Nolly Silver Screen ISSUE 08 SEPTEMBER 2014
- Kenneth Gyang - Keith Shiri - Berni Goldblat - Kunle Odunewu - Johnny Muteba - Kemi Lala Akindoju - Femi Kayode Amogunla - Udoka Oyeka
LYDIA FORSON: “The only way to unite Africa is through film”
Nolly Silver Screen
ISSUE 08 SEPTEMBER2014
8 10 African actors making it big in Hollywood 10 The Legal Framework for Defending Intellectual Property Rights Nationally and Internationally – A Film Producer’s Perspective 16 The challenges of making a historical film in Nollywood 20 The digital rise of African and Caribbean entertainment – a changing industry 32 5 leading African movie industries
14 Cover: Lydia Forson 18 Filmmaker Interview: Kenneth Gyang 22 Q & A with Kunle Odunewu 23 Up close and personal with Kemi Lala Akindoju 26 Talent on the rise: Femi Kayode Amogunla 27 A Day in the life of...Udoka Oyeka 27 Berni Goldblat: On a mission to revive African Cinema 30 Keith Shiri on 2014 AFRIFF 31 Johnny Muteba on founding KIFF
4 Editor’s Note 5 Readers’ Corner 6 Contributors’ Bios 9 Vox Pop 9 Nolly Toons 12 Celebrations 13 On Set 17 News 17 Story-Bored! 21 Photo News 23 Nolly Pop Quiz 24 Reviews 28 Red carpet 33 Festival News 34 Listings 35 Events 38 Award News
4 Editor’s Note Promoting and “celebrating African cinema is a burden that should be borne by all irrespective of
They say charity begins at home and we fully agree. So, after seven editions focusing mainly on Nigeria and its film industry popularly called Nollywood, we decided to broaden our horizon to the encompass Mother Africa. We wanted to shine the light on what Africans are doing here and in the Diaspora. Putting together our Africa issue was a very challenging but rewarding experience. We believe that promoting and celebrating African cinema is a burden that should be borne by all irrespective of geographical boundaries.
We also speak to Zimbabwe born international film curator, Keith Shiri about this year’s Africa international film festival (AFRIFF) (p. 30). Johhny Muteba is planning the Kalahari international film festival to showcase the best of African film and culture (p. 31) and Berni Goldblat is reviving African film culture one cinema at a time (p. 27). Still need a reason to tuck into 40 pages of Nolly Silver Screen? We have reviews, listings, articles, cartoons, red carpet fashion and news from the festival circuit and awards, competitions and much more.
Our cover girl, the talented actress and reigning AMAA ambassador, Lydia Forson shares our beliefs. For her, “The Enjoy! only way to unite Africa is through film.” We can’t agree more. Wilfred Okiche profiles 10 Africans making it big in Hollywood (p. 8) and Innocent Ekejiuba compiles five @iakinseye leading African movie industries (p. 32).
5 Write ‘n’ win
t you have Write to us about wha and stand enjoyed in this edition bulous priza chance of winning fa be giving out es. This month, we will DVD. Also up 2 copies of Maami on kets to see a for grabs are cinema tic geria and a gift Nollywood movie in Ni hamper. rscreen.com Email: info@nollysilve media Get in touch via social lysilverscreen www.facebook .com/nol llysilverscreen www.google.com/+no rscreen www.twitter.com/nsilve ollysilverscreen www.instagram.com/n
Well done with your website and magazine as well. I read copy with Amaka Igwe on it sometime back. It’s nice to know that someone is documenting the Nollywood industry. :) Ade Balogun
The last edition was a bumper edition with something for everyone in Nollywood: actors, directors and producers. This is the way to go. I look forward to more editions. Mafoya A.
Read Nolly Silver Screen on www.nollysilverscren.com issuu.com/nollysilverscreen scribd.com/nollysilverscreen
CONTRIBUTORS’ bios NOLLY SILVER SCREEN
GRAPHICS & LAYOUT Isabella Akinseye
Quill and Scroll Creatives
Temitayo Amogunla Bola Atta Bola Audu Shaibu Husseini Toni Kan
Mike Asukwo studied Fine Art at the prestigious Yaba College of Technology. He is an award winning cartoonist and illustrator with his work appearing in numerous publications. He currently works with BusinessDay newspaper as Senior Editorial Artist.
Olumuyiwa Awojide is a computer scientist, digital marketer and movie lover. Drop him in front of a 100 feet screen showing anything with Tom Hanks in it and his day is made. He runs the award winning movie blog, Sodas and Popcorn.
Akinwande Ayodeji is a self taught digital artist, graphic designer and illustrator. He graduated with an MSc Pharm. Chem from UNILAG but creativity is what drives him. He intends to make good use of it. He works for CKDigital as a graphics designer.
His cartoon strip ‘StoryBored’ explores some of the challenges of African filmmakers (p. 17).
He reviews Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Devil in the Detail (p. 25).
His cartoon strip Nolly Toons is titled ‘Wood Shopping’ (p. 9).
Mpona Lebajoa is a is a recent graduate from the University of Greenwich with a degree in Media and Communications. She is a feature writer at FAB magazine and an account manager at S TWO Media.
Ikechukwu Obiaya lectures at the School of Media and Communications of the Pan-Atlantic University and is the director of the Nollywood Studies Centre.
Wilfred Okiche believes in God, medicine, music and movies. A medical doctor, occasional writer, columnist and profiler. He runs a regular column in The Sun newspaper and contributes to Y!Africa.
Oluwaponmile Orija is studying Food Science and Technology at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. She loves writing and has published several works in the newspapers.
He compiles a top 10 list of African actors making it big in Hollywood (p. 8).
She asks people who their favourite African actor is in Hollywood for the Vox Pop section (p. 9).
Alex Eyengho is a filmmaker and journalist. He is the President of both the Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP) and the Association of Itsekiri Performing Artistes (AIPA). Vice President of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). He shares his perspective on intellectual rights (p. 10).
Ebunoluwa Mordi Oluwayomi Olushola
Mike Asukwo Olumuyiwa Awojide Akinwande Ayodeji Alex Eyengho Mpona Lebajoa Ikechukwu Obiaya Wilfred Okiche Oluwaponmile Orija
Nolly Silver Screen is a monthly online magazine of www. nollysilverscreen. com. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. Send email to info@ nollysilverscreen.com for permission and other enquiries.
Check out her piece ‘The digital rise of African and Caribbean entertainment – a changing industry’ (p. 20).
He writes on the monthly forum organised by the Nollywood Studies Centre in his piece ‘The challenges of making a historical film in Nollywood’ (p. 16).
Want to contribute?
Nolly Silver Screen is always on the lookout for writers and artists to contribute to the website, magazine and social media pages. We are currently open to receiving movie reviews, articles, interviews, infographics, cartoon strips and caricatures focusing on Nollywood as well as Africa’s film industry. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting contributors’ guidelines.
They are taking over: 10 African actors making it big in Hollywood BY WILFRED OKICHE
Hollywood is an exclusive club in which the most successful members are more likely to be young, white and skinny. But these 10 names on our list, many of whom have come from far flung locations, are quietly redefining what it means to become a Hollywood A-lister. Representing the African continent, they have hustled hard, paid their dues and are all but set to reap the rewards of their hard work. We present 10 African actors in Hollywood. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF IMDB
In 2012, Oduye became the first Nigerian actor to grace the cover of Vanity Fair magazine when she appeared in the Hollywood issue alongside famous names like Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Paula Patton. This came on the heels of her acclaimed role as a black lesbian in the excellent Indie film Pariah. She returned to the big screens in last year’s Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave.
Mr Ejiofor has been one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, appearing in key supporting roles in huge blockbusters like Salt, 2012 and American Gangster. However, he stepped big time into leading man territory in 2013 when he played real life freed slave Solomon Northup in the screen adaptation of Northup’s autobiography 12 Years a Slave for which he received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. It sure won’t be his last.
This stunning South African beauty is in the news these days for dating fellow Oscar winner Sean Penn but truth is Ms. Theron has been a constant part of the Hollywood A-list since her Oscar winning turn in the 2003 film Monster where she put on weight and uglied up to play tragic real life serial killer Aileen Wuornoys. She stars in the upcoming Mad Max franchise reboot.
Elba was born in London in 1972 but his birth father is Sierra Leonean while his mother is Ghanaian. He paid his dues on British television appearing in many series but soon tired of the glut of “best friend” roles he was constantly offered. This led to a migration to Hollywood where he finally made a breakthrough on the cult TV series The Wire. In 2013, he played Nelson Mandela to critical acclaim in the biopic Long Walk to Freedom.
Born to a Nigerian father and Jewish mum, Okonedo is best known for her Oscar nominated role opposite Don Cheadle in 2004’s Hotel Rwanda. A recipient of the OBE, Okonedo made her acting debut in 1991 and has enjoyed a lengthy career playing a variety of interesting roles both on stage and on screen. She has appeared in big budget Hollywood movies like Aeon Flux and After Earth as well as less pricey pictures like Skin and The Secret Lives of Bees.
Oyelowo was born to Nigerian parents in London and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. A lot of high profile work followed on stage including a blistering turn as King Henry VI. One of Hollywood’s busiest actors now, Oyelowo who is married with 4 kids, has appeared in small roles in Lincoln, The Butler and Jack Reacher. He also has a role in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming big budget thriller, Interstellar.
Born in Benin Republic in 1964, Honsou moved to France at 13 where a chance encounter with Thierr y Muggler launched a successful career in modelling. He soon made the leap to Hollywood, appearing first in music videos by Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul before making a transition to films. Some of his screen credits include Blood Diamond, Gladiator and In America. He will next be seen in the Fast and the Furious 7.
This time last year, only few people had heard of Nigerian born actress Uzoamaka Aduba. But with the success of the Netflix dramedy Orange is the New Black, Aduba has got deser ved attention for her indelible turn as the inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. She recently won a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Here’s to seeing more of Crazy Eyes.
When it comes to Africans currently making a splash in Hollywood, there is no bigger poster child than Kenyan beauty Lupita Nyong’o. The 31 year old was the breakout star of last year’s awards season run and her fairytale campaign culminated in a best supporting actress Oscar win for her major film debut, 12 Years a Slave, as well as People magazine crowning her as the most beautiful woman alive. She also landed a Vogue magazine cover.
22 year old John, born to Nigerian parents in London received attention from his very first film, the 2011 British sci-fi adventure film, Attack the Block. He was then cast as the curious but lovable houseboy Ugwu in Half of a Yellow Sun where he held his own among stalwarts like Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor. He is currently filming the forthcoming Star Wars Episode VII, the continuation of the beloved saga.
Who is your favourite African actor in Hollywood?? Oluwaponmile Orija finds out..
- Christiana Olabinke
- Abioye Ayodele
- Adeniyi Adenuga
- Ogunsanwo Damilola
- Joyce Amiolemen
Adewale Agbaje Akinnuoye - Bola Gbemibola
Stephanie Okereke - Alexander James
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Tobi Bamuyiwa
- Temitayo Amogunla
The Legal Framework for Defending Intellectual Property Rights Nationally and Internationally – A Film Producer’s Perspective (Part 2)
BY ALEX ENYENGHO ...continued from last edition Broadly speaking, IP is protected in law by these five types, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish. Suffice it to say here that on April 26 every year, WIPO member-nations celebrate the World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of IP in encouraging innovation and creativity. In fact, WIPO celebrated the 2014 edition of World Intellectual Property Day by showcasing our own Half of A Yellow Sun movie in Geneva, Switzerland. Now, let me attempt to, in more specific terms take a cursory look at the legal framework for defending copyright nationally and internationally. The defense of copyright Internationally This task falls largely within the mandate of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the global forum for IP services, policy, information and cooperation. Created in 1967 to encourage creative activity, and promote the protection of Intellectual Property throughout the world, WIPO currently has 187 member states, administers 26 international treaties and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. There are a number of International Treaties and Conventions on copyright. These are: the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), the international convention for the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organizations (“the Rome Convention”). Other Special conventions in the field of related rights, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), the Beijing Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances. Finally, another international agency, the World Trade Organization (WTO) administers, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”). These treaties and agreements now form the foundation of the international copyright system. WIPO member-nations need to sign, ratify and domesticate
these treaties in order to deploy effective legal defense of copyright internationally. Copyright and related rights as anchored by WIPO handles matters like copyright protection, subject matter of copyright protection, rights comprised in copyright, related rights, ownership of copyright, limitations on copyright protection, piracy and infringements, remedies, and IP and traditional cultural expressions. Internationally speaking, WIPO’s role in the enforcement of copyright is primarily consultative – through its enforcement committee. WIPO also offers a well-regarded international arbitration service in the event of disputes over copyright ownership and responds to calls for specific expertise on enforcement, by individual Member States.
take a cursory look presently at some of the Legislations and Regulations (i.e. legal framework) for defending copyright and related rights in Nigeria under NCC. 1. WIPO Treaties: Nigeria is a signatory of 8 out of the 16 WIPO Treaties concerning IP. The copyright-related Treaties signed by Nigeria are the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, of September 1886 as amended in September 1979, the most recent Marrakesh (VIP) Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, of June 2013, the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, of October 1961, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) also adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996. Sadly however, of the 8 treaties Nigeria signed since 1996, Nigeria is yet to ratify and domesticate 2 critical ones (the WCT and the WPPT). Our country’s failure to do so – so far – brings important attendant demerits. 2. Domestically, there are presently 10 statutes – including the Nigerian Copyright Act – governing our copyright legal framework. The most recent of those is the 2012 Copyright Levy on Materials Order, which is designed to bring revenues to rights holders based on private recordings of our works.
The defense of IP nationally Though IP laws are established and enforced by each individual member country of WIPO, it is however instructive to say from the outset that most national IP laws (Legal Framework) were adapted from international (WIPO) laws. In treating this aspect of my paper, my focus shall be on Nigeria, for obvious reasons. In Nigeria, the designated governmental organization established by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to defend copyright is – the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). However, the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry in the Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, défends This legal framework is useful as the other types of IP. the basis for defending copyright and related rights in Nigeria. The Nigerian Copyright Com- However, it is left for the copymission (NCC) right owner to be proactive and I understand that the Direcreactive in ensuring the defense tor-General of the NCC, Afam of these rights, using the availEzekude Esq. will latter on during able legal frameworks in Nigeria. this conference present a paper titled: “The Role of the Nigerian NCC Enforcements: Stakeholders Copyright Commission in Copy- in the creative industry in Nigeria right Protection and the fight have often argued that Nigeagainst Piracy”. For this reason, I ria copyright and related rights will be as brief as possible since laws are one of the best in the most of the issues I would have world. They argue further that raised here are better handled by the problem has always been the first citizen of NCC. Be that enforcement. I cannot agree less as it may, let me proceed by say- with this postulation. Strategies ing that the NCC was established used by NCC include but not by an Act over 16 years ago to limited to test purchase, anti-pidefend and protect copyright racy raid, investigation, court and related rights in Nigeria. In proceedings, and writing to the no particular order, I will now suspected outlet/shop/individ-
ual inviting them but without disclosing reason for the invitation, among others. It is however important to point out that the issue of identification of pirated works rests squarely with the copyright owners and not the NCC. NCC Prosecution: Surprisingly, the NCC under the leadership of its current Director-General, Afam Ezekude Esq., has recorded fairly remarkable pass mark here. Unlike before when NCC was sleeping and snoring, the current NCC, though sleeping but manifestly not snoring, has made remarkable arrest, prosecution and conviction of some of the pirates in Alaba, Idumota, Onitsha, Aba, Owerri and other notorious haven of pirates in Nigeria. Like most Nigerian pirates end films they produce or sponsor, “To God be the glory”. Prosecution of pirates caught in the act in Nigeria takes the twin shape of criminal and civil in the law court. While the copyright owner handles the civil aspect, the NCC, representing the State, handles the criminal aspect. The copyright owner can only handle the criminal suit if he/she gets a fiat from the Attorney-General and Nigeria’s Minister for Justice. However, the copyright owner can simultaneously institute a civil suit against the infringer while the criminal suit is on, with a view to getting damages. Suffice it to say that while the criminal suit can attract a jail sentence, fine or both, a civil suit can only attract damages in favour of the copyright owner. Some salient issues against NCC’s Enforcement/Prosecution policies: Some of the issues against NCC here include but not limited to: terms of sentence being contentiously very small and not exceeding 5 years if found guilty. In fact, no convicted pirate has ever been sentenced beyond 2 years. Additionally, almost all the sentence comes with an option of fine, which can go as low as a ridiculous sum of less than 2 thousand naira or its equivalent of 12 US dollars! There is also the issue of the NCC putting the burden of funding enforcement and prosecution on the copyright owner, which stakeholders have consistently frowned at. In the same vein, there seem to be inadequate feedback mechanism between NCC and stakeholders, particularly its activities at WIPO.
ke I said earlier, copyright and related rights are individual thing. You as a copyright owner must act as a catalyst and breathe the breath of life into these legal frameworks for the defense of copyright and related rights in Nigeria. It is not just about NCC. It is more about you as the copyright owner. In fact, it is irresponsible for you not to protect your copyright at all times!
by 2017, according to a prominent Telecom research company. Amongst this rising tide of mobiles, we are going to see a growing proportion of high-performance smart phones able to stream data-rich content, including large video files such as feature length movies, to a high definition standard good enough to make the experience attractive to the Nigerian consumer. In parallel, the Communications Commission has announced a Distinguished ladies and gentarget of 30% broadband covtlemen, I would now like to say erage by 2017 and as prices to a few words about the legal and the consumer continue to drop, economic challenges ahead of we can expect a fast increase in us: the take-up of tablets and other broadband-enabled devices First challenge: amongst polidelivering e-learning and entercy makers and legislators here tainment contents. and abroad, there is a general perception that copyright is an So, here we are, standing at the obstacle to the development of crossroads. Depending on which new content distribution and path we take, which policies we usage models as well as a neg- formulate and adopt, the rapid ative factor in economic and growth of digital technology social growth. This, as I hope to infrastructures in Nigeria will eidemonstrate, is emphatically not ther deliver us unto a dystopian the case. future with diminishing returns and shrinking economic opporSecond challenge: the widetunities for content creation; or it spread unauthorized making could afford our creative sector available and use of copyrighted – and other allied creative indusworks. Physical medium piracy tries – a chance to shine on the has decimated our business, as world stage and make a major you all know, and as mobile data contribution to our economic, and broadband Internet contin- social and cultural welfare. ues to deploy in Nigeria and the rest of the region, we now face In the light of the challenges I the prospect of pandemic levels have just articulated, I would of unlawful streaming and down- now like to address some speloading of the content we create, cific pleas to the public decision finance and distribute at our own makers in attendance today. risk. Developing, filming, editing, Third challenge: in years to post-producing and selling films come, following in the footsteps for distribution are necessary of Europe, the US and parts of steps in the life cycle of a film. Asia, Nollywood will begin to see In order to be successful in each reduced income from physical stage, the producer imperatively media such as VCD and DVD. At needs to secure significant upthe same time, the very nascent front financial investment. Both nature of the new online Vidinvestors and producers need a eo-on-Demand business models secure legal and commercial enwill mean that earnings from vironment in order to have even those platforms will likely be very the slightest chance of recouping modest to begin with. This dual their investment and – in only effect of technological mutation too few cases, alas – to generate will greatly challenge our capac- a small surplus, which can be ity to invest in new productions, put into future film production. to remain a competitive force in So, if we want more high-end export markets and uphold our productions to come out of this contribution to GDP. industry and make a serious dent on the export markets, earning These three challenges should us foreign currency and other be analysed and addressed in economic benefit, there is a need the context of unprecedented to ensure that the legal frametechnological change: today, the work supports a strong return on digital revolution is confronting investment. the creative industries everywhere in the world, including Ni- Therefore, my first message for geria. According to the Nigerian decision makers is this: CopyCommunications Commission, right is the basic tenet for a long our country, with a population of term, sustainable film production around 170 million, boasted 156 and distribution industry. Withmillion mobile phone subscrip- out strong copyright protection, tions as of October last year, and an industry like ours can invent it is forecast to reach 200 million itself against all odds and get
up on its feet but it can never sustainably break out of the low-budget/low-production-values nexus and make its full contribution to GDP growth.
film requires dedicated production, financing, creative, technical input as well as a tailor-made marketing and distribution plan. Whatever methodology is deployed to manage rights and In order to serve its purpose collect revenues from film exas an incentive to creation and ploitation, it should not ever be creative enterprise, the copyright done at the expense of contracframework must strike a balance tual freedom. Whether collective between protecting the creators management or face-to-face, and producers and establishvalue-based licensing is involved ing reasonable terms under – and any film industry needs which the public has access to both in order to function – the films and audiovisual content in principle of contractual freedom certain circumstances. It must must remain paramount. also offer local and global legal security for the considerable I referred earlier on to the acute financial investment required for issue of piracy in our country. competitive film production and Physical and online piracy is theft distribution. of the intellectual and private property of right holders, includFilm producers consider that ing producers. Piracy weakens copyright is the indispensable Nollywood’s ability to continue establishing infrastructure for to create, finance and distribute any film community to grow, to films, and therefore to respond thrive and to make its full contri- to public demand for contents bution to a country’s culture and or to contribute to GDP and job economy. Any changes to our creation. Now comes my third own national copyright law and message to our Government to the international copyright and others around the world: system must therefore be prewe call on you to help us ensure ceded by in-depth reflection on that appropriate measures are in the impact on the film industry place, and to make the enforceas a strategic cultural and ecoment of such measures a priority nomic sector. Therefore, I urge so that illegal activities which the Nigerian Copyright Commis- undermine our sustainability as sion and Government to consult a creative sector, be more effecagain with Nollywood and other tively discouraged. Innovative keynote cultural industries in public awareness campaigns Nigeria on the current review of should be considered as part of our copyright law. I call on them this, especially those aimed at to commit to an open and fair educating younger Nigerians to process of consultation with our the importance of copyright for creative industries. I also urge their own future employment them to consider the urgent prospects. As far as the emerneed to ratify the WIPO Treaties gent online film content econand that the rights we producomy goes, we also believe that ers need in order to engage in governments are indispensible the high-risk business of film partners to foster cooperation content, be suitably updated with Internet service providers to reflect technological change to address the rampant illegal and evolving forms of consumer practices offline and online as uses – I refer in particular to the well as raising public awareness right-of-making available to the about the negative impact on public, which we crucially need our creative sectors of unauthorized making available and use in order to make secure our of copyrighted works. Let me be transactions with the fast grow- clear: the future of Nollywood as ing number of video-on-demand a long-term sustainable busiplatforms dedicated to Nollyness will depend on our ability wood contents. to license legally to the growing number of VoD platforms which My second message to policy are helping internationalise the makers is this: the exercise of market for our films. These legal exclusive rights and contractuplatforms will not survive unless al freedom is vital for creating, their business can be efficiently financing and distributing films protected from the unfair comat home and abroad. Contracpetition from pirate websites. If tual freedom and the possibility these legal platforms should fail to exercise exclusive rights on a due to the proliferation of those title-by-title basis is essential to pirates, we will eventually be left the kind of latitude which film with no local content industry at producers and distributors need all; we will have to rely increasin order to ensure the optimal ingly on imports from other exploitation and exposure of countries and a historic opporeach film – and this to the bene- tunity for owning our own narrafit of all the financial and creative tives and enriching our country contributors to a film. No two will be foreclosed. films are ever the same and each
My fourth message to Government concerns the hotly debated issue of exceptions and limitations to copyright. We are aware that Member States at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) are discussing whether there should be additional or mandatory exceptions to copyright. ANCOP, like all the other constituent organisations in FIAPF, believes that exceptions and limitations are part of the inherent balance in copyright laws, which is already present in the existing international copyright treaties and our own national law. Current international legislation and case law worldwide demonstrate the flexibility and pragmatism of copyright laws as they stand and their ability to protect the financial and creative investment in copyright works while at the same time ensuring
that the public can enjoy these works in multiple ways.
that international standards are well and truly in place in foreign countries where our national I call on the Nigerian Governfilms are exported in ever larger volumes. I therefore re-iterate ment to consider very carefully their position on Copyright my earlier invitation for our Government to ratify WIPO’s internaissues at WIPO, especially with regard to exceptions and limita- tional treaties, in particular WCT tions to copyright. I urge our de- and WPPT, and to promote their cision makers to formulate their ratification in our continent and WIPO strategy through open, further. direct and ongoing consultations with our industry and to take our In closing, I want to remind you views into account as a growing of what I said earlier on: the big headline we can derive from the force in the national economy. new estimates by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics is that we’re My final message is this: now an industry worth $3.3 billion, producing over 1,800 We are fast mutating into an films a year. We can choose to industry with global export potential. Our growth will there- be irresponsible about this, feed fore hinge on being able to rely our collective ego on this heady figure and decide to deny that on consistent legal security for challenges exist. Or we can be our contents everywhere on the planet: we therefore need, responsible and focus instead
on the very real risk that this industry’s future is very far from secure. So long as we do not control our rights, so long as we’re not able to control their use inside secure and transparent distributions networks, we will fail to return a sufficient proportion of the economic value generated by our activities back where it belongs: in the remuneration of those who work in our industry and in the pool of working capital necessary to make us sustainable and competitive. I wish to thank you all for your attention and for the opportunity to reflect on the film industry’s current opportunities and challenges nationally and internationally.
SEPTEMBER CELEBRATIONS 1 Vincent Opurum 13 Monalisa Chinda 21 Mike Ezuruonye 23 Majid Michael 25 Jim Iyke 29 Joke Silva
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PICTURES FROM THE SET OF
HALF OF A YELLLOW SUN
L Y D I A F
“The only way to unite Africa is through film.“
COVER INTERVIEW Acting: nature or nurture? I think it’s a bit of both. No matter how talented you are, the only way to improve is to build on your craft.
How did your parents react to your chosen career?
back to school, it would have to be for something specific and absolutely necessary.
Do you plan to go behind the scenes soon?
I’ve been working behind the scenes for years but I’ve just never been public about it. I’ve written a lot of scripts and done I’m very lucky to have the parents that I have. Unlike most, I was associate producing. In fact, I’ve always worked on all the scripts always encouraged to do what I felt most comfortable doing. I think my parents always knew I would end up doing something in of movies I’ve been in. This year I’m set to premiere my first self the arts, so when the subject of acting came up, it didn’t come as produced movie called A Letter From Adam and I’m excited for people to see it. a surprise.
Beyond acting, do you have a side hustle or has acting been able to pay all That’s hard to say. I can’t say I haven’t had low points but it’s hard the bills? What would you consider as one of of your lowest points as an actress? to pin one down as the lowest.
Acting in Africa isn’t as lucrative as it is in the West but I find it almost offensive when people ask what else I do apart of acting. I What does success mean to you as an actress; a challenging lead role in a wonder if people ask bankers or lawyers what else they do aside low budget film or a small role featuring alongside international stars in a from their careers. When you understand your brand as a celebrity you will always have something to do. Showbiz goes beyond your big budget blockbuster? art, once you’re a brand, the opportunities are limitless and they It would be hypocritical to say that the idea of working alongside keep you occupied and paid, even if it isn’t enough. international stars isn’t tempting but for me it’s not about how big or small my role is in a movie. It’s about the significance of my Since you have started acting, what is your weirdest experience with a character to the story and how good the story is itself.
I’ve had a lot of weird encounters and I think it still hasn’t sunk in. I ask myself: I, Lydia Forson, can have such an effect on an individuIf I have, I don’t know about it. Probably no one has been bold enough to tell me to my face. I have, however, had people on rare al? I think one of the most surreal encounters was when a fan wanted to take a picture with me and was so starstruck that he occasions make references to my size or colour and how I would started to tremble. It felt like a movie. I still can’t believe that be making more headway in my career if I were fair or happened to me but it’s humbling to know you have such an skinny. On the subject though, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a director casting someone because of their colour or effect on people. size, if the reason fits the story. The only problem I would have is if they do this because they feel one colour or size is better than the If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? Nothing. Everything I’ve been through has led me up to this point. other. Although, I’m not where I want to be, I feel I’m where I’m supposed to be because this is my journey and my story. What does beauty mean to you?
Have you lost jobs because you were not ‘fair’ or ‘skinny’?
I think beauty is basically how a person feels about themselves. This may sound a little metaphorical but that’s what I’ve grown to believe. How you feel about yourself reflects on how others view you. If you think and believe you’re beautiful, it will show in everything you do.
If you were not an actress, what would you be doing? I would definitely be fully dedicated to my charity work and any other NGO that would have me. I love charities because I feel the joy they bring people is priceless.
Have you ever been harassed on set before?
What is the next big thing for Lydia Forson?
Not that I can recall. When I walk into any environment, I lay my ground rules. It’s not always verbal but by my actions, you will know I have very low tolerance for disrespectful and bad behaviour. People always treat you the way you allow them to.
Any plans to settle down soon and start a family?
Congrats on a successful reign as AMAA ambassador, how did this experience impact your career? Thank you. It felt like a validation of some sort because no matter how much, artistes will play the ‘humility card’. We all like a little recognition at some point. Truth is, every artiste creates a brand for themselves even if it’s not deliberate. And sometimes the brand you have may or may not be a good one depending on others. And so AMAA made me feel like I was doing something right.
Acting in Ghollywood and Nollywood...any difference? Both countries have a lot more in common than we think. Obviously, Ghana is easier for me because it’s my country and I’m probably more easily understood. However, Nigeria is more fast paced and can tend to be a little overwhelming but that adds to the thrill somehow.
Who would you love to wrk with in the future? I have a long list. I’d rather not say, so I don’t get into trouble. It’s a very long list; I’m greedy like that.
What inspires you as an artiste? Life. I’ve probably said this too many times and it maybe getting tiring but I love life--its twists and turns and how unpredictable it can be sometimes.
Do you intend to go back to school for training anytime soon? I think improving on your talent is important but I don’t feel the need to get a certificate to prove how good I am. If I ever do go
I don’t know and that’s the beauty of life. But I’m excited to see where God takes me next.
I don’t believe in putting a time on such things. I’m one of the few people you would meet who doesn’t dwell on this subject. I don’t consider it a requirement or a validation of my worth as a woman or human being. Marriage and kids are great but in the end it shouldn’t define who you are.
Describe your ideal man. A respectful man. Respect is the most important thing in a relationship to me. A man who respects you will love you the way you should be loved.
What are your hopes for African cinema? I hope I live to see a more united African cinema. The only way to unite Africa is through film.
What is your favourite African film of all time or top three? I’m terrible at favourites and choices. I like too many things all at once.
What advice do you have for those wanting to pursue a career in acting? You have to stay true to who you are no matter what. You will get a lot of NOs for it but when you do get that YES, it will all be worth it.
What was the last movie you watched? Despicable Me 2.
INTERVIEW: OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA PHOTO: COURTESY OF LYDIA FORSON
The Challenges of Making a Historical Film in Nollywood BY IKECHUKWU OBIAYA FOR THE NOLLYWOOD STUDIES CENTRE
What is an epic film? This is the question that the producer/director, Lancelot Imasuen, set out to answer as an introduction to the topic, “The Challenges of Making a Historical Film in Nollywood: Invasion 1897 as a Case Study.” The occasion was the August edition of the Filmmakers’ Forum of the Nollywood Studies Centre. On that occasion, he spoke at length about his new film, Invasion 1897, a film based on the invasion of the Benin Kingdom by the British. According to Mr. Imasuen, the genre of the epic film is common worldwide, but the term is largely misrepresented in Nigeria. People erroneously see it as just “a style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope and spectacle, often transporting the viewer to settings of old.” Those that hold this view consequently equate the epic to a showing of mud houses, large crowds, and people dressed in raffia palm skirts. But the true epic is not limited to this; rather, it deals with themes that are of historical, national, religious, or legendary importance and uses an elevated style to celebrate heroic accomplishments. Mr. Imasuen indicated that his desire to make epic style films is motivated by the wish to draw out important events from the past, and to relate the problems and solutions of the past to present realities. Lancelot Imasuen then went on to speak about the challenges of making a historical film in Nigeria. In talking about such challenges, he said, one must begin by considering the general problems of the country and the common problems that face the Nigerian filmmaker. The Nigerian filmmaker has to contend with the lack of access to public places for shoots; the absence of funding from financial institutions; the drought of trained film professionals; and the non-existence of structures such as sound stages and film villages. All these make it particularly challenging to produce a historical film in Nigeria. To make an appealing and believable epic film, the filmmaker said, requires in-depth research in order to come up with authentic period costumes, makeup and scenery. This, in turn, requires well trained professionals that know what to do and can effectively and convincingly create the right atmosphere for the film. Unfortunately, he said, the bulk of filmmakers in the Nigerian film industry – among whom he included himself – had not had the opportunity to sit in a film class. Most of them, he noted, were largely passion driven. Thus, the required skills were often hard to come by. But the absence of funding turns out to be one of the greater challenges. A convincing epic film is necessarily a big budget film, Mr. Imasuen noted. He said about six million Naira had been spent on research alone for Invasion 1897. In addition the recreation of the historical period concerned required a heavy investment in the construction of props. He noted, for instance, that the ship used in Invasion 1897 had to be built from scratch. This involved felling a tree for the purpose. The guns and the canon that appear in the film were also produced under the supervision of the police. Thus, he said, 90% of his budget was spent on the crew and props. In response to a question about whether he would consider his latest offering a ‘new Nollywood’ film, Lancelot Imasuen vigorously affirmed, “Invasion 1897 is a Nollywood film!” He dispensed with the adjective ‘new,’ noting that the changes in Nollywood are merely developmental ones, which were inevitable in any case. “Maybe it’s that Nollywood has come of age,” he said, “and people can [now] distinguish between good and bad.” Invasion 1897 will be premiered in Toronto at the Toronto Africa Film and Music Festival, in August 2014, and the Nigerian cinema release will take place on the 1st of October, 2014.
Read every edition on www.nollysilverscreen.com
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Journalists rewarded in maiden edition of AMAA Media Recognition Awards
Akintayo Abodunrin of the Nigerian Tribune has emerged top in the maiden edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards Media Recognition awards. He emerged the biggest winner with a $3000 dollars cash prize when the winners were announced among the 10 finalists during the Africa Film Academy Charity and Praise Night at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Collins Ukaonu of Galaxy TV, Isabella Akinseye of Nolly Silver Screen, Akintayo Abodunrin of Tribune, Funke Osae-Brown of Businessday, Biodun Kupoluyi of E24-7 magazine
Akintayo’s winning entry titled ‘Catalyst to greatness: How AMAA aided their rise to the top’ led the pack and was described by Dr. Ifeoma Amobi of the Department of Mass Communications, University of Lagos as the entry that “captures and embodies the very reason for the existence of AMAA as an enabler of professionalism and success for motion picture practitioners. AMAA celebrates creative and artistic excellence and winning an AMAA awards catapults winners to a new height in their careers. Akintayo’s entry interrogates and reviews the progression in the careers of past winners of AMAA in the last 10 years and the impact the award had on each and every one of them using their own testimonies. It was delivered in a very lucid and elegant language devoid of any ambiguity.”
Funke Osae-Brown of Businessday came second with $2000 dollars cash prize with her entry ‘Peace Anyiam-Osigwe on a show beyond the continent’ while Biodun Kupoluyi of E247 Magazine and Isabella Akinseye of Nolly Silver Screen tied for 3rd position with cash prize of $1500 dollars each. Collins Ukaonu of Galaxy Television and Njenga Micugu of Nairobi Digest won the two consolation prizes of $1000 dollars each. The AMAA Media Recognition Awards was designed to celebrate journalists in Africa who have helped to project the awards and the motion picture industry to the rest of the world. AMAA’s Media recognition awards 3-man committee was coordinated by Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the Chairman of AMAA 2014 Jury. Other members of the screening panel for the media award were Thisday newspaper columnist, Mrs. Onoshe Nwabuikwu and Dr. Ifeoma Amobi of the department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos.
Award winning director KENNETH GYANG talks to Isabella Akinseye about his filmmaking journey, touring the world with Confusion Na Wa and his next big project Tell us about your journey into filmmaking?
lot of things about film and formed the ba- constructive or brain tasking.” By Nigerian My journey into the real world of filmmaking sic foundation of my knowledge in this craft. higher institution standards too, the school was considered expensive. So imagine started right after my secondary school. I spending so much money on a child to get a got an admission to study Scripting, Was your decision supported by your family? worthless expensive education. That was the Producing and Directing at the National My mother had cold feet at first. Most feeling at home but later on, my mum went Film Institute in Jos. There, I met a lot of people around had their children enrolling all gung-ho in her support for me and I was smart students who really understand what into regular institutions of higher learning glad she was around on stage with me to film is about. We used to run mini sessions to study regular courses. An uncle of mine of film critique, taking on deep films from thought going to study film was like going collect the prestigious Best Film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. I wouldn’t really ‘world cinema’ and trying to deconstruct in to study theatre arts “where they just say I let her investment down in that regard. them. It was fun. That opened my eyes to a dance and dance without doing anything
What informed your choice of studying in Nigeria? First of all, it was the money. When internet first came into the country there was a popular college website called Fastweb. Those guys can link you up with so many schools in America. I used to click on a lot of film schools in America and their brochures came in droves into my post office box but their school fees were outrageous. Thirty to forty thousand dollars is something my mum could genuinely not afford. Then I enrolled into the National Film Institute after seeing its poster accidentally. Today, I am really glad to have studied here in Nigeria at the NFI because going abroad would have meant those guys taking all the credit for what I have been able to achieve today. My staying will also encourage other upcoming filmmakers to know that film can really be studied in Nigeria and they don’t need to run their hair bald trying to raise those outof-the-world fees.
It was our first application ever to a funding agency and voila! We got it.They were really impressed with the script that they recommended us to Durban which was how our project got selected to be part of the Durban FilmMart in 2010.
What was casting process like?
Easy. Our partner and cinematographer Yinka Edward knows how to get in touch with Ramsey whom he had worked with on The Figurine. We sent Ramsey the script and later learnt he read it on his way to America and when he landed, he called Yinka at the airport to tell us he wants to be in the film. OC Ukeje, Ali Nuhu, Gold Ikpommwosa and Toyin Oshinake are people I worked with on set of the BBC TV series Wetin Dey. We gave them the script and they all bought into the idea of being in the film. The script was our biggest selling point; we didn’t have to try hard to convince the actors. Tunde Aladese is an excellent writer who has been the head writer of MNET’s Tinsel. She is beautiful and How will you rate the education and training you never had any film acting experience but she took out time from her busy writing received? schedule to be in the film as Isabella. She I can’t rate the education and training I won Best Supporting Actress at the Nigerian received here because I think my works Entertainment Awards in New York so I hope should enable people rate me based on she will start thinking of the possibilities of what they see and think. I am of the opinion being an actress. that people look down on the quality of film education we receive in Nigeria, whether out Any memorable on set experience as director? of ignorance or low self esteem. I rememLots of memories but how about the shockber meeting a well trained lawyer in some ing Abuja bomb blast on the first day of my Abuja bank and she recognised me from a shoot? program she had seen on TV with her husband. In watching the program, they had discussed how Nigerians will keep on churn- Since the movie premiered, what has the response been like? ing out low quality productions based on the ‘small boy’ they are seeing on TV. When When the programme of the New York African Film Festival was presented to the we had a small conversation and she realised the countries I showcased my films and Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio to select a film he would like to see at the 2014 where I had been to through filmmaking, she changed her opinion and said I should edition of the festival, he selected Confuhave mentioned all of that in the program. sion Na Wa! He came to watch the film with his wife at the prestigious Lincoln Centre. I think it is colonial mentality that we think you have be out there in Europe or America Since the film’s premiere, it has got fantastic reception from Nigeria and beyond and I to be good in whatever field you’re in. No am not talking like a Nigerian filmmaker that disrespect to the ones who are going but I wants to talk up his film. The reviews were think this profession is all about what you highly positive and it finished as one of top can do creatively and not about paper CV. ten African and Nigerian films of 2013. It Your education does not matter because over the years, in the history of filmmaking, won Best Film at the Africa Movie Academy there are a lot of people who learnt the art Awards and Nollywood Movie Awards and Jury Award at the Pan African Film Festival in of the craft in their living rooms and Los Angeles. The film has shown in several garages. cities like Rio de Janeiro, Paris and was the opening film of New York African Film Tell us about the development of Confusion Na Festival 2014.
Confusion Na Wa was written by Tom Rowlands-Rees and myself. It was the script that encouraged us to form the production company Cinema Kpatakpata, the basic foundation we needed in order to apply for funding which we did from the Netherlands.
How were you able to raise funding for the project? After forming the production company we started looking around for bodies who give grants to filmmakers around the world. World Cinema Fund of the Berlinale Film Festival in Germany was complicated because you have to get a German partner/ producer. We were part of the Berlinale Talent Campus which was where I met my collaborator Tom but the wahala was getting a German so we opted for Hubert Bals Fund.
audiences from different parts of the world give the same reaction to the film makes me realise that the collaboration that gave birth to Cinema Kpatakpata has not been disappointing.
Have you been able to break even and make profit? Despite the film being yanked off the Nigerian theatre because of disagreements over distribution, I will say yes. I think at the moment we have broken even and the film is not out on DVD yet and we’re yet to explore some of our distribution alternatives.
How influential will you say your AMAA win has been in the distribution of the film? I am not sure there is a bigger film awards event in Africa than the AMAAs. Before your readers will start screaming that they know one or two, a film festival is different from a single night of film awards and in that regard, no one comes to the Africa Movie Academy Awards. We didn’t have enough money for publicty and we know that if only we could get into AMAA and win it, people will sit up and take notice. It was unbelievable. I am sure that a lot of people were shocked that a little known film won until they sat down to watch the work put into making the film. In conclusion, I would say we weren’t happy with the distribution because some cinemas showed it on DVD and even though they didn’t use the specified format they asked us for the film’s showcase, it was still able to gather a lot of interest.
Advice for upcoming filmmakers? Keep watching a lot of films and study the craft of storytelling both on paper and in films. Without a solid screenplay, your film will never make the grade.
Tell us about your new project? We are currently working on a project called This Is Lagos. It is a gangster film layered with music. I dare say the script is better than Confusion Na Wa.
Why, Lagos? Lagos to me has the potential to look stunning in a film like the way you see Rio de Janeiro. People wear masks in Lagos, pretending to be what they are not in different places. The hustle and bustle of the city will serve as a massive backdrop in telling our story.
When will you start production? Once we have all the finances in place. At the moment we are expecting to get some money from Project ACT Nollywood. The money won’t be enough to cover our production but at least it will be a huge leap forward.
What has it been like taking the film around the globe? It has been wonderful touring the world with it. It will show in Edinburgh next and Portland. I was pleasantly amazed when Ford Foundation sponsored me through the Institute of International Education to showcase the film in Brazil in the company of illustrious filmmakers like Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Newton Aduaka and Tunde Kelani. Touring the world is not the only pleasure, sitting in a theatre and seeing how different
Who are some of your role models? Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.
What is your favourite line from a movie? “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” from Gone With The Wind.
If you were not a filmmaker, what would you be doing? Journalism. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KENNETH GYANG
FEATURE 20 The digital rise of African and Caribbean entertainment – a changing industry “There’s nothing to watch on TV” – a phrase bandied around more often than not across generations, across continents. It’s amazing considering there’s so much content, but with programmes ranging from reality to game shows across TV channels, the want for something more interesting and dramatic has increased. People want something new and fresh or so to speak so it’s no surprise that there has been a rise of Video on Demand content being produced for the masses who can’t find anything to watch on TV. With the likes of Netflix and LoveFilm mesmerising people with interesting and often exclusive content, it was only a matter of time before the African Caribbean population demanded content for themselves – channels that spoke to them and told their stories. There’s been a supply to that demand from industry leaders, iRoko and Ibaka offering all things African from TV shows to films, featuring movies in particular from the second largest film industry in the world – Nollywood. With the rise of this industry, the increase in demand for content has of course risen with it – Africans prove that they cannot be left behind in the digital movement and most certainly not in terms of the entertainment they require. Emerging and established online platforms for African content see to it that this is not the case, however, there still remains a conspicuous lack of Caribbean content. One of the first platforms to provide streaming and downloadable content from Africa and The Caribbean to a global audience is Udala, providing content in both English and French, therefore catering to the wider scope of African and Caribbean audiences. With a target audience that had seemingly been overlooked, Udala has set itself apart as a new platform offering more – wider outreach, exclusive content and home grown productions for their audiences across the Afro-Caribbean world. The African/Caribbean entertainment landscape has been changing drastically and continues to evolve at a rapid speed. Nollywood churns out films at the rate of 40 films per week at an average cost of $40,000 per project. Nollywood has built itself into a $590m industry in less than two decades. Along with Nollywood is the rapid growth of home grown content, from TV shows in South Africa to Kenya to original African web series being produced online and showcased on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, the interest and demand are obvious. “A variety of challenges has haunted Nollywood since inception, but two of the most important challenges spoken about in Nollywood 10 years ago were poor distribution, and piracy. The important challenges everyone is still speaking about in Nollywood 10 years later are poor distribution and piracy,” wrote technology strategist Jide Rotilu in an article published on CP-Africa, further highlighting the bigger danger posed by torrent sites, a more cut-throat form of piracy that transcends beyond the one-man hawker. It’s for this reason that the rise of VOD platforms and particularly subscription based VOD channels are becoming popular with both industry professionals and audiences alike. iRoko in particular is a platform that has garnered itself a following and has often been labelled the ‘Netflix of Africa’ for having responded to the growing demand of bringing African entertainment closer to our homes, as well as the likes of platforms like Ibaka, Dobox, TV Nolly and Afrinolly. Most of these existing platforms have made it possible for users to stream movies on both a free and pay-as-you-go service. Udala, the newcomer to the scene, comes in targeting a whole new audience setting itself apart from the other existing platforms. Catering to both French and English speakers means Udala has tapped into a once overlooked audience. Udala offers its viewers exclusive entertainment that is produced solely for Udala and its audience. So we come back to the fact that it has become quite commonplace in the past decade or two for people to complain that there is nothing on TV. The ability to watch a programme from any device anywhere at any time is a luxury that VOD provides. There is a new, complex way of watching television: tailored to the needs and desires of consumers. There are many pros to this movement including the growth in entertainment that is made for Africans and Caribbeans; media that is therefore relatable rather than just the mainstream. Also, the convenience it brings to viewers to watch whenever and wherever. Having said that, there are also cons; from pricing to supply and demand across the growing number of platforms as well as the inevitable need for internet connection which could prove to be a slight hindrance. In conclusion, it is safe to say that online video viewing is growing and is likely to draw more visitors than the traditional type of viewing. Looking at Africa and the Caribbean in particular, there are large numbers out there frustrated as they do not see their lives reflected in the more mainstream media. With the rise of the ‘Me’ generation using social media, engaging with and creating content as well as sharing their opinions means online, VOD platforms will continue to grow and continue to strive to meet the demands of an ever evolving consumer, across the globe. -MPONA LEBAJOA
photo N E W S
Winners emerge in GoTV Facebook Challenge Sodiq Yusuf
Chukwudi Precious Ebuka
Amstel Malta Act the Part winner Bola Suru meets Genevieve Nnaji
Bola Suru getting glammed up
Bola Suru and Genevieve Nnaji
Group pic with Amstel Malta brand team
A quick glass of Amstel Malta before dinner
INTERVIEW Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
Not really, I only settled for filmmaking 8 years ago. I started off as a Chartered Accountant after a decade of working very long hours. I went to De Montfort University to do a Business Studies degree specialising in marketing as I already have a financial background. Five years after graduation, I then realised I wanted to make films. Although, for the last 18 years, I have written poems, songs and many short stories.
What inspires you as a creative professional?
This might sound weird but I am inspired by the struggles human beings have to go through in life just to survive. Their smiles, laughter, cry, hope, stories and how simplistic they make life seem to others around them. So, my creative mind is the voices of many through me and my professionalism is something I develop everyday as I live.
How did your training prepare you for a career in film?
Q and A with
KUNLE ODUNEWU BY EBUNOLUWA MORDI
Well! I was excited when I got to film school in Canada and I was on the ball soon as we started lectures. At the time, I didn’t like editing because I sometimes edited with my DJ friend many years ago and we can be in the studio for hours. With film, it can be for months. They told me it was compulsory and there was no ground to argue, so I did it grudgingly. For me, that was the highlight of my training. Now, I have the advantage to produce a film independently from start to finish all alone. The down side to that is that it will take forever, but you know what I mean?
Do you feel a sense of belonging?
I am a great fan of Nollywood and I love watching Nollywood films. This is quite a funny question because before I went to film school, In fact I just saw Pampe Aye some days ago. Therefore, I won’t claim or deny whether I belong to Nollywood because creativity of my strongest thing was writing and directing. So I am for both. all kinds needs to be appreciated.
Writing vs directing?
Who are your role models?
I have a thing for people who stand for what they believe in but I am not a radical. My role models are Wole Soyinka, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Mandela, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo and a whole lot more.
How financially rewarding has the journey been?
I don’t put money before anything I do. I understand money is a factual necessity but when you make money your priority or primary focus in everything you do, it becomes a problem.
Share with us your current projects?
I just completed a short film called iSabi which is an idea that started as a joke. I then wrote a script around it and produced the first episode of many to come. You can see the film on www.realsolidproductions.com/new-release/ I am also releasing a documentary soon titled Expect the Unexpected which is about my initial experiences when I first arrived in Nigeria May 2014.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Challenges is an everyday occurrence in life and we all deal with them differently. We just need to love one another and stop being I think you have been spying on me. I did a documentary about my coming back to Nigeria and I had to talk on camera for the first hypocrites, then the world will have less challenges. time. It was a very challenging experience but I had fun.
Any plans to go in front of the camera soon?
Where do you see yourself in the next three years?
If you were to choose an alternative career, what would it be and why?
I wanted to play basketball in the NBA or I would have been a full time basketball coach because I love basketball and teaching is another passion of mine.
What are your views on Nollywood?
I hope to be in Nigeria permanently doing what I love doing the most which is filmmaking. Nigeria is a beautiful place to make films.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Do not judge a book by its cover. I have stuck by that advice ever since I was 15 and most of what I am today is because I try to love everybody I meet wholeheartedly.
I appreciate Nollywood. I am very proud of the great achievements it has made to date but I think its time to make a change to Nolly- What is your favourite line from a movie? “You always want what you want when you want it” from Love wood. Jones. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KUNLE ODUNEWU
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NOLLY POP BY INNOCENT EKEJIUBA
1. Which country has the oldest movie industry in Africa? 2. What does AMAA stand for? 3. Which year was The Gods Must be Crazy produced? 4. Which African film has won an Academy Award (Oscar)?
Up Close and Personal with
Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju
STARRING IN DAZZLING MIRAGE
It was definitely one of the best experiences in my career. A senior colleague recommended me to Tunde Kelani and he gave me the novel. Besides being excited about working with Uncle TK, I was drawn to the story. It was a huge mix...exciting, demanding, revealing and most importantly, a learning process. I had so many talented and experienced people around me so I was in a safe place. Uncle TK was very understanding and patient. He pushed me to do more.
FROM INSURANCE TO THEATRE
Well, it’s not a surprise that I am here. I’ve always been in love with performing. I was very active on stage as a child and loved (still love) speaking in front of people. So I would say it was bound to happen anyway.
STAGE VS SCREEN
5. The actor who played Richard Churchill in Half of a Yellow Sun is from which country? 6. List five African film festivals.
I am an actor and I would perform on all platforms as the job demands. I love what I do so it really doesn’t matter whether it’s theatre or film.
NOLLYWOOD IN TEN YEARS
I’m very excited about the Nigerian movie industry. Quality pictures, good stories and excellent acting are taking the forefront. More exciting is the rise of the next generation. So in a decade, I suspect that our industry would be a major game changer in the world.
FAVOURITE NOLLYWOOD MOVIE
Amaka Igwe’s Violated. I still remember the first time I watched it.
LAST NOLLYWOOD DVD PURCHASE Torn by Moses Inwang and I loved it!
7. Nollywood is to Nigeria as Riverwood is to which African country? 8. Who is the director of Timbuktu? 9. What does AMVCA stand for? 10. Who is the president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria?
I’m passionate about casting and producing. In fact there are other sides to me; I teach improvisation in Drama at the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts. I’m also a global shaper with the World Economic Forum.
I’m currently working on producing a stage play The Wives with Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw, Jide Kosoko and Iretiola Doyle. I have other projects in the oven.
My professional life and my personal life go hand in hand but there are times I have to separate one completely from the other.
Being selected by the American government to attend the International Visitors Leadership program. It was wonderful. I met people, attended workshops and grew tremendously.
Learn to be flexible, work on your body and remember that less is more. Hardwork, consistency and determination. INTERVIEW: INNOCENT EKEJIUBA PHOTO: COURTESY OF KEMI LALA AKINDOJU
REVIEWS Title: Finding Mercy Genre: Trailer Director: Desmond Elliot Year: 2013
Desmond Elliot is no new kid on the Nollywood block, so when I came across the trailer of his latest effort – Finding Mercy, I expected a fairly good job. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. The actor cum director cum producer seems to improving his craft by the day and this is evidenced in this Denziot production. From the opening scene to the last credits, it is apparent that Elliot understands the craft of good storytelling. There is a good balance of dramatic scenes (yes, we have kissing, crying, shouting, threatening and the likes) as well as dialogue that moves the plot forward.
Every scene that appears in the barely two minutes montage is there for a reason. We see all the major characters (Desmond Elliot, Uti Nwachukwu, Rita Dominic, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha, Tamara Eteimo, Dabota Lawson, Abiola Segun-Williams, Oyindamola Lanpejo and Blossom Chuks-Chukwujekwu) in full action. We actually get an insight into their characters and mannerisms in the few shots.
The sound is also properly mixed and you can actually hear the dialogue and background music. The graphics are also well done and not too heavy on the eyes. My only grouse with this trailer is that some parts of it suffer from poor lighting; something which I have realised is very common in Nollywood movies. The ending of the trailer sums it up when Jato says, “She [Mercy] is my life” and somehow, you just want to believe him. Verdict – You would enjoy watching Finding Mercy if you want a ‘different’ storyline with tried and tested actors alongside new fresh faces. - ISABELLA AKINSEYE
Title: Half of a Yellow Sun Genre: Feature film Director: Biyi Bandele Year: 2014 Biyi Bandele’s Half of A Yellow Sun attempts to tell a love story with the backdrop of the Biafran war. I don’t know whether it is because we are watching the edited version in Nigeria but his adaptation of the novel leaves me yearning for more – more love, more war and more emotion. It seems like some of the foreign actors came on set to look pretty, recite lines and pack up their bags. The Nigerian cast fare better. The music, set design and costume all score big points but don’t make up for the predictable screenplay and unexciting directing. - ISABELLA AKINSEYE
Title: Sensitive Skin (1&2) Genre: Documentary Director: Wana Udobang Year: 2014 Sensitive Skin explores primarily the life and challenges of Gloria, a patient of psoriasis and secondarily, the documentary focuses on the emotional challenges of sensitive skin conditions. But even when the documentary was seeking to be the voice of people living with sensitive skin conditions, it fails to offer alternatives for the not-so-enlightened and not-so-wealthy persons. This simply asks: Is the documentary fixated on showing the life of a lady who is fortunate enough to manage her condition or is it aimed at helping those emotionally destroyed by sensitive skin conditions to rise stronger as the theme song ‘Stronger’ preaches? - INNOCENT EKEJIUBA Title: Render to Caesar Genre: Crime Thriller Director: Desmond Ovbiagele Year: 2014 ‘The police is your friend’ rings true in Desmond Ovbiagele’s N100 million debut feature Render to Caesar. Caesar (Lucky Ejim) is the enemy and the cops played by Gbenga Akinnagbe and Wale Ojo are on a mission to stop his havoc. Thankfully, the actors killed it (excuse the pun). Filled with suspense, action, set pieces and one coincidence too many, the movie shows promise for more Nollywood cop flicks. Unfortunately, the colourist and special effects team are found wanting. So is the set designer of Vixen’s show. While there are translations for pidgin, none are given for the French dialogue. - ISABELLA AKINSEYE Title: Verdict Genre: Short Film Director: Stanlee Ohikhuare Year: 2014 As expected, Stanlee doesn’t fail to fully portray his message with as less elements as possible. Here, Stanlee gives an absurdist treatment to the absurd explanation given by the US Army on the rape and death of La Vena Johnson. However, this Oscar befitting short film fails to take into due consideration the primary audience. With near perfect acting and directing, Stanlee might have just wasted resources on an issue that holds little or no importance to his immediate community. Unless if his immediate community is the Army of the United States of America. Aside that, this is a masterpiece. - INNOCENT EKEJIUBA
Title: Devil In The Detail Genre: Feature Film Director: Shirley Frimpong-Manso Year: 2014
I am not a pervert like that). The most impressive thing was the sound design. There was hardly any background music used and this was just perfect. And when there is music, it’s well-chosen and placed.
Synopsis A happy marriage gets shaken to its roots when suspicions of infidelity sets in.
The Acting With a story which relied very much on some really important emotions, this would have been a failure with the wrong cast. But this was a well-chosen and enjoyable cast.
The Story Latenight phone calls, smirks while texting a friend, roses showing up at your door for your wife and lying about being at work. All this were the signs Ben saw that led to the conclusion that his wife Helen was cheating on him. The only problem is things don’t ‘always’ seem the way they look.
Devil In The Detail is a romantic drama written by one of Ghana and Africa’s most recognized and outstanding female filmmakers Shirley Frimpong-Manso. The movie tells a story we have seen before with a brilliant twist in the end where the audience turn into the script writers and we have to write our own version of the movie’s ending. While some movie goers felt the movie didn’t have a closure, I believe it ended perfectly. Just like Kunle Afolayan’s The Figurine and Christopher Nolan’s Inception, its intention is to spur a debate and keep people talking about the movie.
Ama Ampofo was annoying, believable, seductive and emotional when all were demanded from her and she was splendid. It’s hard to believe this is her first ever movie role. We will definitely be seeing a lot more of her. Adjety Anang also did a nice job but I felt he could have been more flexible. He probably had only three facial expressions in the movie. And lastly, Ntse Etim. Arguably the best actress in Nollywood right now. Although this is not her best performance I have seen, (that I think is Broken) but she was the best actor in the movie.
Right from the opening scene, sex was established as the central device. As a matter of fact, I have forgotten the number of sex scenes I saw in the movie. But after a deep thought about the movie, I understood that the sexual adventure and satisfaction between two certain characters was the reason the relationship continued and grew. The movie dragged on a bit too long and somewhere in the middle, I was hoping things will speed up and see how the movie ends.
“Devil In The Detail does a good job in entertaining but
when the debates are settled by fans, there isn’t much the movie leaves behind. The Verdict Devil In The Detail does a good job in entertaining but when the debates are settled by fans, there isn’t much the movie leaves behind. While I did enjoy the movie I feel the movie could have done a better job with its originality. - OLUMUYIWA AWOJIDE
The Directing The directorial skills of Shirley Frimpong Manso couldn’t be doubted. For a movie which I rate R and wouldn’t recommend for people below 18, there is hardly any nudity but she does a good job creating as much sexual ‘explicity’ as possible with little or no clothes off. But the glory of the movie’s technicality isn’t the nudity (please,
INTERVIEW Stage Vs Film? Stage is my demanding first wife my first love, always asking for more, for the best. Screen is the attractive young girl, always drawing me to its allure, to its glitz. I think the demands of the stage come in handy when on screen. But I think I love the camera.
Who are your role models? For stage, it is Toyin Ogundeji, her performances on many stages at the Obafemi Awolowo University were profound. For Nollywood, Ramsey Nouah as acting comes naturally to him. In Hollywood, Denzel Washington and Will Smith, these two “enter” any character they are given.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your award-winning documentary. It pained me to see how people have failed to realise the importance of the names they bear. So, I decided to do something about it.
What was the response like?
TALENT ON THE RISE: FEMI KAYODE AMOGUNLA When did you discover your love for acting?
I was in Primary 3 and I enjoyed being the only male pupil in a class of about twenty girls. That came with its perks. Every social activity was designed to accommodate me. So I found myself acting and dancing among these girls whenever we represented our class.
What formal training have you received so far? It was in 2011 at the Royal Arts Academy, owned by one of Nollywood’s finest producer, Emem Isong. That experience was a turning point for me as an actor, especially when it came to acting for screen. It didn’t end there as I now have various acting books that I read so well next to my Bible. I am still learning.
You graduated best student in your set at Royal Arts Academy, how did this impact on your career? That feat always reminds me there is nothing I can’t achieve in this world of make-believe. Being the best student came with loads of hard work. My experience there helped me to stay focused in an industry that can be quite discouraging especially when one is just setting out. I am eternally grateful to God and everyone who supported me during that time, especially my wife.
Share with us some of your acting experience. I am a member of a theatre troupe in Ibadan, the Dugbe International Entertainment Troupe. We have stage performances every now and then. For screen, getting my first job came after about six months after I left Royal Arts Academy. There was no audition that I knew of that I didn’t attend. There were times that I was close to landing good roles, then something would happen, and that would just be the end. There have also been good times. I remember the first job I did, Blood in the Lagoon, a film directed by Teco Benson. Being on set with Omotola Jalade among others, do I say was overwhelming? Benson’s manner of relating with his actors, regardless of whether you are playing a major or minor role made that experience worthwhile. Now, I am in the middle of the shooting of a soap opera, Taste of Love. Each experience has been unique in its own way.
Any memorable experience on set?
Yes. This has to be on the set of Taste of Love. I had gone for the audition and was dead sure from the look on the faces of the casting directors that I had done so well. Along the line, there was a communication gap somewhere and I got a call earlier than I should have, to come on set. We had recorded some scenes only to be approached by one of the casting directors who asked me what I was doing there. Apparently, as I would later find out, she thought the role I now played wasn’t the one I was penned down for. In her words, “It was something better and more engaging.” “Don’t you remember this guy?” She asked another colleague of hers. At that point, I was happy to know that there are people who believe so much in my acting. That was memorable. But as an actor too, I have come to realise that no role is small or insignificant because everything adds up eventually.
How do you memorise your lines? Well, I don’t memorise. I only internalise it and that comes with deep understanding of the script, of the character. No good actor memorises lines.
Amazing. Requests for interviews, various platforms shared the documentary and an email to publish the poem in an anthology in Canada. An opportunity to perform the play at the 30 Under 30 event in Ibadan. I was most honoured to see the likes of Tunde Kelani approve of the work.
Any plans to go behind the cameras? Yes. Recently I have been writing for stage as well as screenplays for short films. Earlier in the year, my short story ‘Waiting for a Lottery’ which draws a lot on my many auditioning experiences was adapted for stage for the Lagos Theatre Festival. I am also considering directing in the future because I love pictures.
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? Obviously. I will love to change not following up with my passion early enough just because the society associates more with someone who has a 9 to 5 job. I wasted some years hunting for jobs that are solely meant for the ‘connected’.
What next do we expect from you this year?
First, watch out for the barman in Taste of Love. I live by the day but try as much as possible to see each passing day as a sacred one which must not be misused.
Describe yourself in four words Down-to-earth, creative, unassuming and caring.
What does family mean to you? Family is where I return toafter a tiring day on set. My wife’s warm embrace and my son’s disarming smile. For me, as one billboard reads: Family is not everything, family is the only thing.
What is the best piece of advice you have received so far? A Nollywood director once told me,“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If acting is not working, try something else.” I have tried many other things which pay the bills because acting alone hardly does. I am a farmer, a poet, an MC, and voice-over artiste.
What was the last Nollywood’s movie you watched? The Meeting directed by Mildred Okwo. INTERVIEW: OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA PHOTO: COURTESY OF FEMI KAYODE AMOGUNLA
A day in the life of…
Udoka Oyeka My day typically starts around 6 am. I get ready quickly before heading off to the Tinsel set. I play Tsav, a major supporting character on the series, which means that I shoot almost every day, for at least half of the day. During down times on set, I’m usually on my phone answering emails and hustling to move my person-
al film projects along. After the shoot, I try to squeeze some workout before going to pick up my nephew from school. I make sure that he’s fed and relaxed into his own routine. In the evenings, I often have meetings mostly concerning my next projects. Finally I go home where, depending on the mood, I surf the web, read or write. After dinner, I settle down with a movie. I try to watch a movie every day, although sometimes I can only keep my eyes open for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep. STORY: EBUNOLUWA MORDI PHOTO: COURTESY OF UDOKA OYEKA
Berni Goldblat on a mission to revive African cinema BY ISABELLA AKINSEYE
The first time I met Berni Goldblat, I remember him talking passionately about African cinema – in particular, Ciné Guimbi. He gave me a postcard of Ciné Guimbi and made me promise to keep in touch. A few months, several emails, more discussions and an interview later – I can say without a shadow of doubt that Mr. Goldblat is on a mission to revive African cinema.
heads together to see what we could do. All the former cinema buildings were now occupied by businesses, churches and mosques except one – Ciné Guimbi.” Ciné Guimbi formerly called Rex and later named after Princess Guimbi Outtara was built a man named Tourre. The self taught Swiss born filmmaker who “I find Ciné Guimbi importhas made Burkina Faso home for over a ant and symbolic. It was the decade tells me about his love for Africa. “I first cinema to be built by an arrived in Burkina Faso in 2001 to work on African in the region. It was a production that was supposed to last six for the African audience.” months and I ended up settling here. I like After finding the “holy land the people; they are very welcoming. Plus of cinema”, the arduous task of fundraising Burkina Faso is a cinema country and very began. peaceful.” Beyond Burkina Faso, he talks “For the first six months, we travelled around about his love affair with Nigeria courtesy of Europe and Africa to create awareness. Then the AMAAs and the Anyiam-Osigwe family. we started applying for funding and getting “We are like one big family; the AMAAs and institutions and individuals to support the Ciné Guimbi. I share the dream of Peace Ciné Guimbi project in their own way. In DeAnyiam-Osigwe who is working so hard cember 2013, we paid over $150, 000 for the to promote and celebrate African cinema. land and even though, we do not have all Working as a juror for AMAA has been a the money we need, we will begin construcvery rewarding and positive experience.” tion of the small theatre next month,” says an excited Goldblat. Berni tells me that Ciné Guimbi used to be a very popular open air cinema that pulled Jean Marc Lalo, a renowned architect who in crowds. “It was always packed, people specialises in cinema architecture has alcame to watch Indian and Chinese films,” he ready visited Ciné Guimbi twice. When explains. However, in 2005, things went bust completed, the cinema complex which will but it was not just Ciné Guimbi, many state combine traditional African and contempoowned cinemas in Burkina Faso were also af- rary architecture will house two theatres fected. “When the economy goes down, the (one seating 324 and the other 156), a café, first thing affected is culture. It’s not just in restaurant and a meeting space that can Africa, even Europe is affected. Cinemas are seat 120 people. “It would be more than a being shut in eastern Europe. We have to do cinema. Ciné Guimbi will create a new something to preserve culture.” audiovisual culture. We want to create a platform for people to be educated about For a city like Bobo-Dioulasso, the number film. We will have special rates to get everytwo city in Burkina Faso and the former one back to the cinema including the marcapital, not to have a cinema was both un- ket women who sell fresh produce close to thinkable and unacceptable to Goldblat. “It the cinema. We want dreams to be born in started two years ago. My partner and I put the Guimbi.”
The Ciné Guimbi is already attracting lots of attention and support. Just a week ago, a cinema in Montpelier donated 200 seats. “We hope to open the first theatre by the end of 2015. We want our investors to see where their money is going to. A lot of African countries are looking to us. If we succeed, it will inspire them to revive the cinema in their countries.” “So when the cinema is finally finished? Then what next?” I ask. “We are not waiting till then. In October, we will be having the Ciné Guimbi Atellier, a six day forum with experts and stakeholders to discuss and set out a plan for the functioning of the cinema.” As the interview draws to an end, an impassioned Goldblat waxes lyrical about Nigeria and Nollywood. “People across Africa enjoy Nollywood movies. Even in the Francophone countries, we watch them whether or not they are dubbed in French. When the Guimbi opens, we would partner with Nollywood. It’s not only in France and Germany, we should have Nollywood week across Africa.” Visit www.cineguimbi.foliokit.com PHOTO: COURTESY OF BERNI GOLDBLAT
RED CARPET Yvonne Nelson premieres Single, Married and Complicated in Nigeria
Ghollywood actress and producer Yvonne Nelson premiered her film Single, Married and Complicated at the Silverbird Galleria in Lagos on 15 August 2014. The star studded event drew a host of celebrities as well as members of the cast and crew. Rukky Sanda, Emem Isong, Ikay Ogbonna, Belinda Effah, Annie Idibia, John Dumelo, Halima Abubakar and Alexx Ekubo joined Nelson as she showcased the sequel to her 2012 cinema blockbuster Single and Married to the Nigerian audience. Directed by the award winning Pascal Amanfo, the movie stars Yvonne Nelson, John Dumelo, Alexx Ekubo, Chris Attoh, Tana Adelana, Anita Erskine and Eddie Watson. PHOTOS: Courtesy of Yvonne Nelson.
Ikay Ogbonna and guest
Keith Shiri Inspiration What got me working in African cinema was my experience growing up watching Hollywood movies and looking at the absence of black faces. When they do exist, they are the baddies and not heroes. Cinema is such a powerful tool of propaganda and has been used by countries like the US to promote its own brand. We need to use cinema to start our own conversation and narrative. We still have a lot of work to do but we need to contribute in our own way.
Professional Background I’m an international curator for African cinema. I am the founder and director of Africa at the Pictures and the London African Film Festival and I have served as a jury on a number of festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival, the Dubai International Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), Tampere Film Festival and many others. I am also a trainer for the ESODOC programme that offers workshops in documentary filmmaking. I am also the festival director for Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).
Scholarly experience I am a Visiting Research Fellow for Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) University of Westminster, London. I compiled and edited the Directory of African Films and Filmmakers (Flicks Books 1993), Africa on Film (BBC Publications 1991) Africa at the Pictures (British Film Institute 1991).
Overview of African cinema Africans have been making film for many years. In terms of infrastructure, it is always South Africa with its good distribution system. Distribution is important because it looks after filmmakers’ interest. SA has co-production treaties with a number of countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and India to mention a few. In terms of quantity, we have lots of films coming from Nigeria. We hope to see more emerging talents coming from Nigeria. It serves its own audience which might not work in other countries. In countries like Mali and Senegal, you have more of art house cinema; one that sustain time with films you will keep in the library. Timbuktu has got a lot of people talking about very high quality and aesthetics.
INTERVIEW “Our dream is to try and make sure we reach the level of other cinemas across the world. We want African cinema to be viewed from its own perspective and not others. I want to see Africans reflect its own realities and to be confident in telling its own stories from its own point of view.” 2014 AFRIFF It is a new and developing film festival. I hope it continues and becomes one of the more significant festivals. I like the vision not only from Cross River Governor but also Chioma Ude. It’s about creating a major platform for African cinema from Algeria to Zimbabwe. All of the continent needs to be celebrated. We have more films submitted this year than last year with films coming from Ethiopia, Uganda and African Diaspora, the West Indies. We are covering much ground than we did last time. I’ve been to Durban and will be going Toronto to look at some other films I might have missed. We are also looking for other collaborators. It is a continuous promotion. Quite a number of people will be coming from across the world.
Nigerian experience I’ve been coming to Nigeria for more than ten years as an AMAA juror. I love the energy and the ‘anything is possible’ feeling. The opportunities and possibilities are there. Nigeria is bigger than Lagos. It’s a vast country. I still need to explore more and it is higher and bigger than what people imagine. There’s still so much to learn.
Future of African cinema Our dream is to try and make sure we reach the level of other cinemas across the world. We want African cinema to be viewed from its own perspective and not others. I want to see Africans reflect its own realities and to be confident in telling its own stories from its own point of view. This is a business so we need quality films that can cross our boundaries. We want films that address the issues from our continent. Cinema can be part of education at all levels. An audiovisual culture is very important. We hope for a sustainable sector – something that puts people back to work. INTERVIEW: EBUNOLUWA MORDI PHOTO: COURTESY OF KEITH SHIRI
Founder, Kalahari international film festival How did you get into filmmaking? For a long time, I knew that I had stories to tell. So, every time I would watch films, I always saw that some things were missing. Sometimes, I saw that the way stories were told was not a true representation of facts. I just took the camera that belonged to a friend of mine and started making films. My first film was titled Jesus in Hillbrow.
What made you start the Kalahari international film festival? Among other things, it is the frustration of not having many film festivals on the continent. It was mainly about broadening the scope, because I know that when we have many film festivals, it will become much easier to promote locally made films and give filmmakers like myself many options. One of the reasons is also the fact that South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and this country is not really explored by people in and outside of it. There is more to this country than Johannesburg and Cape Town with their world class infrastructures and roads. There is a wild side to this great nation. The Kalahari, being a desert has a very rich cultural history of the first inhabitants of this country who went through a lot of trouble from colonialism to apartheid. They were dispossessed of their land and their culture was interrupted in the process. It’s about sharing the same culture and heritage with the rest of the world.
What can we expect this year? We will be mainly promoting our festival in and out of the African continent; making sure that the world knows about it so that when we host it next year, it is well known.
What progress has been made so far? So far, we have identified the needs of the community because there is more to the festival than us showcasing films and the province of the northern cape. It is also about us understanding the challenges that the community of the northern cape is facing from teenage pregnancy, to unemployment, to gender based violence and abuse of the elderly and the youth. We have partnered with institutions in the northern cape that will help us to make a difference and also make sure that our festival continues to make a difference to the people of the Kalahari in general and the northern cape in particular. Plans are also at a very advanced stage for the setting up of a film academy in that province. This is part of our long term investment in the province and it will make sure that the youth of the northern cape will be educated about the art of film and also, media literacy.
When will the festival be taking place? The festival will be taking place in the first quarter of 2015, April to be specific.
“I know that when we have many film festivals, it will become much easier to promote locally made films and give filmmakers like myself many options.” Who are your favourite African filmmakers? Joe Munga wa Tunda, Akin Omotoso and Adze Ugah. First of all because I have watched the films they have all made. I have met them face to face as in the case of Omotoso and Adze who stay in Johannesburg. So I always see them around when they have made films and I have become very used to them. I have been following with interest the work ofOmotoso from his first film God is African to the most celebrated film Man on the Ground about a Mozambican migrant who was burnt in Johannesburg during the xenophobic attacks that saw more than 67 people killed. He was also on television and his company T.O.M. Pictures has made a very big contribution to television and film not only in South Africa but Africa at large. Adze, for me, is a very dynamic director who has also worked on many local TV productions and I also watched his first feature film Gog Helen. I have spoken with him a couple of times at various film workshops and I find him very approachable and a humble human being. Munga wa Tunda made a great film titled Viva Riva. For me, it is their approach to filmmaking and their professionalism that makes them my favourites.
How can people get involved in the project?
What are your hopes for African cinema?
People can get involved in the project in so many ways, from submitting their films to be screened at the Kalahari international film festival, to donating old computers that we can give for educational purposes, to helping us market the festival in different parts of the world and also, by becoming patrons or friends of the Kalahari international film festival.
My hope for the African cinema is that we give young people and women a chance to be seen and heard. Our industry has not really given women a voice. We should also make many pan African collaborations. I would like to see filmmakers from Africa collaborate with each other and make films in every city of this beautiful continent of ours. I want to see a film that begins production in Lagos and completes it in Johannesburg or Cape town or Harare in Zimbabwe. We have not yet started telling our storie. We need to encourage the new generation of filmmakers to be proud of our identity. There is no place like home and home is where the heart is; that home is Africa.
Beyond the film festival, what next can we expect from Johnny? A political thriller that starts production at the end of the year in Johannesburg and will be due for international release in May 2015. One or two TV series and one reality TV show. I also really want to open a pan African film academy in South Africa. The space is ready for the film school in Joburg. We’re now looking for investors.
INTERVIEW: OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOHNNY MUTEBA
Nigeria Movie Industry (Nollywood)
The Nigerian movie industry became known as Nollywood in the early 1990s with Living in Bondage being one of the early Nollywood movies. This however is not the birth of filmmaking in Nigeria as the Nigerian movie industry dates as far back as the early 1960s when televisions came and hence, provided a platform for the likes of Ola Balogun and Hubert Ogunde to take their art to the screen. The industry has since expanded in great proportions making it the leading industry in Africa. In 2009, UNESCO announced that Nollywood was second only to Bollywood in movie production by quantity. With the emergence of New Nollywood, the issue of quality is being gradually fixed. As at 2014, the Nigerian film industry is worth 853.9 billion Naira (US$5.1 billion) with Blue Pictures (50.0%), Silverbird (20.0%) and Ossy Affason (10.0%) leading in the battle of movie distribution.
5 leading African movie industries BY INNOCENT EKEJIUBA
Egypt Movie Industry
Though Egyptian movies are basically in Arabic, it has not stopped the oldest film industry in Africa from flourishing. The Egyptian movie industry dates as far back as 1896 when silent films were made and flourished through the years with notable mentions in 1907 when the first short documentary film was shot and 1927 when Layla, the first fulllength Egyptian movie was made. The Egyptian movie industry has not been without problems due to poor production values lacking in content. This period lasted from the late 1970s to 1997 when Ismailia Rayeh Gayy was released and heralded the present age of the industry. Currently, the Egyptian movie industry boasts of both highly artistic movies which have low viewership and popular comedies. The industry currently churns out an average of 42 movies a year after plummeting from 100 movies per year to 12 during the transitional period.
Kenya Movie Industry
The Kenyan movie industry might have come of age in the 2nd millennium, but its journey started some 50 years before the turn of the millennium. The industry might not be able to lay claim to being the biggest or highest grossing, but it can lay claim to a rich history dating back to Men Against the Sun that was shot in 1952. Since then, the industry has enjoyed moderate success and with the recent inflow of government funding in 2006, the industry has been able to diversify; making educational films and hosting film festivals. Riverwood as it is popularly known is mildly successful internationally with the twelve-minute short film Kibera Kid being arguably the most successful Riverwood production. The fictional short film received seven international awards and was also accoladed a Student EMMY in Hollywood, while receiving attention at various film festivals worldwide including the Berlin Film Festival.
Ghana Movie Industry
(Ghallywood/Gollywood) Escaping the shadows of the Nigerian movie industry has proven to be difficult, but the Ghanaian movie industry is proving to be up to the challenge. The thriving film industry otherwise known as Ghallywood or Gollywood dates back to the Gold Coast days of 1940s though the first Ghanaian film to receive international acknowledgement was the 1970 film I Told You So. Ghallywood has recently cashed in on the ever-growing partnership it has with the Nigerian movie industry, by producing large quantity of movies yearly. The industry is also known for exporting stars with the likes of Nadia Buhari, Majid Michael, Van Vicker and Yvonne Nelson leading the list of exports who have been integrated with the Nigerian movie industry while Boris Kodjoe is the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s international contribution to the movie world. Cobra Verde of 1988 still stands as the most internationally recognised Ghanaian film.
South Africa Movie Industry
The South African movie industry is the second oldest film industry in Africa with Killarney Film Studios, being established in 1915 in Johannesburg. Since then, South Africa has dutifully produced international standard films and even has Oscar nominations and awards to show for it. The industry is however notoriously known for racial movies that were politicaly targeted at ending the apartheid that tore the country apart in the past. Yet films like The Gods Must Be Crazy proved to be exceptions as they are more comical than political. The South African movie industry is arguably Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest exporter of comedy with Leon Schuster taking up the reins and continuing from where Jamie Uys might have stopped. From the silent era of filmmaking to the sound era, Nu Metro, Ster Kinekor, United International Pictures and Next Entertainment come out as the top film distributors.
FESTIVAL NEWS October 1 set to open 2014 edition of Lights, Camera, Africa!!! film festival
October 1 (2014), Kunle Afolayan’s period piece has been selected as the opening film for the fourth edition of Lights, Camera, Africa!!! film festival which will kick off on 26 September 2014 and end on Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1. Curated around the theme of ‘Legacy’, films such as Oya, the Rise of the Orisha (2014) andThe Supreme Price (2014) will also be screened. Touted as ‘Nigeria’s only festival dedicated to independent African film’, a total of 30 movies from over 20 countries will be shown at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to the organisers, “This edition also stands out for its emphasis on television and the role it has played documenting our journey. Meanwhile, it stays true to the festival’s tradition by including free film workshops, hosting a colorful market of African crafts and gift items, live music, and a bevy of thrilling performances.” Lights, Camera, Africa!!! film festival is a not-for-profit project of The Life House. The 2014 edition is in partnership with African Film Festival Inc (New York), Nadia Denton, Royal African Society (London), British Council, and Federal Palace Hotel & Casino. The festival is supported by The Ford Foundation, Alliance Francaise, French Consulate, The Dutch Embassy, Goethe Institut, Smooth 98.1FM, The Moorhouse, Radi8, YNaija, Woodstock Electronics, VAN Lagos, YAP&E and Zircon Marine. - OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA
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IN FILMHOUSE CINEMAS THIS SEPTEMBER A Silent Cry (Ekun Asunsinu) from the stables ofTitan productions has been slated for theatrical release on 5 September 2014 and will be showing in FilmHouse cinemas. A unique and intricately crafted story, delivered with dexterity by the finest of thespians in the Yoruba movie industry, the movie stars Adebayo Salami, Toyin Aimakhu Johnson, Dayo Amusa, Yinka Quadri, Antar Laniyan, and Ayo Adesanya. Directed by Desmond Elliot, the story revolves around Tomiwa (Toyin Aimakhu), a young lady from a comfortable home, who falls into the deceptive net of her lover. Having committed an act termed as unforgivable by her father, she is thrown into the sea of loneliness and battles with the waves of indecision, betrayal and dark secrets that threaten her very existence and the unity of her family.
Omoni Oboli’s directorial debut production Being Mrs Elliott will play to cinema audiences in Nigeria starting from 5 September 2014. The movie which has been nominated for several awards revolves around two women who in a simple twist of fate, find their worlds colliding with each other. Their lives are turned upside down as they meet two men, who are on a different path in life until unusual circumstances bring the women into their lives. In a maze of deception, lust, pain, jealousy and intrigues, their lives are rearranged in ways that they did not foresee as they try to make sense of finding love in unusual places. The movie stars Omoni Oboli, Majid Michel, Ayo Makun, Lepacious Bose, Seun Akindele and many others.
OUT ON DVD Produced by Okey Ezugwu and directed by Ikechukwu Onyeka, Brother’s Keeper features Omoni Oboli, Majid Michel, Beverly Naya and Barbara Soki. The movie revolves around a couple whose marriage is threatened when the husband’s twin brother dies and he starts acting cold and aloof which is the exact opposite of the loving man he was. Meanwhile his wife suspects that her husband is cheating with her late brother in law’s wife and her attempts at digging into this exposes a whole web of deceit and betrayal and circumstances surrounding her brother in law’s death.
Faces at American premiere of Igbo language film Chetanna
Chigozie Atuanya and Prof Paul Oranika
South African guests
Cross section of the audience
Chief Hyacinth Nwachukwu
Chigozie Atuanya and some guests
Attorney Emeka Akudinobi
AMVCAs return for a third edition
AfricaMagic, in association with MultiChoice and proud sponsors Amstel Malta, is announcing the call to entry for the 2015 edition of the AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), the prestigious initiative that honours film and TV talent across the continent. A special announcement will be screened on all AfricaMagic channels on Wednesday, 3 September at 20:00 CAT, when entry for the awards will be officially opened. The AMVCAs were created to celebrate the contribution of African filmmakers, actors and technicians in the success of the continent’s film and television industry and with the success of the 2013 and 2014 editions, preparations are in top gear for the 2015 edition. Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, Regional Director for M-Net (West), said: “We are pleased to announce the call to entry for the 2015 AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards. The African movie and television industry is brimming with exciting talent, and at Africa Magic we contribute to the industry by not only giving these talents the platform to showcase their art and celebrating their achievements, we also encourage them to keep honing their craft.” This year, a number of awards in different categories will be presented ranging from acting and directing to scriptwriting and cinematography. Other categories will include: editing, make-up, sound, and lighting amongst others. John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, expressed his delight at the growing success of the AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards, saying: “There have been two editions of the AMVCAs and so far, the improvement that this award has brought to African film production cannot be ignored. For us as MultiChoice, the success of these awards further showcases our commitment to recognising the amazing skills that exist in this ever-growing industry. Furthermore, our continued investment demonstrates our dedication in helping unearth and celebrate talent in the whole continent. I have much confidence that the next edition in 2015 will leave an even bigger impact on the African film production industry than the previous two.” Also expressing her excitement for being part of the AMVCAs, Brand Manager, Amstel Malta, Miss Hannatu Ageni-Yusuf said: “As the number one premium Malt brand in Nigeria, Amstel Malta is again pleased to be part of this year’s AfricaMagic Viewer’s Choice Awards. It is truly a unique platform which aligns perfectly with the brand’s essence, encouraging and also rewarding young ambitious Africans. Last year on this platform, Amstel Malta launched its new campaign, tagged ‘the journey’. This year, the brand is set to allow consumers to witness the joys of being focused on their goals and even beating their best, while on their journey to success.” The first edition of the AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards ceremony took place in Lagos in March, 2013, and was broadcast live to DStv and GOtv audiences across the continent. The event drew big names from across the continent’s TV and film industry and saw the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Drama awards going to Nigerian OC Ukeje and Ghanaian Jackie Appiah, in the respective categories. In the 2014 edition, multi-award winning actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim, took home the award for Best Actress in a Drama while Ghanaian film producer/director, Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s movie The Contract won in several categories. The 2014 AMVCAs also saw renowned film and TV veteran, Pete Edochie, clinching the prestigious lifetime achievement award. Entry for the AMVCAs is free and the closing date for submissions is the 31 October, 2014. Entries should be sent to: AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards, PO Box 2963, Pinegowrie, 2123, South Africa, with attention to the Manager, Local Productions Africa. They can also log on to www.africamagic.tv for more details on the submission procedure and requirements.