Government support of Desmond Elliot Nollywood flick in Sierra Leone gets criticism

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Jimmy Bangura "Jimmy B" - Head of Sierra Leone Movie Federation
Jimmy Bangura “Jimmy B” – Head of Sierra Leone Movie Federation

Nollywood actor turned producer Desmond Elliot is in Sierra Leone shooting a film under the invitation of the office of the presidency but the head of the Sierra Leone Movie Federation says this is bad for the local industry. In an interview with Awoko, the nation’s foremost producer Jimmy B says that Elliot is being given unprecedented support that  none in Sierra Leone’s film industry has ever enjoyed.

Last week Desmond Elliot reportedly shot scenes at the Law Court where he had state security and official vehicles accompanying him. Elliot and his crew also had “unlimited access to State House and other facilities.”

Most film makers in Sierra Leone have to beg and plead to be allowed access to government buildings for their films so the fact that Elliot was seen shooting at these locations has made some in the local industry upset.

“There is no way I can leave here for the Gambia, Ghana or Nigeria and have such facilities. Even they themselves do not enjoy such facilities in their respective countries,” Jimmy B said.

“I am not against actors and actresses coming to do movies in our country using their own resources, we welcome that. But they should not come and be allowed to use resources in our country which we indigenous film makers are not exposed to. It’s like taking our own fat to fry us. And it is demoralizing”.

Bangura has single-handedly produced some 12 movies in Sierra Leone and he says not once has he been allowed to shoot at the Law Court even after having written letters of request to the appropriate authorities.

Will the benefits of having a Nollywood film shot in Sierra Leone outweigh the losses to the local film industry?

  • Tina

    This is bullshit, I have never been mad in life like this before… The SL gov are assholes sorry to say that … All they know how to do is spend the money on other people and themselves.:,. How about helping the nation to move forward? Jimmy B has been doing good so far by himself, am always happy to see his movies am like woo you go Sollywood, en for em to give this Nigerian people all these benefits smh. Don’t get me wrong but clean ya shit first before cleaning others shit. How will they look at us? What the hell…big fools are all this gov people.. pls

    • Mahmoud

      Tina u have to be mindful of your submission more especially when u are using such medium to communicate,just heard one side of the story and then jump in to conclusion,i want to crave your indulgence to investigate the issue proper before making any comment.t

  • No this is very very wrong for a person like elliot he knows the rule of the game, that can not happen in nigeria. U can not by cut the local film industry and go ahead to presidency. Nevertheless if this is true. He have not don well at all. Yes he my brother.

  • ice

    This is sad salone people should be allow to use resources in the country we always love foreign people than our own. They can do that in nigeria.The should be ashame of themselves

  • ice

    The sierra leone government should be ashame of themselves

  • its not fair jimmy is trying to make sollywood be on d map as far as making movies but he can’t do it alone the government should help not give our resources to other countries that don’t care about what jimmy is trying to do desmond need to go back to his country, the government is not helping jimmy at all but they are helping other countries instead of theirs,that’s why we never move forward.

  • Umarr

    ”If you don’t learn to appreciate yourself you will never appreciate the work of others and you will never be deemed great”. The Gov is showing a clear sign of neglect of its people. If sollywood isn’t asking for funding, why not allowing them to use the state resources. We as citizens are not envying any other film industry for making use of our resources but we feel shame of our Gov for not making its own people a priority. Jimmy continue the good work, we hope and pray that one day the Gov realises its wrong doing.Desmond you’re welcome; this is the country of ”no man”, strangers are the ones granted first class tickets.”Na salone nor mo dis dae bee”.

  • james

    How long shall we deprived ourselves from us? How long shall we condole the negligence of our governments? If our government cannot stand for us who els can? It pains me alots each time i hard stories like this. They preach about love and national unity and yet thier actions contradicts their words, no love,comapassion for the thier own people.Some times i wonder which direction we heading. I pray that some day we will come realise the importance of appreciating ourselves and putting our country first leaving our selfish, greed and deceit behind for the good of us, our country and feature of the next generations.
    Jimmy, i know how it feels like to be treated like an outseder in your own land. It has always been like this and i pray that God gives you the strength and motivation to overcome. THANKYOU

  • young law

    duh………..WTF

  • Aminto

    Pls Desmond go back to nigerian thank you

  • pizzo

    It a total mess for the filming industry of Sierra Leone because the Government is not appreciating the work of His own people. The employment rate of youths in this country is very low and people are trying to create employment for themselves and yet the Government do not appreciate that, is really a total mess.

  • Isha Sesay

    I agree with Pizzo, Jimmy B and Co are trying their best to create jobs for the youths. I think they should have allowed Sollywood to explore these areas before any other. We do respect your work Desmond Elliot but not at the expense of the Sierra Leone industry.

    • Mike Yaarimeh S Bangura

      NOT IN MY BACK YARD (NIMBY0
      The blatant display of favoritism showered by some of our government personnel on the Nigerian Film Producer/Director/Actor, Desmond Elliot, whilst filming recently in Sierra Leone; at the expense of indigenous Sierra Leonean film makers (like Jimmy Bangura aka Jimmy B), was enough to rile some of us in the Diaspora, who are preparing to boost the film industry in Sierra Leone.
      It is imperative to point out that such behaviour by the authorities does not only undermine our democracy, ignores, and devalues and demoralises local/homegrown talent; but it is totally unacceptable. It would appear that whosever gave Mr. Elliot unbridled access to some of the country’s sacrosanct and most prestigious institutions, intentionally set out to create a system that is dominated by bribery, suppress and frustrate local talent; and make it harder for such local talent to compete with our Nollywood and Ghollywood counterparts. Look no further than Jimmy B, who, I might say, didn’t come from wealth or fame; but look at his tireless and unselfish contribution to promote the film industry in Sierra Leone without any government backing!
      Let me hasten to make it crystal and emphatically clear that I have nothing personal against Desmond (I’m an ardent fan of his, and who knows, we might work together in the future), or the collaboration between Nollywood (my wife and I, as do many Sierra Leoneans in the UK, subscribe to the Nollywood Channel 329 in the UK) and the budding Salone film industry. I think it is fantastic for our country’s international image and laudable recognition of its talents. What I vehemently oppose is that such collaboration should, and must not be at the expense of the budding Sierra Leone Film Industry and its exceptionally brilliant talents. As Jimmy B rightly pointed out (and I’m sure Desmond will agree), Desmond and other Naija Film Makers would never enjoy such unlimited access to their states’ senatorial amenities, let alone Federal ones, in Nigeria.
      This behaviour is reminiscent of my days as Playwright/Director of the acclaimed WARA DRAMA COMPANY. With no government backing/funding, yet we were subjected to politically rigorous censorships and threats. But guess what! In the midst of all these seemingly insurmountable barriers, with our immense talents and addictive enthusiasms, the theatre thrived and flourished in Sierra Leone, compounding even our fiercest tormentors!
      Right now, a group of us (Writers, Directors, Actors/Actresses, Film Technicians i.e. Cameramen, IT Whiz Kids, Business and Legal Experts, etc) have formed the Sierra Leone Multi Media Production Company, in London. The SLMMPC will be launched in Sierra Leone next year. This will be followed by AUDITIONS for our MAIDEN FILM, and shooting to commence soon thereafter. Watch this space for regular updates from SLMMPC.
      Fellow Sierra Leoneans, I think we can all agree that the arts, mainly theatre and film, can play functional roles in nation building. These two mediums can not only entertain, but they can also educate and inform, thereby raising the level of consciousness of our people – the majority of whom are menaced by powerlessness and isolation.
      As artists, we are not asking for much. If you the powers that be cannot support us, please let us be. At least, give us the same level playing field as the foreign film makers who come to our shores. As a matter of fact, I think all foreign film makers wanting to come and shoot films in Sierra Leone must do so through the Sierra Leone Movie Federation; which I’m sure is regulated by the government.
      I believe very strongly that our President, THIS PRESIDENT, HE Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK), is not aware of this national disgrace. So whosoever are the culprits, the perpetrators, the sycophants, the government mandarins, who are undermining and preventing our talented countrymen from realising their full potential, BE WARNED that your days are numbered. EBK will surely and soon know who you are! As the saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” LONTHA!

      Mike Yaarimeh S Bangura

      Secretary, Sierra Leone Multi Media Production Company
      Playwright/Former Director, Wara Drama Company, Sa Leone