A Dutch-Gambian documentary dubbed “Welcome to the Smiling Coast: Living in The Gambia Ghetto, will be premiere in The Gambia today, Thursday 6th October at Coco Ocean Resort and Spa. The film is the first feature length documentary made by a Dutch film, Duo Bas Ackermann (director) and Emiel Martens (producer) in collaboration with The Gambian filmmaker and the Chief Executive Officer of State of Mic Multimedia, Alhagie Manka.
The film had its world premiered at the Pan African Film Festival, the largest black film festival in the United States, earlier this year and will now be screened for the first-time in The Gambia.
‘Welcome to the Smiling Coast’ is about the daily lives of fifteen Gambian youngsters, who are struggling to make ends meet in the tourism industry. The luxury enjoyed by the tourists often stands in sharp contrast with the immobility experienced by the local people, who often reside in poor neighborhoods, few steps away from the tourist hotels and beaches.
Duo Bas Ackermann, said the idea of the film was conceived about eight years ago, when he was in The Gambia setting up State of Mic, an audio-visual center for youngsters with the aim to train them as media professionals.
“Some of them have worked as crew members on ‘Welcome to the Smiling Coast’, such as Alhagie, who is now one of the leading producers in the country.”
Emiel Martens stated that in times of much negative imaging, particularly around the refugee crisis, they try to give the film a more humane and positive face of Africa and Africans. “We are very honored that our film will be shown right here in The Gambia, where the film was shot.”
The film, he further stated, will be play at various film festivals across the globe. “In October it will be part of the Cine Pobre Film Festival in Mexico, a film festival for the best self-funded films; the Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival in the Netherlands and the Lusaka International Film & Music Festival in Zambia and in November; the film will be part of the Mallorca International Film Festival.” he said.
by Omar Wally