Gorilla Folk Films from the Cross River Headwaters
Over the summer of 2014, At Films worked with Louis Nkonyu and WCS Nigeria to begin co-producing a series of short films with and for local communities about the critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). In the fall of 2015, we received a Flagship Species Fund Grant from Fauna & Flora International, allowing us to expand this work to Cameroon. Over the next few months, we continued the series with the help of ERuDeF.
Our goal with this project was not just to create films sharing local stories, but to train a local film team to continue making movies once we left. Over three months we trained two local conservationist-journalists, Bertrand Ndimuh Shancho & Immaculate Mkong. With the help of the grant, we left them with our filmmaking equipment and a few months of support. Over the Spring and Summer of 2015 they made two more films to complete the series.
We are now in the distribution phase of the project. Louis Nkonyu won a small grant for a projector from Idea Wild. He will begin sharing the films around Cross River, Nigeria. One film, Nzhu Jimangemi, won the Jean Rouch award from the Society of Visual Anthropologists. We presented it in November of 2015 at their annual film festival with a Q&A.
In 2017, https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/indigenous-traditional-knowledge-revival-helps-conserve-great-apes/our project appeared in the Mongabay Series.
We further describe the project in the Gorilla Journal. APHA based his dissertation on this project. If you're interested in an over-exhaustive discussion of the motivation and methodology, please contact him for a copy: adam.hermans (at) colorado.edu