“Handing Down Time – Cameroon”: At Kenya International Film Festival

Florence Ayisi (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


“Handing Down Time” forms part of a programme of practice-based research with a wider agenda to redefine and counter cultural misrepresentations of Africa through creative documentary film practice. It is about continuity, change and a journey of awakening. The film highlights affirmative aspects of indigenous cultures defining the cultural diversity of Cameroon, a country often referred to as ‘Africa in miniature’.

Research Imperatives
“Handing Down Time” aimed to observe and frame aspects of oral tradition within the filmic space. The film investigates how such filmic framings inform and connect notions of ‘homeland’ and belonging from the perspective of an artist situated in the Diaspora. An underlying question is whether these images provide a faithful window to audiences in a global context of transnational discourses where ideas about globalisation and migration are underpinned by nostalgia for connecting to the homeland.

Project methods
The research uses documentary film as a mode of inquiry to present a portrait of the varied aspects of intangible cultural heritage and living traditions within Cameroon’s diverse cultures. The research asks whether such a social and cultural document can offer new ways of imagining the nuances of orality in traditional African cultures? Traditional African cultures are usually orally composed and transmitted. Documenting the oral tradition on film provides a locus for collective and social memory, history and identity, offering a strong sense of visibility as well as preserving important aspects of the living cultures that are intangible and ephemeral in nature.

The research strategy was to construct an anthology of the different cultures held together by an overarching oral narrative structure by griots - traditional storytellers, poets, praise singers and musicians. This strategy was used in order to experiment with mise-en-scène, montage and self-referential storytelling strategies such as mise-en-abyme on an aesthetic and epistemological level.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputDVD
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Cameroon
  • documentary film practice
  • oral tradition


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