. Recently only two cinemas are functional nationwide. That’s so difficult for us filmmakers, market-wise. So generally marketing is a great obstacle we are still battling with and due to our limited budget, we couldn’t get to do the kind of publicity and promotions we wanted for the premiere of the film. Covid-19 also is another barrier that’s seriously affecting its showcase in the few cinemas we have.
What was your background before making your first film?
I come from a cinematography/editing background. I’ve been a cinematographer, editor, and assistant director for a lot of award-winning films around the world before my debut as a film director.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution? A lot of young filmmakers get into production without mastering the commerce side of it. I think it’s important they spend some time and research on it before they venture into production. They need to think like entrepreneurs. To raise funds for your project from companies or investors, you need a business plan that would be explicit on every detail of it from preproduction to distribution. Your investors need to see clearly how they are going to make their money back plus profits before they can invest in it. This means you must also know your market and have a good marketing strategy for it. On another angle, you might want to partner with your colleagues with whom you share the same thoughts, ideas and passion, to contribute money and resources (skilled or financial) to realize your projects. In this case, you are only answerable to yourselves and you might have total control of the creative process. This is actually what’s on my mind right now.
Interesting facts about WHERE I COME FROM
The lead actress FAITH FIDEL (Mambi) was 11 years old when we shot the film, it was also her first major film and since then she has won over 30 international awards. Moreover, about 95% of the crew was comprised of young passionate boys and girls, none of them more than 30 years old.
The film would be available on Netflix worldwide in the next few months
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