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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lancelot Imasuen's World Press Conference on "Invasion 1897" Marks the Centenary of Oba Ovonramwen's Death in 1914


 Lancelot Imasuen directing "Invasion 1897".

Lancelot Imasuen had a world press conference Tuesday evening of January 14, 2014, on his historical epic film "Invasion 1897" and also to mark the Centenary of the death of Omo N’oba Ovonramwen in exile in Calabar on January 14, 1914, which is also the same month of the epoch of modern Nigeria by the amalgamation of the Lagos Colony, Southern and Northern protectorates on Jan 1, 1914.



The press conference held at his ICESLIDES Studios in Surulere, Lagos, attracted notable stakeholders in Nollywood, including his co-producer Famous Otakponmwen, celebrated Nollywood directors Chico Ejiro, Zik Zulu Okafor, the President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Fidelis Duler, Founder/CEO of Abuja International Film Festival, Chinedu Ikedieze, MFR, popularly known as "Aki" in Nollywood movies, Hope Obioma Opara, President of Eko International Film Festival, Cyprian Orakpo, the Managing Director (CEO) of Transerve Disc Technologies Limited and his wife; Shaibu Husseini, Nigeria's leading film critic and Chair of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) College of Screeners, Victor Akande, Group Entertainment Editor at The Nation Newspaper and Benjamin Njoku of the Vanguard Newspaper who anchored the press conference.

The World Press Conference also highlighted the continuity of the cultural heritage of the classic Bronze Art of the Benin Kingdom and historical legacy of the great Benin Empire (1440–1897).
Imasuen answered questions after the screening of clips of the making of "Invasion 1897".
Both Shaibu Husseini and Zik Zulu Okafor commended the courage and faith of the director to make such a challenging historical film and said "Invasion 1897" is more than a story of the sacking of the Benin Kingdom by the colonial British Empire, but the fall of the last African empire. Imasuen said if Benin Kingdom had not fallen, the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 would not have happened. And his epic would be a cultural movement for the restoration of the great bronze artworks of Benin and the reparation for the colonial siege and pillage of the Benin Kingdom.
In 1999, the African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission called for "the West" to pay $777 trillion to Africa within five years., but the western powers have ignored the calls for reparations.

The cost of making "Invasion 1897"

“Ovonramwen Nogbaisi”,
Ola Rotimi’s “Ovonramwen Nogbaisi”Clips of the making of the epic film were shown to the audience and Imasuen answered questions from journalists.
Benjamin Njoku
Benjamin NjokBoth Shaibu Husseini,  restoration of the looted priceless ancient artifacts of the Benin kingdom, including the famous commemorative head and pendant of ivory mask representing Queen Idia (from court of Benin, 16th century) who was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. The commemorative head is at the British Museum, while the pendant is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.
When the CNN reported that Lancelot Imasuen was working on a $2 million film called "Invasion 1987" was in 2012 and since then, the production has gulped more millions of dollars.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/23/showbiz/nollywood-nigeria-audience-popularity/index.html?iref=allsearch

"Invasion 1897" has an international cast, including famous British actors Rudolph Walker and Charles "Chucky" Venn and the top Nigerian actors include Charles Inojie, Paul Obazele, Segun arinze, Mike Omoriegbe as Oba Ovonrawmen and the late Justus Esiri in a cameo role.

Real Benin bronze artworks have to be made for the film and in fact a complete boat made of bronze was made. Moreover, accommodation and welfare of the cast and crew for weeks and months will gulp a lot of money for a large cast of over 1500 people and the leading local and foreign actors are not going to collect peanuts.

The first major dramatization of the Omo N’oba Ovonramwen was by the great Nigerian playwright, the late Prof. Ola Rotimi, whose epic Ovonramwen Nogbaisi was performed in 1971 and published in 1974 and became a popular study for both pupils of secondary schools and students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria as part of the syllabus for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and academic theses. The second major drama was Prof. Ahmed Yerima's Trials of Oba Ovonramwen which had a grand command performance in 1997, with the presence of the great grandchild of Ovonramwen, Solomon Uku Apolopolo Oba Ereduwa 1 and the British High Commissioner.

Invasion 1897, the Fall of the Last African Empire



"Invasion 1897" is an epic film based on the invasion of the Benin Kingdom by the British Empire in 1897 and looting the priceless ancient artifacts of the Benin kingdom, including the famous commemorative head and pendant of ivory mask representing Queen Idia (from court of Benin, 16th century) who was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. The commemorative head is at the British Museum, while the pendant is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.

Did you know that five years before the death of Omo n’Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, the British Consul-General Moor, who captured, deposed and sent him on exile in Calabar committed suicide in Barnes, Middlesex in 1909. The great Ovonramwen must have cursed him for no one commits such a great sacrilege and escapes the wrath of the Benin Kingdom.

The film has been endorsed by the Benin monarch, Oba Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopolo Erediauwa 1, who also honoured Lancelot Imasuen with the 2013 Oba Erediauwa Excellence Award.
The world premiere of "Invasion 1897" will take place on October 1, 2014..


 Lancelot Imasuen's father receiving the 2013 Oba Erediauwa Excellence Award on behalf of his illustrious son at the royal ceremony in the Oba's Palace on Saturday, December 28, 2013.

Lancelot Imasuen appreciates the support of Senator Daisy Danjuma, South Atlantic Petroleum Limited and Capt (Dr.) Hosa Okunbor, the Chairman of FEVA TV in Toronto, Canada and his managers, J2konsult in the UK.


~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima.


 
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