Niamey Manifesto of African Filmmakers (Niger, 1982)
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T H I R D C I N E M A S , C O L O N I A L I S M • 303 to leave their countries, often despite themselves, to contribute to the development and overdevelopment of countries that don’t need them, and that use their excesses to dominate us. This will continue until we grasp the crucial importance of cultural and economic strategy, and create our own networks of film production and distribution, liberating ourselves from all foreign monopolies. NIAMEY MANIFESTO OF AFRICAN FILMMAKERS (Niger, 1982) FEPACI (Fédération panafricaine des cinéastes) The first international conference on cinema was held in Niamey, Niger, March 1–4, 1982. The participants were filmmakers, critics, officials from several African countries, and international cinema experts. The participants recognized the underdevelopment of cinema, including regular film productions in the majority of African countries. Further, the participants are convinced that African cinema must be committed to asserting the cultural identity of African peoples; be an effective means for international understanding, education, and entertainment; provide an incentive for development; and contribute to national and regional economic policies. The Conference started by making a serious evaluation of African and international policies on cinema. The participants then studied proposals for the development of African cinema, production and the financing of productions, and the possibilities of legislation that would promote pan-African strategies for the development of the African cinema industry. They examined ways of implementing the proposals. The conference finally adopted the following resolutions and recommendations: GENERAL PRINCIPLES The participants considered and set up the following principles: The viability of cinema production is closely tied to the complementary viability of the other four main sectors of cinema, namely the exploitation of cinema theaters, importation of films, distribution of films, and technical infrastructure and training. There cannot be any viable cinema without the involvement of African states for the organization, the support, the stabilization of cinema, and the encouragement and protection of private public investment in cinema. 304 • T H I R D C I N E M A S , C O L O N I A L I S M It is not possible to have a viable cinema industry on a national level in Africa. The development of national cinema should take into consideration regional and pan-African cooperation by integrating cinema to political and economic ties that already exist between states. At the present stage of development of audiovisual facilities in the world and particularly in Africa, television should be complementary to cinema. It is possible to finance African film productions from the present revenue from the millions who patronize cinemas in Africa. What is required is a strategy that will ensure that part of this revenue legitimately returns to the production of films. Production should not rely solely on patronage. RECOMMENDATIONS CINEMA MARKET (EXPLOITATION AND PROJECTION) Every state should organize, support, safeguard, and develop its movie theater market and encourage and collaborate with neighboring states to form a regional common market for the importation and exploitation of films. Measures to be taken: a. The setting up of national ticket agencies to monitor receipts of cinemas for the benefit of the exchequer, the cinema owners, and film producers. b. The provision of cinemas and other appropriate film projection venues and facilities. c. To make available funds from cinema taxes to encourage exhibitors to expand their cinema circuits, thus enlarging the market. d. States to exempt taxation on equipment imported for film projections. e. States to encourage investment to build cinemas by creating incentives for would-be investors. IMPORTATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF FILMS We have to control and organize the importation and distribution of foreign films to ensure the projection of African films on national, regional, and continental levels. We have to limit the dependence on foreign suppliers and ensure cultural diversification of foreign films, thus preventing the domination of films from particular areas. All this must be done with the aim of reconquering and enlarging our cultural and economic space. Measures to be taken: a. The setting up of national distribution corporations in countries where they don’t already exist, be they state run or in the private sector. b. The setting up of regional film importation companies that would function as cooperatives , e.g., CIDC. Where possible representative film purchasing companies based T H I R D C I N E M A S , C O L O N I A L I S M • 305 in foreign countries should...