“One of the great advantages of the internet is that it can circumvent censorship,” said Buni TV CEO Marie Lora-Mungai. “Buni TV wants to play a role in fostering and supporting the free flow of ideas in Africa. When we learned that Jean-Pierre was not able to screen THE PRESIDENT in Cameroon, we felt it was our responsibility to help this important film reach its audience.”
Bekolo has produced genre-busting material such as his 2005 film LES SAIGNANTES, a sci-fi political satire about two high-class vampire prostitutes using their sexuality to expose – and kill – corrupt politicians, distinguishing himself as one of Africa’s boldest and most unconventional filmmakers,
With THE PRESIDENT, which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July, Bekolo touches on one of Africa’s remaining political taboos: what does the failing health of the continent’s few remaining dictators-for-life mean for their country?
Besides Biya, who reportedly spends more than half the year outside Cameroon, other African presidents regularly missing in action include Zambia’s Michael Sata, who is rumored to be in India or London for treatment, and Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos, who simply cannot be located at all.
Last year, Ethiopia’s premier Meles Zenawi died of an undisclosed illness in a hospital in Brussels, after disappearing from the public eye for two months. In 2010, Nigeria found itself in political limbo after President Umaru Yar’Adua’s death. Ghana’s John Atta Mills passed away from cancer despite his party’s numerous denials that he was even sick. In April last year, the death of Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika was hidden from the public by those in the government trying to block current leader Joyce Banda from taking power. And then there is Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who at 89 years old makes frequent trips to Singapore for “normal eye check-ups” and refuses to discuss his health.
THE PRESIDENT will be available for free at www.buni.tv for a week starting October 12, and later re-released under the platform’s upcoming subscription service. Viewers from across Africa and the world will be able to stream the film from their computers or internet-enabled smartphones or tablets.