After a few years of hesitation, Togolese cinema is back in force on the international scene. It is thanks to structures like YoBo studio and the commitment of some young people who have embarked on this project even without any significant resources.
“Today, I am proud to be part of this new generation of Togolese actors and actresses who are trying to raise the standard and to have a presence in the sub-region and internationally,” enthused Julio Teko, an actor.
For Gilbert Bararmna, a filmmaker, “Togolese cinema has taken off and more people must stay the course.”
Joël Tchédré, a film director, is part of the younger generation working for the emergence of the 7th art in Togo.
Our wish is that the film industry be in Togo … a particularly promising sector … providing innovative jobs with decent pay through these many professions.
He has made several fiction and documentary films which have enabled him to win several awards beyond Togolese borders
“From the moment we started winning prizes, there are some young people who have started to pursue film studies and say that that a career in film is possible. For about three or four years, there has been a surge, a desire for film production,” observed Tchédré.
What the film industry in Togo needs
Tchédré says the industry is hindered by two major challenges; training and meagre financial and technical resources. But players in the industry choose to remain optimistic.
“It is expanding, so I think it is definitely on the rise. There is a lot to do; but it gives me hope. I am inspired by what is (being) done around me,” said Madie Foltek, a scriptwriter.
Togolese authorities now on board
For the first time, the country’s leaders launched the cinema week, a sign that they are ready to take on the mantle and boost to the Togolese film industry.
A week marked with the screening of some sixty fiction and documentary films and the organization of a scriptwriting residency.
“Our wish is that the film industry be in Togo, as in other places, an activity of collective creativity at its best, a particularly promising sector of activity, providing innovative jobs with decent pay through these many professions,” said Togolese Minister of Culture, Guy Madje Lorenzo.
These actions are supported by the establishment of a legal framework with the recent adoption in Togo of a film and animated image code to boost the film industry in Togo.