In today’s edition of Art and Culture, the columnist conducted an exclusive interview with a film producer at his office in Kanifing. Que: Introduce yourself to our readers? Ans: My name is Omar Leigh, I am a Fula by tribe and a Gambian by nationality. I was born on the 6 March, 1986 in Ndungu Kebbeh, North Bank Region of the Gambia. I attended the Ndungu Kebbeh Basic Cycle School and later proceeded to Continue my High School Education in Kanifing. I have undergone series of theoretical and practical training on professional audio-visual production and I have represented the Gambia abroad in festivals. I am a Director and Producer of films and documentaries and I am also the founder and CEO of the Tedungal Multimedia Company in the Gambia. Que: How long have you been in the film Industry? Ans: I have been in the film industry for about eight (8) years now. Que: What motivated you into filmmaking? Ans: Well, since I was a child I had a passion for filmmaking. Like what the popular motivational speaker in the United States of America called Less Brown says, that “find a need in life that your conscience can never allow you to rest for”. And he also says that “always prepare yourself for an opportunity that has not yet arrived, than to wait for an opportunity to arrive when you are not prepared for it”. So, I chose my need in life which is filmmaking, mainly to contribute to the socio-economic growth and expansion of the Gambia through filmmaking and I am well prepared for it. Que: Have you received any professional training? Ans: Oh yes, my first professional training was in Abijan, Ivory Coast where I attended the 14 edition of Clap Ivoire, 2014 film festival which was attended by many young. West African filmmakers. I was also part of the Motion Picture Art Certificate (MPAC) training that was organized by UNESCO and the National Center for Art and Culture (NCAC) in the Gambia 2014-2015. I have also done some online training on modern cinematography which is quite essential to my career as a filmmaker. Que: How many films have you produced? Ans: Ihave produced many films and documentaries here in the Gambia, notable ones are: ‘Kanlasi’ which promotes traditional wrestling in the Gambia, ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ which was produced in 2013 which I was given an award in Los Angeles, U.S.A as the best documentary film on Agricultural promotion in Africa and I am currently working on a fiction film known as ‘Raba-Raba’ (Hustling),am also a co-producer on one of Africa’s finest stories, entitled ‘The Young Africans’ Dream’ with a Sierra Leonean production company known as the Patriotic Entertainment Production, the theme is to promote youths entrepreneurial skills in the Gambia and Sierra Leone. Que: What was your best produced movie and your role in that movie? Ans: In the meantime, my best produced movie is ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ and I am also the Director of the film. Que: You recently completed the MPAC twelve weeks intensive training course, can you explain how the knowledge acquired there can boost your filmmaking skills? Ans: Oh yeah, the MPAC training is one of the best, if not the best audio-visual training exercise I have ever been part of so far. It oils my wheel and broadened my knowledge in professional filmmaking and documentary production at both national and international levels. It was a unique cinematic exercise that has helped not only me but also all other young filmmakers who were part of the programme. In fact, it was just after the training that a Sierra Leonean filmmaker contacted me that he wanted us to do a joint production on promoting youth entrepreneurship. The training is indeed a huge blessing to all Gambian aspiring filmmakers. Que: What kind of films do we expect to watch produced by you after your MPAC training exercise and what impact will it have on the Gambian society? Ans: Well, like I mentioned earlier, I am working on different projects and one of which is the movie I am co-producing with a Sierra Leonean based filmmaker titled, ‘The young Africans Dream’ which is principally geared towards promoting entrepreneurship among young Gambians and make them self reliant in society. Apart from the ‘Young Africans’ Dream’ project, my production company is walking on one of Gambia’s finest docudrama, titled, My story’ which discourages child marriages and promote the girl child education in the Gambia and other lucrative projects that are on the pipeline, just wait and see. Biography of Tedungal Multimedia: Tedungal Multimedia is a media outlet that specializes in different aspects of media work, ranging from film production, documentaries, advertisements, music clips and other audio-visual production for companies, organizations, institutions and government departments. They have produced dramas and documentaries geared towards sensitizing the people on national issues of concern and other social problems. Their zeal and enthusiasm has become our major driving force to operate an entity with highly skilled professionals. The media outlet also operates an audio recording studio which serves as a training ground for young film makers and musicians. We have produced film clips and music videos for young artists in the Gambia and neighboring countries (Senegal and Nigeria). Tedungal Multimedia has won an international award from Universal Multicultural film Festival in Los Angeles, USA for the video documentary on ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ produced on behalf of the National Alliance for Food Security Gambia (NAFSG) and Activista The Gambia, which is Action Aid’s network of young people. We have now come-up with more arduous and innovative activities that earned us more international recognition. Thus, we’ve been invited to attend the 14th edition of CALP IVOIRE which is ECOWAS Film Festival held in Cote D’Ivoire from 1-5 September, 2014. Furthermore, Tedungal has produced academic video documentaries for the University of The Gambia Socio-historical Fact-finders on the History of Kombo, Ruins of Kansala (Kaabu Empire) and the History of Fishing Industry in The Gambia. All these documentaries are being used at Upsola University in Sweden.
- Our other works include:
- Video production for The Gambia Armed Forces (Music Band);
- The Gambia Ports Authority;
- Video coverage for RTS 1;
- Drama sensitization in Wolof;
- Short film on the life of a young man struggling for his survival;
- Video advertisement for Gamstar Insurance Company;
- Video advertisement for Timeless and other small business enterprises.