GRANTING: Victor Viyuoh, from Here to Eternity  

GFI grantee Victor Viyuoh conquers uncountable production delays, three crashed vans and one successful Kickstarter campaign to live up to the title he earned nearly ten years ago

Photo: Film Independent

In 2003, Victor Viyuoh, a young director born and raised in Cameroon, was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Indie Film. He had just completed his first short film, MBOUTOUKOU, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, screened at  the International Film Festival Rotterdam and received a Competition Award for best narrative short at the SXSW Film Festival.

It sounded like the beginning of a steadily rising career, but early success didn’t mean Victor would be free of setbacks—far from it, in fact. Between shipping misadventures, unfortunate climate changes and uncanny bad luck with production vehicles, the filming of his first feature, NINAH’S DOWRY, seemed doomed to begin with (Victor’s account of the process is the stuff nightmares are made of).

Click here to watch the NINAH'S DOWRY trailer!

There were breaks in the clouds—including a GFI grant in the Spring of 2010—but not necessarily a light at the end of the tunnel. Five years into the project, Victor had exhausted his budget but still needed funds for post-production. Determined as ever, he launched a Kickstarter campaign in February, with the goal of raising the final $7,000 needed for completion.

Well, we’re pleased to announce that with the help of Victor’s persistence, encouraging video updates and 57 generous backers, Victor not only met his goal, but surpassed it! Victor will now be able to finish the sound and score, mix the movie, color correct and make a final master.

A big congratulations to the entire cast and crew of NINAH’S DOWRY—here’s to hard work, determination and a little (sometimes very little) luck!

Want to know more? See below for an excerpt from Victor’s interview with Film Independent or read the entire interview here!

When did you first know you wanted to make films? What was your first inspiration?
It all goes back to my first movie memory.  I was sitting on my father’s laps in Potokri Cinema, in then Victoria, and watching a close up of a cowboy riding a horse. It’s still my best memory because my father passed away soon after that and we moved to the village. In order to continue watching movies, I raised chickens, which I sold to pay my way to town and catch the greatest $1 movies of our time – Hong Kong and Bollywood flicks. I get goose bumps thinking about Disco DancerMaitre de BlackstoneKurata and the great Rekha! I never knew one could study filmmaking until I ran into the Screenwriting section while buying Electrical Engineering textbooks at the University bookstore. I was shocked. People could actually get credit for writing! After enrolling in my first writing class, I knew it was just a matter of time before I switched majors.  I had been writing on my own since I was 13. Samples of my short stories got me admitted with a James Michener scholarship to the graduate Creative Writing program at the University of Miami.  While there I took film courses that helped secure my admission to the USC graduate film school.

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