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

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Lagos Should Be Approved As One of the UNESCO Cities of Film


It would be worthy of Lagos, Africa's largest megacity and the home of Nollywood, the first and largest independent film industry on the continent of Africa to be approved as one of the UNESCO Cities Of Film and one of the Creative Cities Network for the dynamic creativities in the arts, audio visual and mass media which have made Lagos the entertainment capital of Africa.

To be approved as a City of Film, cities need to meet a number of criteria set by UNESCO.

Designated UNESCO Cities of Film share similar characteristics:

Important infrastructure related to cinema, e.g. film studios and film landscapes/environments continuous or proven links to the productiondistribution, and commercialisation of films experience in hosting film festivalsscreenings, and other film-related events collaborative initiatives at a local, regional, and international levels; film heritage in the form of archives, museums, private collections, and/or film institutesfilm making schools and training centres; effort in disseminating films produced and/or directed locally or nationally; initiatives to encourage knowledge-sharing on foreign films. 

Nigeria must also become a member of UNICA. Union Internationale du Cinéma. World Organisation for Film & Video • member of IFTC of UNESCO. 


Andora, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

So, What is NOLLYWOOD?

Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, famous Nigerian actress trained in the UK and  featured in "A Warm December" directed by Sidney Poitier.

The first groundbreaking Nigerian home video was Jimi Odumosu's "Evil Encounter", a 1980 horror movie for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) that was pirated on video cassettes at the Alaba International Market on the outskirts of Lagos. 
The first Nigerian movie, shot directly on video was  "Soso Meji" of 1988 by Ade Ajiboye, followed by Alade Aromire's "Ekun" (1989), 
"Turmin Danya" (The Draw")/in 1990,  was the first commercially successful Kannywood home video; Jide Kosoko's "Asiri Nla" 1992 and "Asewo To Re Mecca" of 1992 by Adebayo Salami, popularly known as "Oga Bello".

Dr. Christian Chika Onu

Any documentary film on the history of Nollywood without them is not the conmplete true history of Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry.

The first Nollywood blockbuster home vodeo movie in the Igbo language was "Living in Bondage" 1 of 1992 by Chris Obi Raou and the sequel, "Living in Bondage" 2 of 1993 by Chika Christian Onu of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). 

How Nollywood Redefined Conversations on African Cinema and Culture 
From Analogous To Digital
Is Nollywood a child of necessity or a phenomenon of ingenuity?
The guerrilla filmmakers in Nigeria who started the phenomenon of the first indie film industry in Africa were driven by necessity, ingenuity and opportunity.

How I Fell in Love with the Cinema

My great father of blessed memory, Sunday "Sunny" Eke loved going to cinemas almost daily, because he loved movies; especially #Hollywood western cowboys movies of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, war films and #Bollywood movies such as "Sholay" and "Seeta aur Geeta" and I loved the Bollywood legends; Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini,, Dharmendra Singh Deol , Sanjeev Kumar and lest I forget the most celebrated nautch dancer in Hindi romantic films, Helen Anne Richardson Khan.  My father never sat down to watch any movie on TV. He would just glance at the popular Bonanza western cowboys series and Combat series on World War 2.

The Most Appreciated Film Writer in Nigeria
Do you know that the Alpha Man, EKENYERENGOZI Michael Chima is the most appreciated film writer on #Nollywood and the film industry by filmmakers and other major stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry since 2012. He has written on the Academy Awards and Cannes Film Festival since 2008 to date and accurately predicted the winner of the Oscars for the Best Picture and Best Director in 2017 won by Guillermo del Toro for "The Shape of Water". He has also written definitive articles on Nollywood and history of the Nigerian cinema published on Indiewire and by SHADOW&ACT Author Post List

Nigeria: #Nollywood#Kannywood and the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film

Fincho: The Making of the First Nigerian Film in Colour By Sam Zebba

Photo of Chinua Achebe and Hansjürgen Pohland on the Location of "Bullfrog in the Sun" in Ibadan

GIOVANNI ROSMAN: The First Canadian Actor in Nollywood

Why Nollywood Filmmakers Have Failed To Qualify for the Oscars and Cannes

When Will Nollywood Movies Make the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival?

TOP 20 Nigerian Filmmakers From 2012-2020

Bankrolling Nollywood: The Challenges and Benefits of Film Finance

über Nollywood

Anachronisms in #Nollywood Igbo Epic Movies and Ṇ́dị́ Ìgbò History

The Importance of a Database, Library and Museum for the Nigerian Film Industry

Does Our National Assembly Know Anything About the Nigerian Entertainment Industry?

NOLLYWOOD is the National Treasure of Nigeria

#Nollywood Rising: Welcome To Asaba!

Netflix Needs Cinemas and Cinemas Need Netflix

The Encyclopaedia of Nollywood and the Nigerian Film Industry

- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,

Sunday, January 3, 2021

"Omo Ghetto: The Saga" Grossed N124 Million Within 7 Days - Breaks Box Office Records in Nigeria



"Omo Ghetto: The Saga" Grossed N124 Million Within 7 Days - Breaks Box Office Records in Nigeria.

I predicted this happening when it was released on #Christmas Day, December 25, 2020.
Cinemas should let it run till #Valentine's Day.

The most profitable Nigerian movie so far is The Wedding Party 1 that grossed over N453 million from the box office with a film production budget of only ₦60 million. 

The sequel, "The Wedding Party" 2 is currently having the record for the highest grossing Nigerian movie with N500 million from the box office, but it cost N300 million to make it. So, if you subtract N300 million from N500 million, you are left with only N200 million. So, the producers did not make any profit. They lost millions of naira. 

The fact is they would have made more money from movie merchandising of "The Wedding Party" franchise. But they were clueless about how to do so.

- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,



Sunday, December 27, 2020

Funke Akindele Bello Wraps Up 2020 With Grit and Gusto in "Omo Ghetto: The Saga"

Funke Akindele Bello Wraps Up 2020 With Grit and Gusto in "Omo Ghetto: The Saga"

This is the biggest and hottest #Nollywood action movie of the moment. And she is jumping into the New Year 2021 with pomp! I see the movie breaking the box office records of "The Wedding Party" by the Valentine's Day in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

The public demand for "Omo Ghetto: The Saga" should make it run till March, 2021.

Funke Akindele should maximise the momentum by exploring the movie merchandising opportunities in the commercial production of "Omo Ghetto: The. Saga" T-shirts, #facemasks, face caps, bandanas, shopping bags, etcs; with a positive message that if you don't give up, "las las", you can make it from the ghetto to the top of your dreams like the most famous and richest Nigerian celebrity gossip blogger, Linda Ikeji who came from the Lagos ghetto of Mushin and now living her dreams in her own palatial mansion on Banana Island, off the foreshore of Ikoyi,, described as the most expensive residential neighbourhood in Nigeria by Forbes.

For "Omo Ghetto: The Saga", the saga has just begun!

- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,

Publisher/Editor, NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series

247 Nigeria (@247nigeria) / Twitter

Saturday, December 26, 2020

O Tempora, O Mores! Oh! Chico Ejiro!

                                                   Chico Ejiro.

Those celebrating their selfish egos in the entertainment industry of Nigeria while #Nollywood is mourning the shocking passing of Chico Maziakpono Ejiro,  one of the titans of the Nigerian film industry are only confirming their true characters.

Today, I found myself wearing the same clothes I wore the last time we met during the 9th Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in November, 2019 at the Landmark Retail Boulevard on Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. I was reflecting on what we discussed before the Honourable Federal Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed joined us where we sat in the lobby. 

Without Chico Ejiro and his fellow trail blazers and torch bearers of revolutionary guerrilla filmmaking in the 1990s, the phenomenon of Nollywood would not have become what has attracted the attention of the rest of the world. His over 200 movies have become subjects of film studies and African studies in different universities in Nigeria and foreign countries. 

I cannot imagine going on to produce the new documentary film, "Nollywood Rising" without the prominence of the leading role of Chico Ejiro in the making of the phenomenon of Nollywood.  So, since the shocking news shook Nollywood yesterday, I have been in a surreal mood. As I always do in such unforeseen circumstances beyond human control, I fall back into arms of the great Comforter in communion with the Holy Spirit. For the light of the Holy Spirit shines brightest in the darkest moments of human existence. 

- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,



Thursday, December 24, 2020

Does Our National Assembly Know Anything About the Nigerian Entertainment Industry?

The American entertainment industry is getting $15 billion from U. S Congress, which adds in new copyright laws against illegal streaming.

Does our National Assembly know anything about the Nigerian entertainment industry?

2020 has been the most challenging year for the global entertainment industry, including #Hollywood,  #Bollywood and our #Nollywood  with the unprecedented shutdowns of film and TV productions and cinemas due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and hazards of the #Coronavirus  in workplaces.  And the. American government has been very responsive to the economic shortfalls in Hollywood, but the Nigerian government seems either clueless about how to respond to the deficits in Nollywood or confused. I have heard more about government concerns over #fakenews in the social media than government concerns about shortfalls in Nollywood that is the second biggest and largest employer of labour after agriculture. 

The negligence of the economic challenges in the entertainment industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is due to the administrative incompetence of the government officials appointed to oversee the Nigerian entertainment industry from Lagos to Abuja.

The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) recently hosted the Zuma Film Festival, but not a single call to action on the shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian film industry. I watched the Director-General of NFC in a live TV interview on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on the Nigerian film industry, he did  not address the economic crisis iin Nollywood or Kannywood. It was unbelievable and that was why I ignored their film festival that has not even improved over the years.  They cannot even learn from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), except only to submit a Nigerian movie for the annual #Oscars.

Hello DG of NFC, a working visit or study of AMPAS will be great for your knowledge and the benefit of the NFC.
The hands of the Honourable Federal Minister of Information and Culture (FMIC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed are full, so he cannot carry the whole "Wahala" of the Nigerian entertainment industry on his head. The DG of the NFC can be more pragmatic and responsive by addressing the critical situation of the Nigerian film industry to the Nigerian government; especially the National Assembly.

- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,

Publisher/Editor of the NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series.

Friday, December 11, 2020

NOLLYWOOD is the National Treasure of Nigeria

NOLLYWOOD is the National Treasure of Nigeria

Nollywood is our precious National Treasure. But majority of Nigerians, including the majority of the practitioners in Nollywood don't have this realisation that everyone of the icons in Nollywood is a national treasure; the filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers and the other indispensable professionals who have made Nollywood an international phenomenon in filmmaking and in the literary culture of motion picture.

The realisation of the importance and significance of Nollywood is the primary purpose of publishing the NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series, the first book series on Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry which has become a vital part of the knowledge base of Nollywood and the history of filmmaking in Nigeria. 

Nollywood is the focus of scholarly researches on African studies, film studies, haute couture and the literary culture of the literature of Nollywood screenplays in numerous universities in different parts of the world.  The  sociocultural, socioeconomic and sociopolitical developments in Nollywood  have only been fully realised by film students and scholars and they are increasing the knowledge economy of Nollywood which is more important to nation building than the short term benefits of the film and TV productions, cinemas and OTT platforms combined.  

The realisation of Nollywood as a very important national treasure of Nigeria will increase the local and global appreciation of the Nigerian film industry and the greatness of Nigeria in the world.

- By EKENYERENGOZI Michael Chima 



247 Nigeria (@247nigeria) / Twitter

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Highest Paid Nollywood Actors in Asaba

Asaba, the capital city of Delta State in the South-South region of Nigeria is the new hub of Nollywood, the first and largest indie film industry in Africa known for the productions of thousands of home videos. 

In Nollywood Rising: Welcome To Asaba, I said that the city has overtaken Lagos in the production of movies. And the highest paid actors (both male and female) in Asaba are among the highest paid and richest actors in Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry.  

The highest paid actors in Asaba, include Jerry Amilo, Yul Edochie, Zubby Michael, Mercy Johnson Okojie, Ebele Okaro, Ngozi Ezeonu, Patience Ozokwor, Chika Ike, Tonto Dikeh, Destiny Etiko, Mike Ezuruonye, Ken Erics Ugo, Stephen Emeka Odimgbe, Chacha Eke and Regina Daniels.

These actors are being paid between N1 million and N5 million per movie. And they are earning more money than several of the A-List actors in Lagos city.

- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,
247 Nigeria (@247nigeria) / Twitter

Saturday, September 26, 2020



Born To Conquer.

Alpha Man, EKENYERENGOZI Michael Chima.

Prize winning writer since 13; internationally exhibited artist at age 20; curator of the first Arts Against AIDS Art Exhibitions at the National Museum and National Arts Gallery in Lagos at age 30; Independent TV Production Manager of "Money Wise" on DBN TV at age 35; writer producer and stage director of "Sleepless Night" featuring the Crown Troupe of Africa at the French Cultural Centre in Lagos at age 39; songwriter of "Hardway To Broadway" recorded in 1984 at Hollywood Boulevard n Los Angeles, California and "She Comes on Sundays" recorded in Lagos and premièred on the BBC in April , 2003; author and leading film writer and the Publisher/Editor of 247 Nigeria @247nigeria on #Twitter, one of the most upwardly mobile news aggregators on the internet; Publisher/Editor of NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series since 2013 and among the 10 finalists in the 2014 Fund for Internet Research and Development (FIRE Africa) Awards for tech innovation of a mobile video news and entertainment app with eCommerce and currently working on two new mobile videos social network apps.

CSR: The Education, Protection and Welfare of Underprivileged Girls out of school in Nigeria.

Nigerian Dream: The nation building of a New Nigeria in the leadership of Africa among the comity of nations.

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

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