France: Group plays down the closure of cinema halls in Africa


The president of the African Network of Promoters and Cultural Entrepreneurs (RAPEC), John Dossavi, on Monday played down in Paris the closure of cinema halls in Africa and pleaded for a new policy on cinemas. 'I am naturally not for the closure of cinema halls. But I take the view that the problem is not so much the wave of closures as the absence of African films that reflect African realities and respond to the demand on the continent,' he said in an interview with PANA.

For Mr. Dossavi, the advent of 'African films shot by Africans for Africans' would be largely enough to resolve the problem of the spate of closures of cinema halls on the continent.

'To say the truth, I can't see what we are losing now with the closure of these cinema halls. In fact, no African films are projected on African screens. Young cinema-goers are rather interested in action films. Let us take their demand into account and let us produce and distribute films that correspond to our realities,' RAPEC president emphasized.

He also repeated his doubts about the capacity of the  Ouagadougou Pan African Cinema and Television Festival (FESPACO) to really promote African films.

'Let us be clear: I am not going to blame anybody. I am just going to be alert on the urgency of having our own cinema. If we spend one million euros to produce an African film, we will need five others to communicate on the film and promotes it across our vast continent', Mr. Dossavi added.

According to him, even if we succeed in producing films that reconcile the African cinema to its audience, there is the need to envisage opening a reasonable number of cinema halls in each major African city.

'We did have 2, 3 even 4 cinema hall in a single African city. I think that even if we produce films that make the African youth dream we can stick to one cinema hall per African city,' RAPEC president further said.,

For the past several years, cinema rooms in major African cities have been closing down one after the other. Capital cities like Dakar, Niamey, Yaoundé, Libreville no longer have a single cinema hall.