Cameroon, 97mins, dir. Françoise Ellong
This brave, no-holds-barred Cameroonian first feature W.A.K.A. (Woman Acts for her Kid Adam), tells the story of Matilda (Patricia Bakalack), a 30-something barmaid facing numerous post-pregnancy struggles. When Max enters her life, she begins to explore a way in which she can bring her child into the world that would come with financial but not necessarily moral support. This is an unflinching account of a not uncommon issue, bristling with verve and conviction from newcomers Ellong and Bakalack.
Françoise Ellong was born in Douala, Cameroon on February 8, 1988. As soon as she learnt to write, her sense of imagination was revealed gradually to her family. At 11, she arrived in the small town of Brunoy in France, where she lived with her uncle. In 2006 she took her first steps as a scriptwriter but also as director while continuing her studies in Information and Communication in Paris, followed by a Masters in Cinematography and Post Production at the University of Greenwich in London, which she completed with honours. From 2006 to 2012, nine short films emerged from her passion for scriptwriting and directing, shot both in French and English, which received awards at several festivals around the world. “W.A.K.A” is her first feature film.
Cameroon style buffet
Peanut base, seasoned with tomato, mushrooms, garlic, onion & parsley (V)
Slow-cooked rice, with mixed vegetables and seasoned with sauté onion & tomato (V)
Actor Bruno Henry
Composer Saul James
Some people have had their career path all worked out from a young age. Muntu Valdo recalls picking up a friend’s battered old two-stringed guitar under a mango tree near his home in Cameroon when he was eight and realising that he had found his path in life. It’s a long way from that tree to YouTube, where the extraordinary spectacle he presents on stage today using loops, samples and effects pedals to supplement his guitar and harmonica has become a veritable phenomenon.
Muntu Valdo, belongs to the Sawa people who populate the length of Cameroon’s coastline along the Golf of Guinea. His father is from the small village of Dibombari, his mother from the Malimba Islands out in the Atlantic Ocean, famous for their giant oysters. Muntu then, is a Sawa. Blessed by the legendary «Miengu» (mermaids) who are known to protect those who worship them. His mesmerising bluesy music is seeped in the oceans, mangroves, waterfalls and rivers that dominate his region.
First discovered alongside some of the great names of world music including Ali Farka Touré, Manu Dibango, Richard Bona, Lokua Kanza, Eko Roosevelt, Keziah Jones, Alpha Blondy. Muntu’s debut album “Gods & Devils” was met with rave reviews in France, as well as in Cameroon and throughout Africa. It was described by NME as “a rapturous record that shudders with joy and passion”.
In 2008, Muntu moved to London. The solo project he has been developing ever since, blends the traditions of his homeland with striking modernity and technical mastery, using loop/sample technology to build up layers of sounds to rapturous effect. Over the last two years he has toured the UK’s most prestigious venues supporting the likes of multi-award winning jazz bass player singer extraordinaire Richard Bona, multi-award winning British jazz star Dennis Rollins, Congolese superstars Staff Benda Bilili and collaborating in a 30 dates tour with Grammy award winning South African legends Lady Smith Black Mambazo. Signed by WMG which released his Album “The One & The Many” on Warner Jazz, Muntu Valdo is now firmly established on the live scene as a solo artist and is preparing a new project with his newly formed band.
Sawa Blues, jazz, soulful beats. Good music travels fast. So keep up!