By Vahid Oloro
Published December 22, 2008
LAST LAUGH IN KINSHASA, a film co- produced by Sham Said Productions and Congo-Kinshasa’s national broadcaster, RTNC, is set for premiere at the end of December 2008.
Addressing the Press on December 13, 2008, RTNC managing director, Emmanuel Kipolongo, said the process of filming LAST LAUGH IN KINSHASA had enabled his organisation to assess the kind of talent available within his organisation and also that necessary for jump-starting the Congo’s film sector.
LAST LAUGH IN KINSHASA is the story of Ado (Tinavidy Sham Said) who loses his job and misses a multi-million Francs-winning lottery ticket after his wife, Roli (Starlet Mathata), steals it just before the winning numbers are announced. His hope of reviving his career and winning back Roli’s love and re-invigorating his marriage are dashed when Roli, made a millionaire by the stolen ticket, makes an about-turn and seeks a younger lover, Jack (Arsen Kamango), a move instigated by her sister, Théthé (Laure Esther Mistris).
Filmed on a shoe-string budget, the producers are banking on the film’s success to re-invigorate the country’s film sector.
Munanga Sadiki of Sham Said said during the Press briefing that the team that produced the film did not consider financial gain.
“They exhibited their love for work, labouring hard sometimes beyond normal working hours with almost no financial gain, to bring this project to fruition,” he said.
RTNC brought into the partnership production equipment, the technical crew and office space, while Sham Said provided cash, the script, and cast.
The Congo, with its vast forest cover, abundant rivers and wonderful climate, has some of Africa’s spectacular sites suited for shooting films requiring rich tropical climate back drop. But the country’s violent history, misrule, almost absent filming infrastructure and limited aggressive marketing of itself as a filming destination, have denied it the opportunity to develop its potential.
Over the next one year Sham Said Productions, previously operating in South Africa as Editions Sham Said, and exclusively involved in publishing, hopes to have the closed cinemas across the country’s key towns re-opened.
Whether LAST LAUGH IN KINSHASA will generate the excitement in a country dominated by Nigerian, American and French movies is yet to be seen.
Critics say it isn’t yet possible to know whether LAST LAUGH IN KINSHASA has value that would open the market for it across the world.
But after watching the 13 minute special clip for the media, some of the glaring weaknesses cited include poor lighting and poor sound recording. There is also a lack of special effects occasioned by a tight budget.
What could be its biggest challenge, however, is poor English dialogue given that Congo-Kinshasa is officially Anglophone.
Tinavidy Sham Said, the MD of Sham Said who is also the writer of the story and producer of LAST LAUGH IN KINSHASA, said his next production would only take place after an extensive training of selected actors in English. He said productions in English would continue given that the partners intend to market their products beyond the borders of the French-speaking world. A French version of each film however, will be produced to meet demands of the Francophone countries.