By Moco McCaulay
In a nation that boasts Africa’s first democratically-elected female president, it probably wouldn’t be such a stretch if one were to assume that women had already traversed the pinnacle of every profession, and that the Presidency was after all, that final prize that had eluded them until Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President of Liberia in 2005.
But that apparently is not the case. At least, not in the fledgling Liberian movie landscape that is emerging as Liberians now try to make an imprint in the pulsating African movie kaleidoscope that is beaming across the continent and the world, after their country’s devastating 14-year civil war.
With Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry is known, now the second largest film industry in the world in terms of number of films produced annually, filmmaking has evolved as a viable medium for Africans to tell their own stories and share them with the world.
Sadly, during Nollywood’s exponential growth in the 1990s, for the most part, the only portrayal of Liberia on film was consigned to mesmeric war documentaries and newsreels showing drugged up child soldiers with AK-47’s almost the length of their bodies, decaying bodies littered on the streets for dogs to feast on, and clips of rebel fighters boasting about their sadistic acts of cannibalism.
But the tragic story of the Liberian Civil War is most certainly not the only one that Liberians want to be known for enacting on film. Therefore, notwithstanding being left behind as Nigerian and other African filmmakers made headways in the film industry, up-and-coming Liberian film producers are determined to carve a place for themselves on Africa’s pulsating film stage.