Showing posts with label Nollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nollywood. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are Del-York International and the New York Film Academy not ripping off Ignorant Nigerians?

Are Del-York International and the New York Film Academy not ripping off Ignorant Nigerians?

It’s prohibitively expensive, even though we do need the training. Give us half that price and we’ll get the same kind of specialized resource persons from Asia to provide the same training.
~ Prof. Femi Shaka of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Port-Harcourt in Nigeria.

The nascent popularity of Nollywood, the Nigerian digital film industry has attracted global attention since a UNESCO Report rated it the second largest movie industry in the world after the United States of America and ahead of India’s Bollywood.

The largely homegrown industry has generated millions of naira and created thousands of jobs from Idumota in Lagos to Iweka in Onitsha and the environs in Eastern Nigeria where most of the producers and marketers hail from.

Over 80 percent of the movies are home videos of what would be rated as B-movies and slapstick comedies of typical Nigerian stories from both factual and fictional experiences in Africa’s most populous nation. These very low budget and hurriedly produced melodramatic and romantic thrillers of African juju, corrupt lifestyles and dysfunctional relationships between singles and married couples have become celebrated as Nollywood, the African Magic on cable TV, viewing centres, cinemas and circulated by vendors and incorrigible pirates all over Africa and overseas. Nollywood is the child of circumstance of the never-say-die Nigerian genius.

The low quality of the home videos has made them the laughing stock of Hollywood, but film scholars and sociologists have taken up the challenges of Nollywood as an important development in contemporary African culture and entertainment. To address the problems of the poor quality and unprofessionalism, many local practitioners and stakeholders have launched various film training centres in Lagos, Abuja and other regions, but many of them are opportunists who are ignorant of the availability of seasoned Nigerian professionals and scholars who have been educated and trained in different world class film schools in America, Europe and Asia. Many of them have been teaching at the National Film Institute of the Nigerian Film Corporation for decades.

The National Film Institute has produced outstanding and international award winning filmmakers who have competed with the best in the world and the school fees are in no way prohibitive.

The introduction of the short term training workshops of the popular New York Film Academy (NYFA) by Linus Idahosa’s Del-York International is good and laudable, but the tuition fees are too exorbitant for the average Nigerian in a country where the government is still haggling over the payment of a miserly monthly minimum wage of N18, 000 only and where over 75 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.

How many Nigerians can afford the $5000 or $3500 for only a four-week film training workshop that Del-York International is charging each person?
No private university in Nigeria even charges up to $3500 tuition fee for a whole term!
Why is Del-York International charging US dollars in Nigeria?

The following is the tuition fee for the same four-week workshop at the New York Film Academy.

September 12, 2011 • October 3, 2011 • October 24, 2011 • January 3, 2012 • February 6, 2012
TUITION: $ 3,150 (USD)

Only rich Nigerians can afford to pay such exorbitant tuition fees for only four weeks training.

Yes, the New York Film Academy can charge such an amount in the US and other rich countries in Europe and Asia where majority of the populations are very comfortable and people earn better wages and the professionals earn more money. But you cannot charge such thousands of dollars monthly in a miserable poor country like Nigeria.

“It’s prohibitively expensive, even though we do need the training. Give us half that price and we’ll get the same kind of specialized resource persons from Asia to provide the same training,” said Prof. Femi Shaka of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Port-Harcourt in Nigeria.

There are enough Nigerian resource persons who are as qualified and efficient as the American tutors from the New York Film Academy.

The exploitation of ignorant people is common and big business where majority of the population fail to get information to find out the facts about products and services as available and affordable to them.

The more people are informed, the more educated and enlightened they would be.
There are hundreds of equally good and world class film schools in the United States where the tuition fees are just a quarter of what the Del-York International and New York Film Academy are charging in Nigeria.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Tuesday August 16, 2011.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nollywood producer arrested for sexual abuse of actresses at audition

A Nollywood movie poster.

Nollywood producer arrested for sex abuse of actresses at audition

A popular Nollywood producer (names withheld) and a prominent member of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) has been arrested after he was caught pants dawn stripping young actresses naked at his audition for a new movie last week in Surulere, Lagos.

Many registered members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and non guild members came for the audition at a residence opposite the popular Nollywood rendezvous Winnis Hotel. The producer of Locomotive productions said only actresses were needed. But other male actors decided to hang around whilst the audition was going on before the owner of the venue raised an alarm that the actresses were being sexually abused in one of the rooms. She said she saw one of the young actresses totally stripped and two others were giving blow-job to two members of the casting crew. The male actors rushed into the house and caught the popular producer and two other men engaged in oral sex with two actresses! They blew the whistle and the authorities soon arrived and arrested the producer and his accomplices.
Were they auditioning for a porn home video?

Cossy Orjiakor, a Nollywood sex symbol has once complained of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment of desperate young actresses is common in Nollywood, but many popular actors and producers have denied allegations of sexual abuse.

A popular Nollywood actress Alaba Olatunde was once quoted in an interview with Bayo Adeboye that more than 90 percent of Nollywood actresses have slept with producers or marketers.

“Yes, I was sexually harassed several times; I was abused many times so much so that I even thought I was in the wrong profession. But I was determined not to quit, “ Alaba said in the interview posted on the Modern Ghana online news magazine from a Nollywood Exclusive published by on Sun, 12 Dec 2010.

“But frankly, more than 90 per cent of them would have slept with producers or marketers before getting to where they are today. Sexual harassment is very common in the industry and it takes only the grace of God for you to survive without it, “she added.

Pioneer Nollywood actor and producer Dozie Eboh confirmed the occurrences of sexual harassment in Nollywood in a recent Saturday Punch interview with Ademola Olonilua published on Saturday August 13, 2011.

“Yes, I have had the experience. We have those experiences. There was a time I did an auditioning and after, a girl came to my office to seduce me. You should be a man and know what you want. We do suffer sexual harassment. In fact, producers suffer sexual harassment from women than women suffer from producers,” said Dozie Eboh.

Pornography is a criminal offense in Nigeria and the National Film and Video Censors Board, the industry regulatory body checks the portrayal of violence, crimes, sex and pornography, vulgarity and other forms of obscenity in Nigerian and foreign movies before broadcast.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Popular Nigerian Actor Sam Loco Dies on Location

Sam Loco Efe

The famous Nollywood actor, Sam Loco Efe has been reported dead in his hotel room Sunday on location in Owerri, Imo State.

He is regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time in Nigeria since he started acting in the early 1960s. He excelled in all the stages of his acting career in theatre, television and cinema. And he was known for acting excellently in English and the major local dialects in the most populous country in Africa, receiving many awards over the decades.

May his soul rest in peace.

The following is the biography of Sam Loco Efe from Edo World

Sam Loco Efe is one of the most talented actors of contemporary Nigerian theatre. He has for many years distinguished himself as a rare talent for both Television (TV) and stage drama. I am Sam Loco from Benin in Edo State. Many people misplace my surname for a Delta man. Efe is a Benin name although the Urhobo people popularized it. Efe means Wealth in Benin as it also means in Urhobo but it means Cloth in Ibo. My surname is fully pronounced "Efeeimwonkiyeke", meaning ‘wealth has no time limit.’ One can be wealthy at 90 when people must have lost hope. What actually happened was that my grandmother was having only female children and after so many years, she gave birth to my father at an old age and when he arrived, the name given to him is "you see now my wealth has finally arrived." I later inherited this from my father as I was the last of my parents’ children and the only male child.

The beginning
I was born here in Enugu, but I spent my childhood in Abakaliki and a modest attempt at becoming an actor was what triggered my passion for the stage. There was a time, Government College, Umuahia came to Abakaliki with a production. We all got so excited and I said to myself that if these men can stay on stage before a large audience and render their lines without looking into any book or script, there must be something magical about it.

A few bold ones among us asked them some questions after the production and they said it was a matter of training and perseverance. So, when they left, I attempted a play that was larger than our collegiate level. I decided to produce William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I acted Caesar and also directed it without any formal training.

A different Ceasar
Finally, when my own Julius Ceasar was ready, I registered it for the provincial festival of arts. I was aware that other contestants came from institutions of higher learning like the Teachers Training Colleges. We participated as primary school pupils and took the last position in the competition but I was adjudged the best actor.

We were deeply influenced by the Roman films such that we presented how Caesar was stabbed by Brutus severally instead of one single fatal stab. We ended ours with a sword fight between Caesar and Brutus which lasted for about 20 minutes, Before Caesar eventually died, all the judges were laughing throughout the fight because they knew that we have gone beyond what Shakespeare wrote. From that point, I never looked back; having been launched into the theatre since 1960.

Going to school in the East then was tough. It was not like the Western Region where students got everything free. It was tough for us, so my nephew and I alternated street trading on a yearly basis to enable the other acquire education. But because of the staccato arrangement, I must confess that I had to attend so many primary schools.

I was a very good footballer and so I went to almost ten secondary schools playing football and getting scholarships here and there and I was stubborn as well. As I was being admitted into one, I was being expelled from another.

I would say that my popularity started in Benin around 1968 because when I arrived there, I formed the Overamwem National Theatre Group (ONTG). My group represented Mid-West (Area 2 division) in most National Arts festivals and we were into so many other things. I’ve already made my name before getting into the University of Ibadan. I just wanted to go and receive more training. My group won a lot of laurels and in 1969, I joined Michelin at Ijora and just as I’ve have always had it in schools, I was sacked from Michelin and I moved to Dunlop.

Hotel De Jordan
I was still in Dunlop when Hotel De Jordan series started (1970). I played one of the lead characters called Picado Suberu. From there, I was drafted into playing the only Ibo (Chief Ukata Biribiri) character in the play . Hotel De Jordan was never recorded, it was a live show and if we made mistakes, it would go into to the homes directly.

At that time, some few minutes before we take off, people would troop to NTA Benin to see us Live, while others stay glued to their television sets. Even when some Germans came to see us on set, they were baffled by the production of the serial. I remember the day they increased our fees to N15 - there was great joy among the cast. Hotel De Jordan was totally creative.

Village Headmaster Vs Hotel De Jordan
The powers that be did not allow Hotel De Jordan to enjoy national airtime because they felt it would open the eyes of the ordinary citizens. They kept promising us that it would go network and that promise lasted until the production was rested.

The play had entertainment value and all that. Even people on transit through Benin that saw the play wondered why it was not on the network belt of the NTA. But that is Nigeria because those who created their own programmes did not want other programmes to compete with theirs.

Lead role in Langbodo, FESTAC ’77
There was an order by the federal government that all the states of the federation should bring their best actors to Ibadan for audition. I was not a staff of the then Bendel Art Council, but I received an invitation. However, on the day we were to make the trip, I got to the council’s office and one of them started calling names. I listened but I did not hear my name. So, I approached the man and lodged my complaint. He replied, " Oga abi you no see say your name no dey inside?".

The then Director of the Bendel Art Council, Aig Imoru saw me storming out and asked me what was going on. I showed him the the letter they sent to me and asked him why my name was dropped.

The man did not offer any tangible explanation. Fortunately, two of the people whose names were in the list did not show up, so the director said to me, " Sam Loco take your load in and find a seat." He therefore made a philosophical statement, which I would never forget as long as I live. He said, " this is a rejected stone but he will surprise you." We went to Ibadan and returned. Thereafter, we received a formal letter to report to camp.

Picking a role in Langbodo
The personalities and the quality of actors in the camp were so intimidating. In the likes of Jimi Solanke, Femi Osofisan (Now Professor), Dr. Seinde Arigbede among others. So, I was on the look out for a role in which I would have few competitors. First, I started with the role of the Obong of Calabar. I read the lines on the first day and the Director was impressed. But during the second and final reading, I was told that I hadn’t the nuances of the Efiks. So, I lost the role.
I moved on to try the role of the Ostrich, which had only four lines. I read the script well but I was told that my neck was too stiff. I did not know that a small boy in Hotel De Jordan got that role. As soon as I lost the role, members of the Bendel Art Council were sarcastically re-echoing what their Oga said about me earlier. "See the man wey oga say na rejected stone oh (he is been rejected up and down)." So, I went to play the role of a tree but I was not flexible enough. After that, I went for beads making. We were making beads and from time to time, if any Artiste failed to show up, Professor Adelugba would shout, " Sam Loco, go and read those lines. At a point, he started calling me Roving Ambassador. One day, Jimi Solanke failed to show up. While I was busy making beads, I was called upon to read out the part which I did.

Trouble in Langbodo
Out of the seven lead characters in the play six of them came from the old Bendel State. Then others started grumbling and protesting aloud. Some people felt that the best way to end the crisis was to drop Sam Loco. The production team went and brought somebody back from his study leave in England to play Akarogun (the role I won by merit). They toiled all night to make him play the role but at the end, he kept on fumbling and wobbling. John Ikwere asked sarcastically, if there is any other person from Germany?" I beg let Sam Loco play his role. That is how I ended up playing the role, which almost cost me my life. On the night of the performance I was attacked spiritually I would prefer to describe it as slightly. My legs suddenly swelled up. I couldn’t even perform but late Wale Ogunyemi who wrote the script threatened that he would withdraw his script if I did not play that role.
Competition for roles
Remember that all the states of the federation were represented. The drama turned out to be the best drama entry for FESTAC. Secondly, there were more players than positions. it was like having ten Okocha’s for a match, yet only one of them will wear jersey number 10. Nevertheless, it was a nice family and it was almost impossible to uncover the bad eggs in the camp. We thank God nobody died in camp.

Obasanjo did not watch Langbodo live
Nigeria had just two major entries for the Performative Arts in FESTAC. There was a dance, titled Children of Paradise, and Langbodo. OBJ as the Head of State was at the performance of the Dance entry. But as the story went then, at a particular point we learnt that he hissed and walked out. Remember that many African countries came with fantastic dances, but wanted to reflect our cultural diversity and that was what killed the entry. At the end of the day, it was like we had too many ingredients for one soup. So, Obasanjo walked out midway into the performance. So, when he was told that Nigeria was presenting a play, the ghost of the Children of Paradise was still haunting him, so he did not come to see Langbodo. But when he learnt about good impressions generated by the play; even among the Heads of States in attendance, he (OBJ) later came to visit us at our FESTAC Town camp and ordered the NTA to air the play every morning for the duration of the festival.

Why the Langbodo artistes ended up great
The Langbodo artistes are latent world beaters in their individual rights. The play became a medium through, which most of them were able to let out the steam in them and thereafter exploded. The same set of artistes hit the screen with Nigeria’s first serial drama on television Winds Against My Soul. Langbodo changed the focus and attitude of many people that took part in it. Today, many of those people are either alive and waxing stronger or are dead but left indelible marks behind.

Between the stage and screen
Basically, I am a one-man riot squad. Whatever I set my mind on I can accomplish. I have mastered the art of taking one step first and when the stream is not too wide then I take another step. My earlier training whether formal or informal was on the stage. The transition wasn’t what I would describe as difficult. When people were trying to transit from stage to the tube, some found it difficult because the demand was that you should be better off on stage physically but on tube, you need some mental inputs and all that. I was always involved in WNTV programmes. So, I started looking at these things as no more challenges but excitements you know.

Home video
Cinema culture was coming into Nigeria gradually but many people did not realize it. I got to know this long ago. Somehow, I knew that movies would soon overthrow live theatre. I got to know that in Europe that was already happening and that only the true lovers of live theatre are sustaining it.
I took part in some of the first few Nigerian movies shot on celluloid. When the explosion took place I was already home and dry. I can say that I am a stage and screen artiste to the core and my interests had never clashed.

Sam Loco’s influence
I am always pleasantly surprised whenever I read some of the interviews of our young actors and many of them that I have not even met attribute their rise to my influence, I feel so fulfilled knowing that I have influenced so many people so positively.

Challenges in Nollywood
I can say that the movie industry began with genuine theatre and movie people. As soon as things started getting better, charlatans found their ways into it. In their legion now there are a mixture of purpose, some are in Nollywood not because of the urge to be a Thespian nor the willingness to learn but I believe that as time goes on, we shall flush such people out. This is a house I helped to build and it would be madness for me to allow people with no history to rubbish the much that has been achieved.

Marketers and some actors
I don’t buy the idea that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, I can agree half-way that he who pays the piper suggests the tune. If you dictate and I can’t play the exact tune, what then happens? So the marketers came in and started cornering the entire business to themselves by pumping in huge sums of money. When the elites or graduates came in with an alternative market, for four months, they produced four films and made some millions and suddenly became more Catholic than Pope. Before long, that experiment died. If they had succeeded with the alternative market there would have emerged a kind of healthy rivalry. After they failed, the trader-producer re-emerged full-force and now they are in full control and people are shouting. I will not just go and make a statement on the present problems because I want to be quoted as having said whatever I say. You see the marketers have the market, we have the tools, they don’t employ us, we employ ourselves. Nobody employs Sam Loco, no! They employ my services.

Parley with marketers
When I assumed the position of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, the first thing I set out to do was to establish contacts with the marketers and invite them to a family meeting. The issues involved, I did not spell out but they knew it. “First and foremost, let us realign that word, ‘ban.’ It is no ban because you cannot ban a creative mind. You can say, you want to discontinue their services to you.” We slated a meeting of the AGN for February but because of the various states’ elections it has been impossible for us to meet. You’d remember that the state elections generated a lot of heat that could have ruined the image of the AGN. I believe that before we conduct the national election we must have held the meeting. I believe that the meeting should bring to an end this ugly trend that has done anyone no good. We shall tell ourselves the home truth and if there is any aspect of our behaviours that is not good, I will apologize for that and if there is any on their part I will also demand for an apology on behalf of my members.

Story lines of Nigerian movies
I would not say that I am satisfied but I would rather say that I am happy with the progress made so far. Critics in Nigeria like to jump the gun. How old is Nollywood? We cannot deny that the story lines are getting better, even as we cannot deny that the performers are also helping to make things get better. However, there is a need for continued training by the stakeholders in the industry. But we shouldn’t deny that progress is been made.

Best paid job
I think Langbodo was my first truly well paid job. Being a national production we were well paid. I was being treated like an egg because I played the lead role. On screen, I think it’s my best paid job.

How come you never thought of remarrying? {Oct 2007}

My wives died. I owe them one small honour. My youngest child is about 24. I am not used to old women; and if I go and marry a girl of 24 who will be the same age with my last son, my last son might be tempted to ‘chase’ the girl. It does not pay me at all. There will be no intra or inter family respect any more. You don’t expect my first son, who will be older than my new wife, to call her madam. But as long as she is the wife in the house, she should be respected. So you see, there is nothing I can do unless I want to create explosive situations: your family would be sitting on a powder keg, which requires only a matchstick to it ablaze.

But I have married o. I have six wives. My six children are my wives.

So what is your vision like, what do we expect?

I have told you that I am going back to farming. I am going to be as successful as I am as an actor right there on the farm.

And remember there is a role for everyone. Instead of making up a young boy who is 30 to act the role of a 100-year-old man, I can act that role. Still, we must leave the stage when the ovation is loudest.

Where is home for you now? Is it Enugu or Onitsha or Benin?

I am an actor plenipotentiary. I am the most Nigerian actor. I don’t believe in segmentation. I am from Benin like I told you, but I am one of the few prophets who have not visited home much but who are known in their home.

If I had been younger, if I had thought about it when I was younger, I would have taken wives from all the tribes in the country.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dangerous Men is the first real Nigerian Action Thriller

Dangerous Men is the first real Nigerian Action Thriller

The premiere of Dangerous Men Sunday evening attracted a big crowd at the Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Gugu Michaels’ film has given us the first Nollywood action heroes George Davidson and Nigeria’s five times Kung Fu champion Leo U” Che who played the lead roles of Emmanuel and Samuel the two hit men brought together by unforeseen circumstances, but with a common mission to eliminate corrupt and evil men who are responsible for the widespread insecurity and poverty in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer.

The story is about Emmanuel an assassin who goes against the order of his contractor X and refuses to carry out a hit placed on Senator Kingston in contemporary Nigerian political power struggle in the 21st century.

Emmanuel in danger, is forced to take a homeless man Samuel he rescued from a gang and turn him into the perfect killer. The deadly duo forms an alliance with Kingston and go after X the very man that hired Emmanuel for the assassinate Kingston and leads to an ultimate clash between the new generation assassin Samuel and the veteran head of the organization of Assassins X.

Two thumbs up to the director Gugu Michaels and director of photography Frank Adekunle Macaulay for the excellent cinematography of Dangerous Men. The casting and artistic directors also did a great job in making the right choices of actors who really improved the standard of acting in typical Nollywood movies. M.J. Mathias, Stella Regis and Onyekachi Anyajike proved that they are going to excel in the new era of Nollywood.

The cast and crew on location.

The fighting scenes were well done and made the display of martial arts really credible and made the movie exciting and thrilling from the beginning to the end.

“Dangerous Men featured new faces and the discovery of these new actors is commendable for taking Nollywood to the next level and not recycling the overused and overrated Nollywood stars who cannot show us anything refreshing besides what we are bored of seeing in the past 17 years. Because, majority of the popular Nollywood stars are no longer playing the characters in the screenplays, but themselves,” said Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, the President of Eko International Film Festival and Publisher of Supple magazine after seeing the movie.

The producers should also be commended for the exceptional original score with the excellent incidental music for the various scenes and sequences of the well acted movie. But the screenplay would have been better if the writer did a comprehensive analysis and script development of the original story. It is really baffling that there was no single reference to any public reaction and news report on the shocking assassinations of top government officials in Nigeria! Big men don’t get killed in Nigeria without making headlines. Therefore, how can prominent public officers be assassinated without breaking news reports and no reactions from the authorities and security agencies. Nobody gets assassinated without causing panic in the country and no police reaction and investigation! These are glaring omissions noted by film critics and observers at the premiere.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Top News Reports

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Invocation and Eternal close the 2nd Eko International Film Festival

The international award winning film Eternal closed the second Eko International Film Festival in Lagos on Thursday July 14, 2011.

Thursday July 14, 2011.

The Invocation and Eternal close the 2nd Eko International Film Festival

Emmanuel Itier’s dialectical spiritual documentary The Invocation and Chike Ibekwe’s melodramatic metaphysical drama Eternal closed the second edition of the annual Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF) Thursday morning at the Silverbird Cinemas of the Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos.

International award winning documentaries, features and short films from Nigeria, Europe and the U.S. were screened from the opening last Saturday July 9 to the closing day on Thursday July 14. The free event attracted leading stakeholders in Nollywood, including top filmmakers, journalists, film critics and the public who had to come to the venue even in the downpour and flood of a very wet season in the coastal mega city of Nigeria, the hub of Africa’s first film industry rated as the second largest in the world by UNESCO.

The President of Eko International Film Festival, Mr. Hope Obioma Opara thanked the Silverbird Group for providing a very conducive venue at the Silverbird Galleria and promoting the event on Silverbird TV, Rhythm FM 93.7 and supporting his company Supple Communications Limited to organize a successful film festival. He also appreciated the morale support of the Nigerian press for the highly commendable news coverage of the event and promises that the third edition next year will be better with the cooperation and support of more participants and sponsors.

“Hopefully, we are going to have corporate sponsors for the third edition in 2012. In fact the preparation for the next one has already begun,” said Mr. Opara. He reemphasized that the mission of Eko International Film Festival is to promote the best interests of Nollywood and use the film festival to make Lagos State a major tourist destination in the world as the famous Cannes Film Festival is doing for France.

The Founder/Festival Director Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima appreciated the outstanding quality of the submitted films from both local and international filmmakers; notably Faruk Lasaki’s romantic thriller Changing Faces, Iara Lee’s socio-political documentary Cultures of Resistance, Emmanuel Itier’s intellectual and spiritual documentary The Invocation, Chike Ibekwe’s metaphysical drama Eternal, Joseph Ugochukwu Ubaka’s engaging urban crime thriller Lilies of the Ghetto and Kayode Ibisankale’s well researched documentary on the Yoruba’s Talking Drum Dundun.

“The enthusiasm of filmmakers to participate in Eko International Film Festival is our greatest encouragement, because what makes a successful film festival is the quality of the films. But, with corporate sponsors we would be able to screen more international award winning films next year and host the filmmakers,” said Michael Chima.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Eko International Film Festival presents World Premiere of "Direc-Toh"

The world premiere of Abba Makama's "Direc-Toh" the fastest Nigerian movie shot in one day comes up on Tuesday July 12, the third day of the 2nd Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF) at the Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos. The film will be screened at 10.30 am. The young Nigerian director is a graduate of New York University film school.

A Nigerian Film maker sets out to make a record as the fastest filmmaker on the Planet. Big Ben a.k.a the light speed champion tries shooting a feature film in one day and all hell breaks loose..

Written, Directed, Shot and Edited by Abba Makama.
Co Writer-Gabriel Ofor Okafor
Producers-Lani Makama, Benedict Aromeh, Abba Makama
Starring Benedict Aromeh, Dabis Christopher
Genre- Nolly Woody Allen, Comedy Satire, Afro Psycho Pseudo Hipster babble, Mockumentary
Format- HDV
Budget-All in the magic baby..
Release date. mid 2010.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Faruk Lasaki’s Nigerian premiere of Changing Faces at 2011 EKOIFF

Faruk Lasaki’s Nigerian premiere of Changing Faces at 2011 EKOIFF

The Nigerian premiere of Faruk Lasaki’s spiritual thriller "Changing Faces" will definitely thrill the audience at the second Eko International Film Festival at the Silverbird Galleria from July 9-14, 2011.

Faruk Lasaki is one of the ambitious filmmakers who are making Nigeria proud in the international arena by making movies that are quite different from the common Nollywood flicks. He is also an accomplished producer of award winning commercials and documentaries who got his first break with his 15 minutes short documentary "Scars" (CICATRIZES) that won him $20,000 at the É Tudo Verdade - Festival Internacional de Documentários in Brazil in 1998.

"Changing Faces" is a 92 minutes metaphysical romantic thriller on the transference of spirits through sex as ‘Two unlikely bedfellows share a night of passion’ and their lives were never the same again. The film parades an international cast of professional British and notable Nigerian actors and actresses Alex Lopez, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey and Ayo Mogaji.

"Changing Faces" was premiered at the Pavillion les Cinema Du Sud of the 61st Cannes Film Festival., featured in competition at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in 2009, Cairo International Film Festival in 2009. Black Diaspora International Film Festival of New York in 2008.

“Changing Faces” was the first Nigerian film to be dubbed into French and screened at FESPACO and Ecrans Noirs in 2009. And on the 3rd and 6th of August 2009, Canal France International (CFI) presented it as the first Nigerian feature film on it’s network and interviewed the director Faruk Lasaki.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lilies of the Ghetto selected for Eko International Film Festival

Ubaka Joseph Ugochukwu

The Nigerian Nouvelle Vague Cinema is the Cinema of the moment…says Ubaka Joseph Ugochukwu, whose award winning feature Lilies of the Ghetto is one of the notable Nigerian films expected to draw crowds at the second Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF) opening on Saturday July 9, at the prestigious Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos.

Scenes from "Lilies of the Ghetto"

Lilies of the Ghetto represents a new tendency among the Nigerian film industry and film directors who apart from Nollywood begun to develop a high quality cinema, accessible to a worldwide audience..

Now film professionals are gradually producing quality movies, despite the the financial challenges that are obstacle to certain projects and its bringing about the long expected change from what has been termed low quality movies to a cinema that will acceptance in the global film market.

The synopsis

Ijaloko and Johnnie from "Lilies of the Ghetto"

IJALOKO an ex-convict and a ghetto monster, abducts five kids from his neighborhood, JOHNNIE, SMALL, KONKOLO, FRYO and BOBO, he brainwash them in view of giving them a good life.

IJALOKO introduces them into using of hard-drugs thereby destroying their human conscience and making them menace to the society in order for him to achieve his selfish desires.

Johnnie from "Lilies of the Ghetto"

Five of these kids die one after the other at different occasion in a miserable ways except JOHNNIE the luckiest of them all.
Through LILY, Madam JET’S Daughter whom JOHNNIE is dating, JOHNNIE realizes the importance of education and good life.

JOHNNIE makes up his mind to quit gangsterism and return to school, but IJALOKO being the obstacle because of the vow that they’ve taken until death does them part.
JOHNNIE had no option but to kill IJALOKO in order for him to get a better life.

The director Ubaka Joseph Ugochukwu was born Born in Enugu, Nigeria. He studied political science at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. After his graduation he moved to Lagos – the heart of home video production in Nigeria. In 1999 he and another young Pan African filmmaker in Dakar, Senegal, created a legal film association called Filmi Gët, and they started to produce films.

Tayo Aderinokun's Closing Shot on Nollywood

In loving memory of Tayo Aderinokun.the MD/CE of the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc who passed on to eternal glory on Tuesday June 14, 2011, in a Hospital in London, U.K.

The Economics of Nigerian Film, Art and Business

~ by Tayo Aderinokun

The world has continued to marvel at how Nigerians "manufacture" and "fabricate" scores of movies in a week. It is reported that but for India, Nigeria produces more movies in quantitative terms than any other country in the world. As joint stakeholders in the development of our motherland, I hope that my presentation today on the "social economics" of the movie industry will provoke processes that could move the industry forward. In the course of this presentation, I will be inviting you to join me as we journey through the past, the present and the future of the Nigerian film industry. There is a saying that today is tomorrow’s yesterday, in other words, where we are today is a reflection of our past and a foreshadow of our future.
The size of our population and the diverse cultures within it combined with the raw talents that abound within Nigeria makes the phenomenal growth of the film industry inevitable.

It is heart-warming though to note that Nigerian movies already dominate TV screens all over West Africa and going even as far as Central and Southern Africa. There is also a Western dimension to this export market. According to the Filmmakers Cooperative of Nigeria, every film in Nigeria has a potential audience of 15 million people within the country and about 5 million outside. These statistics may be somewhat conservative considering that half of West Africa’s 250 million people are Nigerians and according to the World Bank, slightly over 7 million Nigerians are scattered around the world, most of them in the developed economies. There is a school of thought that talks about the rebirth of the film culture in Nigeria. They claim that like in a horror movie, the infant film market was gruesomely butchered at the altar of the oil boom together with other sectors of the economy. The Indigenization Decree of 1972, which sought to transfer ownership of about 300 cinema houses in the country from their foreign proprietors to Nigerians did little to help matters. Though this transfer resulted in the eruption of the latent ingenuity of Nigerian playwrights, screenwriters, poets, and film producers, the gradual dip in the value of the naira, combined with lack of finance, marketing support, quality studio and production equipment as well as inexperience on the part of practitioners, hampered the growth of the local film industry.

At this juncture, I would like to go back a little in history. Film as a medium first arrived on our shores in the form of itinerant peephole hawkers of still
pictures. These were soon replaced with roving cinemas, which began feeding us with doses of American western films.

Edgar Rice Buroughs 1935 film "Sanders of the River" which was partly shot in Nigeria helped in putting Nigeria on the world film map through the participation of late Orlando Martins (1899 – 1985) who acted in the film alongside the American actor Paul Robeson. Orland Martins also featured in "Man from Morocco" and "Black Libel" – his first film, which was never finished but gave him the needed experience. It was however the part of Magole the witch doctor in "Men of Two Worlds" that put him in the public eye. Well before these films, Glover Memorial Hall is on record as having been the first venue to show a film in Nigeria in August 1903. Documentaries on the Queen’s visits to Nigeria, English football matches, Westminster Parliamentary debates, and government-sponsored films on health and education as well as legendary cowboy films soon began dominating our cinemas in the late ‘50s up to independence.
Most of us old enough to remember this era of the Nigeria society refer to it as the good old ‘50s and ‘60s and it was perfect timing for a love affair between Nigerian film and Nigerian music. Sadly, we had neither the technology nor the means to do our own films and had to be satisfied with mostly foreign fare. Soon vast acres of our urban surroundings became flooded with wall posters of alien culture in the form of American, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese films. Our kids caught on to the Kung-fu and Karate culture. Nigerians began to know more about Bruce Lee, James Bond, and the travails of the American Indians than they did about the Wole Soyinka-led Mbari Mbayo cultural group, Hubert Ogunde’s troupe or other socio-cultural history of Nigeria.

Some significant successes were recorded after independence when for about ten years after the Nigeria civil war, Nigerian literature and theatre got introduced to motion picture. Representative of this new wave were the works of Ogunde, a doyen of Nigerian art who understood that film and theatre were vehicles for promoting indigenous language, art and culture. The Nigerian nightlife scene subsequently came alive. Highlife music was the in-thing and the music of the Koola Lobitos, The Oriental Brothers, I. K. Dairo, Rex Jim Lawson, E. T. Mensah, and Victor Olaiya reigned. Ola Balogun’s post civil war flick, "Amadi" took us back to the pre-civil war days when Nigeria was one huge undivided house where Igbo musicians sang Yoruba highlife and Yorubas sang Hausa songs. "Amadi" was an Igbo film made by a Yoruba man and was clearly a glimpse from the future of the film industry in Nigeria. This early example of Nigerian art on celluloid using the best of Western film techniques, was a breath of fresh air even if it was a low technology, low budget experiment unable to impress the market against the dominance of imports which though exotic did little to promote Nigerian art. The film "Bisi – Daughter of the River" was another fair effort on celluloid, which captured Nigerian culture on film. "Dinner with the Devil" was another first generation Nigerian film by the duo of Sanya Dosunmu and Wole Amele. Eddie Ugbomah’s "The Great Attempt" was also another valiant film which was unfortunately censored by the authorities. Several decades later, the late Ogunde featured in Joyce Cary’s "Mister Johnson", a film that did little to elevate the sad perception of Blacks and Africans. Thankfully in the 1980’s, the TV serialization of Chinua Achebe’s "Things Fall Apart" became hugely successful. I also recall the small screen successes of the Adio Family, Village Headmaster, rooster Crow at Dawn, The Masquerade, Mirror in the Sun, Check Mate, Sura The Tailor, Awada Kerikeri and Second Chance on national television and how these productions were indeed instrumental to the revival of the local film industry and hence the birth of the home video culture in Nigeria. Later in time, the austerity measures of the early eighties and the Structural Adjustment Programme that succeeded it, helped in no small measure in increasing the level of poverty in the land. The Entertainment Industry was one of the worst victims and had to move indoors. The few cinema houses existing either had to close shop or were taken over by religious bodies. This accelerated the birth of home video entertainment. Credit must now be given to our second generation film industry pioneers – Amaka Igwe, Tunde Kelani, Zeb and Chico Ejiro, The Amata brothers, Femi Lasode, Olu Jacobs, Joke Jacobs (nee Silva), Liz Benson, Kenneth Nnebue, Richard Mofe Damijo, Zachee Orji, Pete Edochie, Sam Loco Efe, U.S. Galadima, Yinka Quadri, Genevieve Nnaji, Jide Kosoko, Omotola Ekehinde and others – who inherited, without hesitation, the commercial and artistic traditions of Nigerian film and theatre from the likes of Hubert Ogunde, Moses Olaiya, Duro Ladipo, Ola Balogun, Wole Amele, Eddie Ugbomah, just to name a few, and began to tell our stories using the video format. By 1993 when the National Film Festival was held for the first time our film industry score sheet was moderate – about 25 English films, five Hausa films, 50 Yoruba and One Igbo film.

In Western societies, a film’s commercial lifespan would normally begin with a box office or cinema release, then video release, then broadcast on fee-paying television, and finally on public television. Producers and Marketers would then generate the appropriate promotion and publicity to maximize profitability out of each phase. The Nigerian experience with the video culture so far has shown that without piracy, there are huge potentials for making money in the industry. In South Africa, I understand that video distribution usually doubles or triples a movie’s revenues. The video boom is therefore not just a Nigerian phenomenon. Video appears to be the home entertainment mainstay for the world’s developing countries.

From all indications, the future of the Nigerian movie industry is promising. I understand that every day, about three new low budget movies are released into the market. Each film is then replicated into about 200,000 video cassettes and distributed to markets, video clubs and eventually various homes. This process creates jobs and income for the people involved in the production, distribution and marketing of the movies. It is only when we change our paradigm and see film production as big business, that the film industry will take its rightful position in the economy.

The Indian film industry has been projecting India’s culture globally for over 50 years and has remained one of the most important foreign exchange earning sources for that country. Francophone West African films, which get showcased at FESPACO, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, which holds in the Burkinabe capital every two years has helped in improving the quality and global appeal of Francophone films. As a result, these countries film industries have contributed significantly to their respective economies. The United States of America is the best example of a perfect union between the film and the financial services industries. Do you know that the American movie industry is the second largest export revenue earner for that country, after the aviation industry? Thanks to Hollywood and its spin offs, the state of California, with a gross domestic product of $1.4 trillion, is the fifth largest economy in the world, richer than the combined wealth of all the 54 countries in Africa. Today, underscoring the industry’s contribution to the rest of American society, the current Governor of California is Arnold Shwarzzenegger, an actor. Former President Ronald Reagan was also a Hollywood actor. These American examples show us what the Nigerian movie industry can become in terms of stature and relevance in society.

Let me say that the need for partnership between Nigerian banks and the film industry are obvious. We all now know from the American experience that film is big business. As financial intermediaries in the economy, banks have a key role to play in the development of the industry. Banks are interested in helping to build successful businesses out of ideas and if the film industry should open itself up to the same evaluation and analysis that banks subject all their borrowers to, banks would really want to lend to them. With the support of the financial sector, the film industry will certainly rise to prominence.

Before I conclude I have some questions for CORA. These are questions that banks would like to have answers to before supporting the Nigerian film industry:
• How much is the film industry worth today?
• How much does it cost to produce a good movie?
• What is the annual turnover of an average movie producer?
• Do firms in the movie industry have collateral to pledge for credit?
• Do companies in the film industry have audited accounts?
• Do companies in the film industry have formal structures?

Bankers usually do not start a banking relationship until after conducting due diligence on the institution of their interest. This usually involves an assessment of need and an analysis of the credit risks involved. This is because they want to be able to determine, to a large extent, the viability of the project they finance. So far, our film industry lacks the structure to provide positive answers to my questions. I am therefore suggesting that the Nigerian film industry become better organized, and start to maintain proper records and accounts, engage the services of auditors and have formal organizational structures. When this is done, banks will find the industry more amenable for support. The banks will also be able to:
• Learn about the dynamics of the film industry
• Know the people driving the film industry
• Easily provide credit in the form of loans to the industry
• Provide financial advisory services
• Serve the industry’s domestic and international money transfer need
• Help midwife this booming sector of the economy which has great potentials for growth and foreign exchange denominated earnings.

One should also ask what the movie industry can do for the financial services industry and by extension, for the country.

* Already, beyond being a ready-made pipeline for the discovery of young artistic talent, its potential for generating direct and indirect employment is well known.

* The positive impact of the film industry on the image of Nigeria should also go a long way towards attracting foreign direct investments into the country.

We all know that Nigerian home videos are extremely popular with Africans especially Nigerians abroad. Our films have become ready substitutes for western productions. Through these movies Africans are experiencing a cultural connect worldwide, something which foreign movies cannot provide. Recently, South Africa’s satellite TV company Multichoice DSTV introduced its AfricaMagic channel which shows mostly Nigerian movies to its over 1.5 million subscribers in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. With time, this exposure of our film market can only serve to improve the quality of our movies. It can be said that this is another form of cross border trade, which will lead to positive interest in Nigeria, and all the things associated with our country.

So far, our film industry has evolved naturally, with almost no government involvement or influence. This is a good thing and I want to appeal to you all that it remains so. While Government participation is welcome, it should not be allowed to become a hinderance in any way. Government’s involvement in business enterprises has been known to generally hamper than assist its development.

My belief is that government should actually contribute in the area of fighting piracy which has become a plague afflicting several areas of the creative arts. The recent accord between the Filmmakers Cooperative of Nigeria (FCON) and the Filmmakers Association of Nigeria FAN, USA to bring an end to the piracy of Nigerian films in the United States is laudable and a good example of cross border, private sector led collaboration.

Closing Shot…,
In concluding, let me restate that banks need the film industry just as much as the film industry needs the banks. I believe that the film industry can be viable and has all the elements of being sustainable over the long term. Partnership between both sectors is therefore necessary if the movie industry is to achieve its full potentials. The future of this partnership abounds with several opportunities.


Tayo Aderinokun, Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank at the 50th Art Stampede Session Of The Committee For Relevant Art (CORA) held at The National Theatre, Iganmu, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday March 7th, 2004.

Mr. Tayo Aderinokun passed on to eternal glory on Tuesday June 14, 2011. He died in a Hospital in London, U.K. He had been the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc since 2002. He had a first degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos and an MBA with special concentration on International Business from the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles.

His professional education included Credit and Relationship Management training at the Chase Manhattan Bank Institute for International Banking New York, USA (1982-1983). His professional working experience was gained working with several financial institutions beginning with the Central Bank of Nigeria in Calabar, where he did his National Youth Service (1977-1978).

He worked with Chase Merchant Bank Nigeria Ltd (later renamed Continental Merchant Bank) from 1981 to 1988. He was at Prime Merchant Bank Ltd (1988 and 1989) as an Assistant General Manager rising to the position of Head of the financial services division of the Bank. In 1989, he set up a non-bank financial institution, First Marina Trust Ltd., which he ran for a year. In 1990 he co-founded Guaranty Trust Bank Plc where he served as Deputy Managing Director before taking over as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer in August 2002. He was responsible for strategic policy direction as well as day-to-day administration of the Bank.

He was a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) and holds a recipient of the national award - Member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

During his time as Managing Director, the Bank witnessed tremendous progress and growth and had emerged over the years as an industry leader, pacesetter of unique and progressive innovations in the banking industry. The Bank is now easily acknowledged and recognized as one of the most profitable and professionally managed corporate institutions in Nigeria and has been the recipient of several awards for exemplary corporate governance practices and excellent customer service.

In addition, Mr. Aderinokun was also the recipient of numerous awards as an acknowledgment of his sterling leadership role in the achievements of the Bank. The awards include ‘Banker of the Year’ at the inaugural ThisDay Awards in 2006, Most Respected CEO by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2008 and ‘African Banker of the Year’ by the “African Banker” magazine in September 2009. He was also a recipient of the National Award of Member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigeria (FCIB).

May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Viva Riva, Beyond the Nollywood Fever and Palaver

Viva Riva, Beyond the Nollywood Fever and Palaver

This weekend as the Congolese gangster thriller Viva Riva opens in theatres in Los Angeles, U.S.A, it should be a wakeup call to Nollywood that what matters most is not the quantity of your movies, but the quality in Art and craft of filmmaking beyond the get-rich-quick syndrome of churning out cheap home videos of Nigerian comedies and tragedies from Idumota to Onitsha.

When Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s "Viva Riva" beat the best Nollywood movies at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), many of the Nigerian filmmakers were humbled. But how many of them learnt the real lessons of the event? They preferred to rush back to their business as usual in Nollywood and having premieres of their amateurish flicks at the Silverbird Cinemas where their posing and posturing on the local red carpet is the best they have been able to achieve so far, while the man from the war torn Democratic Republic of the Congo has gone ahead of them to make history with his "Viva Riva" as the first Congolese feature to find distribution in the U.S. I wonder if any Nollywood flick has achieved that. And Congo where French is the main official language, plus four official indigenous languages: Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba from “400 different tribes with 400 different ways of thinking. And, there are more than 200 ‘living’ languages,” according to Munga, with no acting schools and no "Congowood". In fact for most members of the cast, it was their first film credit.

Chineze Anyaene

Is it not amazing that the best film from Nollywood is "IJÉ the Journey", a New York Film Academy thesis feature film by Chineze Anyaene who has won 12 awards, including the Golden Ace Award at Las Vegas International Film Festival and the Melvin Van Peeples Award at the San Francisco Black Film Festival. In fact she even claimed that "IJÉ the Journey is the first standard Nigerian made Hollywood film" and do you blame her when like most people Nollywood is being mistaken as the best we can boast of from the Nigerian film industry since majority of our youths and even journalists are ignorant of the history of filmmaking in Nigeria and never knew that "Palaver" was the first Nigerian film shot in Jos, Plateau State, in 1904. But "IJÉ the Journey" is just one of the best Hollywood standard features done by Nigerian filmmakers who were making fantastic world class films for the cinema in the 1970s and 1980s. From Dr. Ola Balogun to Afolabi Adesanya and other notable veterans of the Nigerian cinema now mistakenly erroneously and ambiguously dubbed “Nollywood”. And I have already addressed this in my previous articles on Nollywood, so there is no need to over flog it again.

The once popular cinema culture is gradually being revived by Ben Murray-Bruce through his expanding Silverbird Cinemas and others building new cinemas all over Nigeria. And the real filmmakers are now redefining Nollywood by taking up the challenge of making features that can compete with the best in the world.
Majority of them have gone through the New York Film Academy. Faruk Lasaki, Kunle Afolayan, Stephanie Okereke, Chineze Anyaene, Chika Anadu and others who are going to take Nigerian films to compete with the best at the Cannes, Oscars and other major centres of the film world. But we need to address the problem of intellectual ignorance and professional arrogance plaguing Nollywood.

Many of the stakeholders are doing more harm than good to Nollywood by engaging in activities questioning the dignity and leadership of the Nigerian film industry.
They have also dragged their associations into partisan politics and promoting cash-for-vote and cash-for-news coverage sharp practices with many of them rubbishing and tarnishing the public image of the Nigerian film industry.

Piracy is still rampant and counterfeiting is being practiced by notable Nollywood stars who have been accused of copyright infringements like the desperate but futile attempts by a faction of Nollywood producers to hijack the duly registered Eko International Film Festival with the unethical support of their accomplices in public office.

My personal experience is quite revealing in the case of the counterfeiting of Eko International Film Festival by the mercenaries in Nollywood who have been abusing and misusing their professional associations for their greed and ego trips. But I have dismissed them since they have been found wanting in facing the real business of filmmaking and raking up ethnic differences and tribalism in their primordial divide and rule tactics to cause north-south dichotomy and east-west dichotomy in Nollywood when what matters most is promoting what is best for the Nigerian film industry and giving the necessary cooperation and support to those with the best intentions for the advancement of Nollywood, no matter your state of origin, in fact no matter where the person comes from, even from the moon or mars.

Only backward and narrow-minded people would be banging their office desk and going round the bend over why an Igbo should be the owner of a film festival in Lagos with the Yoruba name of "Eko"?
Would they also go bananas that my popular pen name "Orikinla" is Yoruba, because I am Igbo or question why I created "Òmó Iya Osùn" the mystical girl in "Boy Adam Floats Headless In The Thames"? Of course they are ignorant of the fact that my father grew up among the Yoruba Ijebus of Ogun State in the western region of Nigeria, became a Babalawo versed in Ifa Divination, was also an Ogun priest with an Ogun shrine in Obalende on the Lagos Island and was a prominent member of the Ogboni society. And he brought me up with deep knowledge of the mythology and mysticism of the Yoruba culture and religion until he passed on. I knew enough to be the first Nigerian artist to mount an installation of Ogun shrine and Opon Ifa in an Art exhibition hosted by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on the campus of the University of Lagos in 1992, based on my late father’s paraphernalia of Ogun worship and Prof. Wande Abimbola’s book on Ifa Divination.

The search for knowledge knows no boundaries.
Before Oduduwa there was Ifa. And before Adam, our lord Jesus Christ existed and still existing as explained in the book of John 1:1 of the Holy Bible.

Only ignorant, uneducated and uninformed people will question why two Igbo men should be the founder and owner of Eko International Film Festival in Lagos or anywhere else in the world. Anyone could have been the founder, owner or whatever. What matters is not who discovered or founded a property, but how beneficial it is to you and me, regardless of class, colour, creed, tribe or race.

In conclusion, may I advise all the stakeholders, aficionados and well wishers of the Nigerian film industry to look beyond their local competition in Nollywood, put aside their evil greed and foolish pride and let us do our best to support whatever will benefit Nigeria and the rest of the world.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Google to double Internet penetration in Nigeria

Goggle says internet penetration in Nigeria is still very low at 12 percent and wants to double this within the next three years, according to a top official of Google in Nigeria. He also announced the launch of Google Trader in Ghana and Google online phone in Kenya which would also be extended to Nigeria.

He disclosed that Nigerians are already making millions from the new Google Trader, an initiative which puts a trader online thereby enabling consumers globally to have a contact with the traders without hitches or meddlesome middle men/women. He said that a Nigerian trader Mrs. Funke, sold one year inventory in a month by taking advantage of the Internet. Her business moved from N150,000 to N15 million in four months. She has been using a website to promote and sell her baby products to numerous customers in the global village. And another Nigerian is also presently make millions of naira yearly by selling Nollywood videos online.

Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda as leading countries in ICT development in the continent, “but Nigeria is key,” because the country’s ICT potentials and business opportunities are simply enormous. But presently, only few Nigerians are benefiting from the business opportunities, which the Internet, particularly Goggle, provide.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Taking Nollywood to the next level

The most famous Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji

Taking Nollywood to the next level

Recently stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry met at the last quarterly stampede of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) to discuss “The New Trend in Nollywood”. The event was held on Sunday May 22, 2011, at the Freedom Park on Broad Street, Lagos. The forum was convened by CORA and Mr. Femi Odugbemi’s iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival (iREP).

It was well coordinated and well attended by most of the notable personalities in Nollywood and related fields. Celebrated actors Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva-Jacobs, Francis Onwochei and other Nollywood stars sat quietly without any sort of fanfare or glamour in the audience.

The invited filmmakers identified as leaders of the new trend had an interactive session on their movies. Mahmood Ali-Balogun discussed his matrimonial drama “Tango With Me”, Kunle Afolayan spoke on his horror thriller “The Figurine 'araromire'”, Stephanie Okerereke on her romantic comedy “Through the Glass”, Chidi Nwokobia on his family drama “Champions Of Our Time”, Emem Isong said she is excited about the successes she has made screening her videos in cinemas, Lilian Amah-Aluko had more to address than her “Jungle Ride”, Vivian Ejike talked about the challenges of making her “Private Storm”, appreciating the local talents and professionals she found worthy in making good movies, but Chineze Anyaene was absent and the young man Kelechi Ikata she sent to represent her could not say much on her outstanding thriller “IJE - The Journey”.

The filmmakers, journalists and other contributors had a common resolution that with the provision of adequate resources by all the stakeholders and a conducive environment the Nigerian film industry will make more impact in the world.

The moderator was the notable film critic and journalist Steve Ayorinde who is now the Managing Editor of The National Mirror Newspaper. The coordinators Shaibu Husseini and his senior colleague Jahman Anikulapo, Editor of The Guardian on Sunday Nespaper and Programme Chairman of CORA deserve commendation for making sure that the event went well and recognizing the presence of Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Supple magazine and President of Eko International Film Festival and Chike Ibekwe whose movie “Eternal” was a co-winner of the Golden Screen Best Film award with “An Unusual Woman” by Burkinabe director Abdoulaye Dao at the 14th annual Ecrans noirs Film Festival in Yaounde, Cameroon, last year. And thanks to Toyin Akinosho, Secretary-General of CORA and Femi Odugbemi and their organizing committee for hosting the laudable forum.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jeta Amata is working on new film after "Black Gold"

Jeta Amata

Nick Vivarelli of the Variety reported that the ambitious Nigerian filmmaker Jeta Amata is already working on a new international film after making “Black Gold”.

The director who is also well known for his daring film “The Amazing Grace” is going to focus on the corrupt practices of pharmaceutical multinationals in Africa in his new film "Journeys of One," with Donald Ranvaud of "The Constant Gardner" fame as an executive producer.

Amata’s “Black Gold” had a market premiere at the 64th Cannes Film Festival. The film on the Niger Delta crisis featured top Hollywood actors like Tom Sizemore, William George "Billy" Zane, and Hakeem Kae-Kazim.

"Journeys of One" will be a way to provide a more genuine take on the Big Pharma in Africa theme tackled by Hollywood in Fernando Meirelles' "The Constant Gardner". We like Hollywood coming to tell our story; but they miss some of the essence of the African point of view," Amata said.

Variety reported that Amata, producer Soledad Grognett and Ranvaud are looking for a name African-American actor for one of the key roles in "Journeys" and likely to also feature an Indian star.

"The idea is to make it Hollywood, Nollywood -- as the Nigerian film industry is know -- and Bollywood; the three biggest markets in the world," said Amata. "If you go to the remote villages where they don't have proper means of communication, you find people just dying unnecessarily," he added. "And though they don't realize it, the real thing that killed them was some drug that they weren't meant to take."
"The environment in Nigeria makes it a haven for these people (the pharmaceutical companies) to run whatever tests they want and treat people like rats and guinea pigs," Grognett added.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nollywood missing as Hollywood and Bollywood shine at 64th Cannes Film Festival

Sleeping Beauty, starring Emily Browning, is one of 20 films up for the coverted Palme D'or. 64th Cannes Film Festival video © 2011 Reuters Entertainment.

As Hollywood and Bollywood stars shine at the premiere of the sexual drama "Sleeping Beauty" the toast of the Cannes Film Festival, nothing to show from Nollywood the so called second largest movie industry in the world.

The celebrated movie stars from Hollywood, Bollywood and other notable film industries from other countries are participating and competing for the coveted prizes and other attractions of the film festival. Nigeria has a pavilion at the festival, but no Nollywood movie is in competition or even out of competition.

Nollywood stars are simply unknown here.
Just appearing on the CNN or being mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey Show will make Nigerians go gaga, but what really counts is breaking the ice and making heads turn at the Cannes or Oscars and not at the Silverbird Galleria in Lagos city, Nigeria. Our Nollywood stars need to aim at shattering the highest glass ceiling as South African stars have done for decades by winning Oscars. Cinematographer Ted Moore (1914–1987) was the first South African to win an Oscar in 1967, when he also won the BAFTA for Robert Bolt’s magnificent film, A Man for All Seasons. He was from Benoni, the same town as actress Charlize Theron the first South African actor to win an Oscar in 2004 for Monster and her gripping role of serial killer Aileen Wuornos was described as "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema" by the highly esteemed American film critic and screenwriter Roger Ebert, the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. The other Oscar winning South Africans are Ronald Harwood who won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the multiple award winning The Pianist in 2003 and his other screenplay The Diving Bell and the Butterfly had four Oscar nominations in 2007, and Gavin Hood who got the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film with Tsotsi in 2005.

In fact no Nigerian TV knows what is going at the Cannes, except few of the notable Nigerian journalists/film critics like Shaibu Husseini of The Guardian, Victor Akande of The Nation and Steve Ayorinde. The others are the veteran Nigerian filmmaker and scholar Afolabi Adesanya, who is the MD/CE of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) with his delegation at the Nigerian pavilion where some of the Nigerian movie makers Like Faruk Lasaki, Kunle Afolayan, Madu Chikwendu, Fidelis Duker and others can meet and receive visitors. Today, the European media partner of Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF), Mr. Bruno Chatelin was at the pavilion to receive an important message from Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, the President of EKOIFF. The other Nigerians here are not different from the tourists. The only Nigerian online news media reporting the Cannes Film Festival since 2005 is International Digital Post Network (IDPN) Limited publishers of 24/7 Nigeria and other niche websites. See it all only on and get the juicy news of the red carpet in audio, video and photos.

Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan arrives on the red carpet for the screening of the film "Sleeping Beauty", in competition at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, May 12, 2011. Twenty films are competing in the May 11 to 22 cinema showcase, with a roll call including major screen stars, revered "auteur" directors and relative newcomers. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Jury member Uma Thurman poses during a photocall at the 64th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on Wednesday, May 11.

You can follow the events from the opening day on 11th to the closing day on 22nd May.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, the Founder/Festival Director of Eko International Film Festival and Publisher/CEO of International Digital Post Network (IDPN) Limited,

More news on the 64th Cannes Film Festival

23:54 Hannover House Acquires Three Acclaimed International Films at Cannes Festival

20:27 TBWA\Chiat\Day New York Appoints Andy Nathan as Managing Director and Aaron Griffiths as Creative Director

17:32 L'Oréal Paris accueille Leïla Bekhti comme nouvelle Ambassadrice mondiale

15:16 Drafthouse Films, Timpson Films and Magnet Releasing to Teach Moviegoers "THE ABCs OF DEATH"

12 May 2011

12:40 Christie participe a l'ensemble des projections numeriques du 64e Festival de Cannes

08:00 Duran Duran to Perform at the European Launch of BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM) Duran Duran actuará en el lanzamiento europeo de BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM) Duran Duran se produira à l'occasion du lancement européen de BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM) Auftritt von Duran Duran zur europaweiten Einführung von BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM)

07:00 Duran Duran se produira à l'occasion du lancement européen de BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM) Duran Duran actuará en el lanzamiento europeo de BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM) Auftritt von Duran Duran zur europaweiten Einführung von BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM) Duran Duran to Perform at the European Launch of BELVEDERE PRODUCT(RED)(TM)

11 May 2011

14:00 Nexia's Film Marketing Efforts at the Cannes Film Festival Market

10 May 2011

17:24 Playboy Mansion Cannes Returns for the Cannes Film Festival

9 May 2011

23:29 THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3D REVS UP 14:03 Variety Presents The Variety Studio @ Stella Artois Lounge at the 64th Festival de Cannes