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Delphine Itambi; The Frank Rajah Arase Of Cameroon Movie Industry

Dear CB readers, today, we bring to your reading pleasure: a unique personality with a deep mind, an outstanding movie director, producer and screen-player who dares to think out of the box, a loving, supportive and charismatic damsel. Whose favorite colour is red and currently single! Hiya, readers, I caught up with the beautiful and multi talented “Itambi Delphine” on Whatsapp and had an in depth interview with her. Get yourself a combo of pop corn and some juice while she thrills and educates you with her: experiences, adventures and motivation as a film maker.    🙂 


Question
Our readers would like to know you; who would you say Itambi Delphine is?

Itambi Delphine is a Cameroonian writer, movie director and producer hailing from the Northwest Region of the country precisely from Bereje Oshie. I started film production in 2008 and have been active in the industry for 10 years and still counting.

Itambi Delphine
Delphine Itambi (Writer/Producer/Director)

Question
Can you Tell us a little more about your background?

 😛 🙂 You already know I’m an Oshie girl(lol 😆 ), I am from a lovely and supportive family of six,  the filth child and the last girl.

Question
As a script writer/screen-player, can you recount to us the number of scripts you’ve written ?

OMG!For scripts, Oh! Where do I start? I have written quite a lot of brain storming scripts, both personal and for other stakeholders. I have written over 35 scripts for home based clients as well as international. 

Question
That’s huge! Would You mind sending us a list of scripts written by you and the year they were written?

Off-course not! Here You are!

  1. The Tongue(2005)
  2. A Woman’s World(2008)
  3. My Addiction(2009)
  4. House of Triplets(2010)
  5. A Toast To Love(Student Film New York Film Academy in 2011)
  6. I’M Missing You(Music Video, film student project NYFA in 2011)
  7. Aleah(student Film NYFA 2011)
  8. Coffee For The Dead(2013)
  9. Viri(Co-writer 2013)
  10. Shola and The Visitors(2014)
  11. Two Hours To Freedom(2014)
  12. The Triple S(2014)
  13. The Invisible Bars(2014)
  14. I-Bemsi(2014
  15. Son Of Abenego(2015
  16. Konte(2016)
  17. Ward Zee(2016)
  18. The 19th Diary(2016)
  19. I’m Not Lucky(The Film 2017)
  20. Lucy(Ongoing project)

Question
If I were to use your services, how much would you charge me for a screenplay/script?

Well, basically, my fee changes with time as I improve on my skills! Like in 2016, my fee was somewhere around $800 for home based filmmakers and $1000 for those based in the diaspora(for featured films) and for short films, I charged $400 and $500 respectively. 2017 came with lots of improvement and development and so did my fees as a script writer:lol:  :lol:. 2017 was quite tricky as I didn’t set up a fee because I was quite busy with personal projects especially “Wardzee” which really took my time and concentration. I think I wrote just one script for a client in 2017. This is 2018, I think if I’m to write a script for a home based client, it will be costing them a $1000 and for short films, it will be at-least $500. Those are my fees and I wouldn’t go below that! If I ever have to go below that, it will be for specific reasons, like the project I’m working on right now, it’s actually more like a pro bono project —it has to do with orphans —I see it as my chance to give back to the society and most especially because of the connection, I decided to dedicate and put my weight on the project. Generally speaking, it all depends on the approach, cos sometimes, you get to charge a client and they’re like, wow! $1000 to write a script? Lots of them become sarcastic like a skillful writer doesn’t have the right to charge that much for a screenplay, c’mon! 500,000frs is nothing when it comes to a screenplay and because of great consideration of our striving industry, I set the fees at such levels. I will like to reiterate about the approach as I can even write for free! I have already set a standard for myself and it doesn’t really matter if a client gets to pay me $2000, I will never go down on my standards because of money, if the story-line is wack or weak —I wouldn’t go for it irrespective of the amount involve —unless the client is willing to permit me work the story up to my standards. 😀 

Question
can you please tell us some of the challenges you face as a filmmaker from Cameroon?

  1. Funding(Ward Zee is actually my first real project with outstanding executive producers, the rest were self funded with help from family and well wishers)
  2. Shooting Locations(People have become very skeptical of their homes being used these days and they get to tax us very high. Irrespective of the contracts you have with them, most people wouldn’t let you finish with the shootings, so there’s that challenge of continuity)
  3. Technicality( As concern the technical aspect of film making, we do not have many people behind the camera. You know we come from a country where everybody wants to be a star, everyone wants to be the face in front of the Camera, so barely few people actually get the required training to fill the technical voids in the industry. “Ward Zee” per se is taking so much time to be released for consumption because the one editor I know to be professional enough, actually has a lot of work on his desk. Many people would be wondering why Ward Zee isn’t out yet—the technical void in the industry explains it all—a project which is suppose to take less than 2 months to round up with the post production, will actually take more than 6 months. 
Achille Brice (Post Production)
Achille Brice (Post Production)

4. Marketing(This is actually the most challenging aspect of film making in Cameroon! This particular challenge is self explanatory: Few cinemas with no beneficial set ups for film makers, limited festivals, fewer contracts with television networks and sheer lack of nation wide distribution connections. 

Question
I noticed Kamer bloggers pay more attention to the Music industry than the movie industry, what’s your take on this?

Oh! LoL( 😆 )! Well, a blogger has the right to give their attention to wherever they think it’s more profitable—that’s actually if they are going for the money—yes, if the music industry is booming more at the moment, bloggers are naturally supposed to be attracted to it and blog/promote the music stars. I really do not have a problem with that, but it becomes dire issue when they choose to get on the movie lane just to talk about the negative sides of it. If they choose to blog more about music, they should be consistent and not to switch sectors just to make a blog post about the ills of the movie industry. 

There was a time I felt like, “You can’t be promoting one sector of the entertainment industry and neglecting the other”, but then I realised, If I must put my stuff out there, I will have to hire the services of someone professional to do it for me!

Question
you managed to get fans to anticipate the release of the movie “Wardzee”, can you tell us how you to plan to get it across the national territory and the world at large?

“Ward Zee has a marketing strategy put in place and we are going to be taking one step to the next, we have plan A,B,C and D, whichever fails us, we move to the next without much ado! Lol 😆 Sometimes, a perfect plan nothwithstanding, the reality comes with a variation, so in order not to be much disappointed, we have set up the: high, medium and lows. I have settled for the low, so no matter the outcome, I don’t get too disappointed 😆

Well, Ward Zee, the trailer is going to be out very soon—we have an electronic press kit put together—interviews of the team and actors, it’s going to be a 15 minutes video to be run on televisions nationwide to get people to anticipate the movie even more. 

For premiers, If I get sponsors, I’ll ensure to do  top class premiers in strategic cities in the country, but if I’m unable to procure sponsors—I think I will just settle for one premier for the movie.

I am looking forward to making releases to simple cinemas like the W2 cinema where you can have people who couldn’t make it to the premiers, go to watch the movie at more affordable prices, but that is going to come like quite some months after the premier has been done.

We also have to do festival tours for Ward Zee and we are looking forward to other things, I definitely want a top notch cinema release lol :lol:! Who wouldn’t want a cinema release? If I can’t get a cinema release, I will just settle for the other options and move forward.

Internationally, we will be sending Ward Zee to televisions that I think people will be able to watch from there and we are also planning for international premiers.

Two days before the release and premier of the movie, we are going to do a press conference, 😆 I really do love press conferences..will get bloggers and television networks to do the press release and conferences

Question
Wardzee seems to have a sense of mystery and out of the box, can you brief us about the story-line?

Sure! here you are:

SYNOPSIS

A young woman fights for her life and that of her missing son when she wakes up from the strangest of places without a baby she supposedly conceived two days ago in Ward Zee of a given hospital. Every trace of her ever being pregnant or having put to birth are nonexistent. Her husband and maid have disappeared into thin air and everyone she comes across who seem to believe her seemingly delusional story is a target. “Page” and her team of a: curious Neighbor,  police officer, an ex-lover and a come-back sister are bent on puzzling out the mystery behind the disappearance of the baby. But how so, when not even she,(the mother) can REMEMBER. Is this a wild ghost chase with a woman who may possibly HV buried her own son, or is someone bent on making her FORGET?

CAST

Question
How did you manage to get Adambi Mbango and Vicky Fokala to work together in-spite of the social media cavil they had

Hahahah! I see! Let me say this,  First, I don’t get carried away by all these social media brouhaha and as a producer, I look pass  things like that and I expect same from professional actresses.

When I started writing my script, I had informed Adambi who happened to be the first cast of the movie, that she will have to travel to Cameroon to play her role in the movie. When I was done writing the script and was doing the final casting for the movie, I picked Vicky Fokala for a particular character(Mrs Ashu) and not for a minute did I border myself to think these two do not have a cordial relationship, I was just so concerned about them giving my script the life it deserves. After we were done with the casting, one of them called(Name withheld)  and was like, Oh! This person will also be acting? You know we have issues, and I said, ” Oh! You have superficial Facebook issues and I think this is the right platform for y’all to sort yourself out and move on.

Also Read: Meet Adambi Mbango: Love, sex, Scandals and the Movies

No one actually talked to them, they just put behind their differences and worked together like the professionals that they are—they were actually one of the best friends on set. I was so happy when I walk into the make up room, I think Vicky Fokala was doing her make up thing and Ada was there too, and to my greatest dismay, they pulled up a conversation like they never had an issue. There’s a behind scene interview of Vicky in which she explains it better!

Question
what really inspired your transition from elegant sisters production to Itambi Studios?

I’ve had Elegant sisters for like 10 years now and I just wanted to create something I’m more connected too! My Dad happens to be my greatest mentor and to me, the name Itambi represents everything I am—Itambi is my family name and to honour and appreciate my family for all they’ve done for me, I had to name my studio “Itambi Studios”  and this is more like a family business.

Question
Can you give us a date you think “Wardzee” will be available for consumption?

Wouldn’t say for certain, but we are doing all we can to make it happen sooner than later. In the coming days, the trailer of the movie will available

Question
Can you say Cameroonians face difficulties getting their movies aired on platforms like Iroko TV, African Magic and other DSTV platforms because Cameroon is considered internationally  as a French speaking country?

Tricky Question, lol  😳 Maybe or maybe not, the truth is, Nigerians go for their films first and you really need to have some strong connection. I think it’s not always about the quality of the movies because sometimes when you watch some of the movies on Iroko TV and you immediately rate movies done in Cameroon higher. It’s rarely the case, as a movie producer, I do not concern myself with that as I think such platforms should be concerned about the arts and not the language or where it’s coming from.

Question
What does the future hold for cinematography in Cameroon?

I wish more people could go for training so as to fill the voids in kamer cinematography. People must not necessarily go to school, they can learn from YouTube and do research online. There’s a great difference between shooting wedding videos and music videos, but in Kamer, everyone with a Camera thinks they can shoot a movie. The future of the industry is bright, but in order to make that happen sooner than later, more and more people need to go for appropriate training. 

CONCLUSION

ENDING
Thanks for making out the time to sit for this interview

You’re Welcome! The pleasure is all mine!

Written by 

CEO Davis E Tabot is a dynamic, open minded, Passionate Blogger, Media Personality, Talent Manager, Wordpress Website builder, Social media marketer and Founder of MCMG. e-mail Davis E Tabot via: ceodavis@meetcameroonians.com

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