Nolly Silver Screen
ISSUE 10 NOVEMBER 2014
influential Nollywood actresses
- Chika Anadu - Belinda Effah - Mary Lazarus - Laura Kutika - Ijeoma Grace Agu - Mariama Sylla Faye
Mahen Bonneti: Africa goes to New York
Nollywood is enterprising, desperate and promising
Nolly Silver Screen
ISSUE 10 NOVEMBER 2014
8 10 most influential Nollywood actresses 20 Mahen Bonneti 30 Top 10 women in film
14 Cover: Mildred Okwo 18 Filmmaker Interview: Chika Anadu 19 Filmmaker Interview: Mariama and Khady Sylla Faye: In Single Words 22 Q & A with Ijeoma Grace Agu 23 Up close and personal with Belinda Effah 26 Talent on the rise: Mary Lazarus 27 Masikini by Kutika
REGULARS 4 Editor’s Note 5 Readers’ Corner 6 Contributors’ Bios 10 Vox Pop 11 Celebrations 12 On Set 17 News 17 Story-Bored 21 Photo News 23 Nolly Pop Quiz 24 Reviews 28 Red Carpet 31 Festival News 34 Listings 35 Events 37 Award News
Deciding to do a woman issue was easy. To get more women in film, we need to shine the spotlight on those already there. We need to tell their stories, so that other women (and men) can be inspired to follow their dreams.
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
Women calling the shots behind the camera is a rarity in Nollywood. Sadly, it’s a man’s world when it comes to directing films in Nigeria but thankfully, things are gradually changing. We now have more women playing major roles in the production process. Luckily for us at Nolly Silver Screen, we have been able to showcase two of Nigeria’s finest female directors in our past editions; Tope Oshin-Ogun and Michelle Bello.
Deciding to do a woman issue was easy. To get more women in film, we need to shine the spotlight on those already there. We need to tell their stories, so that other women (and men) can be inspired to follow their dreams. So all our interviews and articles in this edition are dedicated to women. Would we ever do an all male edition? asked one of the members of the Nolly Silver Screen team. Honestly, I don’t know. But let’s see how this one goes and if our readers want an all male edition, who are we to say No? So write in and let us know what you think.
Mildred Okwo, our cover girl this edition makes it three. Aunty Millie as she is fondly called is not your average Nollywood director who is busy churning out multiple titles every year. She takes her time because for her quality not quantity is paramount. Interviewing her for this edition was a breath of fresh air. She was funny, witty @iakinseye and spoke intelligently with so much candour.
5 Write ‘n’ win
t you have Write to us about wha and stand a enjoyed in this edition lous prizes. chance of winning fabu giving out 2 This month, we will be Home on DVD. copies of A Mile from ema tickets to Also up for grabs are cin in Nigeria and see a Nollywood movie a gift 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
VIA SOCIAL MEDIA Police officer before independence is very very very different. Just thought I should point that out ;-) Orah Egwu Good work on the Nolly Silver Screen magazine. I just read your current edition. Love it!!!!!! Habeeb Lawal
VIA EMAIL Congratulations on bringing out another issue of the magazine. Ike The magazine gets better with each edition. Keep it up! Derin Ajao
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NOLLY SILVER SCREEN EDITOR Isabella Akinseye DEPUTY EDITOR Innocent Ekejiuba ADVERTISING Quill and Scroll Creatives
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.
EDITORIAL BOARD Temitayo Amogunla
Check out his cartoon strip ‘Story-Bored’ (p. 17).
GRAPHICS & LAYOUT Isabella Akinseye
Bola Atta Bola Audu Shaibu Husseini Toni Kan
Sherif Awad has worked as a programmer and communications manager since 1993 in Cairo International film festival, Alexandria film festival for Mediterranean countries and Luxor African film festival in Egypt.
Eniola Ayobola is an upcoming screenwriter, director and movie critic. He is studying Geology at Obafemi Awolowo University. He is an avid collector of classic movies and keeps a regular blog on film.
Read ‘Mahen Bonneti: Africa goes to New York’ (p. 20), ‘Masikini by Kutika’ (p. 27) and ‘Maryama and Khady Sylla Faye: In Single Words’ (p.19).
He reviews Kunle Afolayan’s October 1 (p. 25).
STAFF WRITERS Ebunoluwa Mordi Oluwayomi Olushola
CONTRIBUTORS Mike Asukwo Sherif Awad Eniola Ayobola Efeturi Doghudje Wilfred Okiche Oluwaponmile Orija
FACEBOOK nollysilverscreen GOOGLE PLUS +nollysilverscreen TWITTER nsilverscreen INSTAGRAM nollysilverscreen 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for permission and other enquiries.
Efeturi Doghudje is a PR practitioner eager to see a sustainable change in the Nigerian film, television and arts industry. She enjoys watching movies, reading, traveling and adventure. Visit her blog for the latest reviews on xplorenollywood.blogspot.com She reviews Seyi Babatope’s When Love Happens (p. 24).
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 list of the 10 most influential Nollywood actresses (p. 8) and top 10 women in film (p. 30).
She asks people which woman in Nollywood inspires them. (p. 10).
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 email@example.com requesting contributors’ guidelines.
most influential Nollywood actresses BY WILFRED OKICHE
For our women issue, we will be taking a look at 10 of some of the most influential women in Nollywood. Whether it is their ability
to draw in unprecedented crowds to cinemas, break box office records or lend their marquee names to causes they care about, these women rock and we love them just the way they are. We present the fab 10 (in alphabetical order).
Funke Akindele The queen of crossover will remain a Nollywood heavyweight for as long as she continues to play Jenifa, the much beloved heroine from the 2008 breakout comedy. Jenifa has spawned 2 sequels and a wide array of imitators and Akindele has gone on to test her box office appeal beyond the Jenifa character by headlining Tunde Kelani’s Maami, and the drama, Married but Living Single. Her lesser profile comedies are also huge hits in the straight to DVD markets.
Rita Dominic Dominic has steadily emerged a power player in today’s Nollywood and it isn’t hard to see why. No longer content with being just the movie star, she took charge of her career and set up The Audrey Silva Company (TASC), a production outfit with director and business partner, Mildred Okwo. The first product of TASC is the award winning romantic comedy, The Meeting and both women are hard at work on their follow up, La Femme Anjola.
3 Nse Ikpe-Etim The current Africa Movie Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) champion for Best Actress (Drama) in a leading role (Journey to Self) may have moved to London to settle into domestic bliss, but she remains a force to be reckoned with here in Nollywood. This year, she starred in Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s Devil in the Detail and the warm memories of her expressive performance are enough to erase those of her, slumming it out in Elvis Chucks’ turkey, I Come Lagos.
Ibinabo Fiberesima Light skinned, pretty and tough, Fiberesima has parlayed her lack of serious acting roles into a controversial but highly visible tenure as the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Nollywood’s most powerful branch. She has weathered numerous storms including ‘beefs’ with colleagues Clarion Chukwurah and John Okafor on her way to securing a fresh mandate to lead the actors. Her closeness to Aso Rock has helped Nollywood receive huge presidential attention.
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde Since her listing on the Time 100 most influential people in the word, screen queen Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde has not been on many movie sets but she has kept her gold status, such that her name, attached to any project immediately guarantees A-list respectability. A veteran of over 50 film titles, Jalade-Ekeinde starred alongside Genevieve Nnaji in Nollywood’s highest grossing film, Ije: The Journey and has contemplated a career in music and reality television.
Mercy Johnson This mother of two used to be a controversial character; what with her colourful film roles, insistence of shoving her ample assets past whatever role she is playing and her much publicised wedding to her Prince. But something else happened along the way to infamy. Her blazing, raw talent did not go unnoticed and producers found in her the perfect foil to take over from the previous generation of stars. She has since refused to look back and sells DVD units in thousands.
Genevieve Nnaji Africa’s Julia Roberts (according to Oprah Winfrey) has not been seen on the big screens in a headlining role for about 2 years now but none can deny that she remains the queen of hearts. Nnaji appeared in Amstel Malta’s autobiographical promo The Journey and took a minute role in this year’s much hyped Half of a Yellow Sun film adaptation. Nnaji also returned to fashion with the re-launch of her St. Genevieve clothing line in October.
Omoni Oboli Oboli may well be the most successful actress to end the year 2014. Coming off her days starring in award winning fare like The Figurine and Anchor Baby, Oboli opened the year starring in thrillers, Brother’s Keeper and Render to Caesar. She then went on to star in and direct for the first time the fantasy rom-com, Being Mrs Elliott, and was rewarded with a presidential screening at the seat of power in Abuja for her efforts.
Patience Ozokwor Mama G has cornered the market on those evil step mother roles and frankly, no one does it better than her. Ozokwor remains a screen delight and one of those faces that sell out movies in a heartbeat. She has also attempted to conquer the cinemas with roles in films like Turning Point and Covert Operation and her performance in the film, After the Proposal earned her the 2014 Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Joke Silva Veteran of stage, television and screen, national treasure and one half of moviedom’s most enduring couple has played everything from loving mother, evil boss to scheming wife. Her practised diction, poise and elegant carriage sets her a class apart from everyone else and her career trajectory remains a shining example for endless generations of actresses. And actors too.
Which woman in Nollywood inspires you? Oluwaponmile Orija finds out..
Chioma Akpotha I like her. She is sort of scandal free. - Temilola Onigbinde
Joke Silva She is a screen idol. At her age, she is still graceful and very captivating. She is an asset Hollywood definitely missed out on. - Beatrice Ogbangwor
Omotola JaladeEkeinde She balances career life and family. - Eniola Oluwatoye
Mercy Johnson She is a perfect actress and is good at what she does. - Taiwo Macregor
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett I just like her. - Adeola Shonukan
Genevieve Nnaji She is decent and beautiful. - Victor Iyogun
NOVEMBER CELEBRATIONS 6 Kenneth Okonkwo 8 Chika Ike 12 Yvonne Nelson 15 Chelsea Eze 16 Oge Okoye
17 Empress Njamah 20 Charles Novia 21 Nadia Buhari 25 Yvonne Okoro
PICTURES FROM THE SET OF ALEX MOUTH’S
18 14 14
Award winning director, screenwriter, producer and film marketer MILDRED OKWO reflects on The Meeting, Nigeria’s film industry and what she would do as President in this interview with ISABELLA AKINSEYE How did your career in filmmaking start? I was looking to produce a screenplay that I had written in 2005. I started searching for a good Nigerian director in the US who would direct it for me but the ones I talked to were far too self absorbed that I decided to do it myself. 30 Days was the first film I directed.
Did you receive formal training or did you learn on the job?
the magic of films. The fringe benefit is that I get to open up my own eyes in the process.
Setting up The Audrey Silva Company must have been a dream come true. Achieving the dream has been painfully slow but the journey has been worth it. I am glad I did not settle forever in a career that did not totally fulfill me (Law). This is what I enjoy doing so I am quite fulfilled doing it.
I don’t have formal 4 year filmmaking training. It would have been so wonderful to go to USC or NYU film school but I didn’t have the Do you have any regrets about returning back to Nigeria? time or money. So I took short courses here and there and the rest This is my natural habitat so I am quite at peace with any challengare self acquired skills and on the job training. es that I have had to face. However, I thank God I came back when I did because if I had stayed a few more years abroad, I would not What inspires your craft? have been able to make the transition. Those years in the United The need to expose people to the things happening with and States prepared me very well for living in Nigeria. I understand around them. I feel that many of us experience life with our eyes Nigeria and Nigerians so much more than I would have had I not closed so I am constantly trying to open up a lot of eyes through spent time living in the US. I love both countries dearly.
The Meeting was released on DVD this year and sold out in weeks. How profitable has it been despite issues of piracy?
want to know who got the funding and Sold out in weeks? Where did you get that miracle news? Hahaha! whether they impacted the industry We have a lot of people in this our business who thrive on lying positively. If it did, I about what their films cost and their actual revenue and I think that is daft. Selling out and marketers ordering your products are will leave a note for two distinct things. Yes we had tons of offers in the first few weeks the next president to continue to fund the of release but I do not consider anything a sell out until I have project if not, I would the money in the bank. Thank God that The Meeting was in very leave notes on how to high demand forcing many who ordered to pay us pretty quickly. solve the problem. However, it took a couple of months not weeks for them pay. So I can say we sold out our first batch of DVDs in a couple of months 2. I would repeal any taxes whatsoever which apparently is still a feat in Nollywood. DVD is a high end on the industry for five market in Nigeria so it is more difficult to sell but we have been selling quite a lot so I am happy. Some guy in Alaba has pirated the years including but not limited to the 5% film but it is not a good copy so we have still been selling. Piracy percent tax charged has not been our main problem but getting the product to the on income from areas that they are needed is the biggest problem. Nigerian films in cinemas. I would Do you feel pressure to shoot many films as is common with many also repeal all custom Nollywood directors? charges for I used to especially when you see some producers on set every filmmaking or month, you wonder if you should not be doing the same thing but exhibition equipment I just cannot do it. I have come to the conclusion that the quality imported into the is diminished to a standard that my heart cannot stand so I refrain country. Can you from doing it. See how long it took me to even do this interview believe that we charge not to talk of shooting a film. very high custom fees for equipment we do You are a member of the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC), not make in the country? That will how would you rate this year’s submissions? definitely not encourage small business owners or investors. These Films must be submitted before August and must have been businesses are the backbone of any economy. We should first screened before September 29. We did not watch any films this nurture before we start to slam them with taxes. year because none of the films submitted even met the minimum 3. I would look into all the government parastatals in charge of guidelines required. I wish filmmakers would go and watch films the industry and ensure that only progressive administrators with that are Oscar contenders before submitting. The problem with an understanding of the industry will hold those positions. They us is that many who practise this profession in Nigeria are not must each in that 24 hours submit their blueprint for moving the even people who like films. It is purely a business for them, no industry forward and what they have done so far to achieve their art involved. goals. If I am not satisfied, they will be fired. If I am satisfied I will fund the projects they have outlined. What kind of movies do you wish to see made in Nollywood? 4. I would give massive tax breaks to banks and investors who I would love to see movies that speak to our people without invest in the industry. Tax breaks to cinemas who maintain 20 – 30 blatantly insulting their intelligence. You have to be able to uplift percent of their screens for showing Nollywood films and to all methe community through your work. dia houses who dedicated a percentage of their advertising space to push worthy Nollywood films. Share with us your most memorable experience on set. 5. I would make a single phone call to the Police Officer in I am a bit weird when it comes to things like that. I don’t have a charge of Ojo where Alaba market is situated. I know what to tell favorite food, car or colour, so it is difficult to answer such him and piracy of Nollywood films will disappear in that market in 6 questions. The first time I called action was in a scene with the hours. legendary Joke Silva in 2005. I remember my DP Cricket Peters climbed up a tree to light this beautiful night scene. Joke’s skin was Which other areas of filmmaking would you like to get involved in? glistening in the dark and it was indeed a sight to behold. I As a producer, director, film marketer and writer, I experience every remember the first time Rita Dominic entered the set of The Meeting as Clara Ikemba. The laughter that echoed when she said aspect of filmmaking including distribution. There is nothing else I her first lines, I knew for a fact I had made the right choice to cast want to do. her in that role. I also remember when Femi Jacobs got into charWhat was the last Nollywood film you watched? acter so much that he separated himself from others. He was so angry that he could not get to see the minister that by the time we I am constantly watching Nollywood films on television so that is he finally saw the minister, the rage was real but yet he was able to not even a real question. I am not one of the dummies who say control it to deliver his lines. What to say? It’s those little things that they don’t watch Nollywood films yet they are in the industry. I watched Secret Room on Sunday night on TV I am going to watch trip me. October 1 and When Love Happens in the cinemas in the next few days. What is your favourite line from one of your movies? “A man cannot even have a little ‘organism’ in this country without being killed for it.” It was a line from the President in 30 Days. That makes me laugh everytime.
Describe Nollywood in three words and why.
Enterprising because it is an industry that was borne out of nothing and many of the people in it are quite hardworking and resourceful. If you were made President for one day, what would you do? Desperate because it preys on a lot of human beings that are so I would pay particular attention to the industry simply because desperate they will do anything to get ahead in Nollywood. it has a massive potential for solving a very disgraceful problem Promising because the future is bright and promising in spite of all we have in this country which is the high rate of unemployment among young people. Naturally, black folk are gifted in the areas of the challenges. entertainment and sports and it boggles the mind that in Africa we do not even have a very well structured industry in that regard. It is What advice do you have for women interested in directing? like we want to wait for foreigners to point us in the right direction It’s a lot of hard work and thankless for the most part so get tough before we can figure it out. One day is very short but these are the and ready for the long haul. things I would like to do in 24 hours if it were possible: PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MILDRED OKWO 1. Find out what Nexim Bank and Bank of Industry have done with the 200 million dollars earmarked for the industry. I would
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When Love Happens breaks box office records
When Love Happens the movie featuring Desmond Elliot, Weruche Opia, Gideon Okeke, O.C. Ukeje, Bukky Wright, Beverly Naya, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey and Helen Paul has broken box office records in its first weekend in cinemas. The movie, which opened in cinemas across the country on 24 October 2014, emerged the most viewed movie and became a crowd favourite in cinemas over the weekend. It also made an impressive showing in its first weekend in cinemas, making it the number one movie in cinemas ahead of other movies over the weekend. According to one of the producers of the movie Moses Babatope, “Our outing in cinemas this weekend was really impressive. It was like movie lovers had been waiting for us to come to the cinemas.” When Love Happens follows the story of Moduroti Bankole-Smith is a twenty eight year old events planner that has always been unlucky in love. Events take a bizarre turn when she is hired to plan a long-time friend’s wedding. Distributed by FilmOne Distribution Company, the movie is produced by Moses and Seyi Babatope and directed by Seyi Babatope.
Another one bites the dust: Nollywood actor Clems Onyeka killed Nollywood actor Clems Onyeka was killed by a stray bullet around a robbery scene in Asaba, Delta State on 14 October 2014. The 37 year old actor was reportedly shot along Summit Express, Asaba, Delta State during a shoot out between the police and armed robbers during a bank robbery operation. He reportedly died on the spot. The Nigerian Film Corporation has reacted to the death. In a statement in Jos, signed by Brian Etuk the Corporation’s Head of Public Affairs, the NFC described the death of Clems Onyeka’s as shocking, untimely, and a great loss to the film Industry. According to Etuk, NFC’s Managing Director Dr. Danjuma Dadu is deeply saddened by the untimely death of Onyeka. The NFC boss commiserated with the family of Clems Onyeka, just as he also condoled with all film practitioners over this sudden loss, especially the leadership and members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). He described the actor’s death as pathetic and unfortunate. Dadu assured that the NFC will continue to positively engage all film practitioners and stakeholders in the country to imbibe best global practices in the art and business of filmmaking, the statement added.
A Letter from Adam set for Sunyani premiere Lydia Forson will premiere her production debut A Letter from Adam in Sunyani on 15 November 2014. The movie has already enjoyed high patronage from fans and industry practitioners during its Accra and Kumasi premieres. Directed by Sam Kessie the movie features a star studded cast comprising Wale Ojo, Akorfa Ejeani Asiedu, Naa Ashorkor Mensah Doku and Lydia Forson among others. Set in Accra, the romantic drama is a contemporary story about love, loss and hope. A Letter from Adam seeks to give its audience an often neglected truth about love; it doesn’t always come in the form one expects it to. STORIES: OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA
Writer and director, CHIKA ANADU speaks to EBUNOLUWA MORDI about her award winning debut feature B for Boy, her inspiration and her next plans What inspired you to work as a filmmaker? I’ve always loved film, right from when I was a child. But it wasn’t till I fell in love with foreign language arthouse cinema and saw Cinema Paradiso (an Italian film), that I realised that this is what I should be doing.
What lessons did you learn about life as well as filmmaking working on the film.
I learned that filmmaking is not for the faint It will be out worldwide online (except in of heart, and that it’s my home. Africa) from 1 December 2014. It’ll be available in Nigeria and the rest of Africa early next year. What is your favourite line from the film? “That woman will outlive us all!”
Prior to directing, had you ever acted or worked in other aspects of filmmaking? Any memeorable experiences on set? No.
Being a female director, do you feel you have to work twice as hard to prove yourself? Not that I’ve noticed. I think filmmaking is tough, regardless of your gender.
Tell us about the B for Boy story, how did it all start?
B for Boy is a contemporary drama set in Nigeria about one woman’s desperate need for a male child. It explores the discrimination of women in the names of culture and religion. I wanted to make a feature, and out of all the themes I had wanted to explore at the time, this one appeared to be the most willing to be told.
When will it be released on DVD and how can people watch the film now?
There were many but the one that stands out is when one of the hard drives refused to mount, and the DIT guy had not backed up the footage. Three days of footage! It took three months for the data retrieval people to retrieve it. And only 70 percent of it. But we were lucky. It didn’t affect the finished film.
What has the response been like to the film? The response has been very good to excellent across board; adiences and critics alike, all around the world.
Congrats on your AMAA win, were you expecting it?
What are your views on Nollywood? It’s big.
What was the last Nigerian film you watched? Confusion Na Wa.
What are you currently working on? I’m currently working on writing a TV series.
Who would you like to work with in the future? No one in particular. I like working with actors that have little to no experience. They tend to be more open to direction, and eager to please, so that makes my work easier.
In five words, you are? An international filmmaker from Nigeria.
Not at all. I wasn’t even there.
How long did it take you from start to finish?
How has the AMAA win impacted on your career?
It took three and a half long years.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHIKA ANADU
Mariama and Khady Sylla Faye: In single words BY SHERIF AWAD Mariama Sylla Faye is a typical product of the Senegalese cinema. Since the age of seventeen, she has been attending the cinema circle thanks to her mother who worked at the national film office and her sister, Khady who was a filmmaker. Mariama also discovered cinema of the 1970s through films projected onto a white sheet by her mother at the family house.
After finishing her studies, she worked as a director and producer creating films through her production company GuissGuissCom andmade several films including Dakar Deuk Raw (2008), Skirmisher Marc Gueye: My Pen, My Fight (2010) and her newest documentary A Single Word (2014), co-directed with the late Khady Sylla, her elder sister.
A Single Word premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last September. It is a documentary that draws a picture of their traditional oral culture where their grandmother griot (storyteller) Penda Diogo Sarr who is one of the last repositories of their culture’s oral tradition that remains one of the last guarantors of genealogical memory. Khady Sylla, who died in October 2013, left with us a tribute to the ancestors and those who have gone. It is the seventh collaboration with her younger sister, who considers this the most accomplished of their work. “I started working with my sister at the age of seventeen,” remembered Mariama. “She was the one who trained me and introduced me to cinema and scriptwriting. The person I am today is the result of this long journey with Khady, the first-born of our family. I am the youngest and she and I often laughed about being at these two ends. Despite the difference in age and education, we were able to come together.” But how was this film conceived? “The idea for the film came one day when, while sitting on a mat next to our great grandmother, her voice broke the silence of the evening sunset and the purple twilight,” said Mariama. “She sang of her ancestors. Her slightly husky voice and the emotion that it carried moved us deeply. Though we were not able to record these words that came from the depths of time, we were satisfied with listening to the voice of this centenarian with whom we had woven so many ties. It is from this moment that we had a desire to make a film about the oral tradition but seen from the perspective of our family, because we had realised that being of a generation of the written word, that this manner of relaying the word had escaped us.” The duo went to film several takes as Penda Diogo Sarr taught them the words. They asked her to teach them the foundations of oral culture. She was very happy to do so, patiently repeating the words of a verse about three of their ancestors. The grandmother lived simultaneous disappearances, that of her own imminent person because of her advanced age, and that of the world that witnessed her birth into the world of the Wolof peasantry. And that is why every time she meets her grandchildren, it is always highly emotional. All of the imperceptible emotion that is shown in the film comes from this sense of loss. A Single Word is not an ethnographic film about speaking but it is rather a portrait questioning the whole world. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MARIAMA SYLLA FAYE
Mahen Bonetti: Africa goes to New York M
ahen Bonetti is the founder and executive director of the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) that celebrated its 20th edition last year. NYAFF takes place at the Lincoln Centre and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Offering year-round programming, NYAFF showcases new and classic African films to thousands through such programs as the African Film Festival National Travelling Series, which visits up to 13 cities across the United States. Furthermore, NYAFF also runs a series of community-based screenings in which it partners with local cultural organisations to present films in a community setting, such as in New York City Parks. In addition to the aforementioned programming, the festival also has several ongoing projects under the umbrella of educational programming, which includes in-school film presentations and discussions with Global Kids, Inc., the French Heritage Language Program, the Cornerstone Mentoring Program, and the East Harlem School at Exodus House. Mahen Bonetti is a Sierra Leonean who has lived in the United States for the past twenty-five years. Her parents had been active in Sierra Leone’s post-independence government, and when that government was overthrown, they were jailed for a period of time. Shortly thereafter, Mahen left Sierra Leone and travelled to Liberia where she lived for about a year as a ward of an uncle, who was also active in the Liberian government. Eventually she came to the States and, after completing her studies, she worked in advertising and later for Weekly News. She developed more of an interest in the arts when she met her Swiss husband Luca, an art conservator. As a result of this bond, she wanted to support Africa’s influence and contribution to universal arts and culture. In 1980, she was able to return home only to be aware of the misunderstanding which existed between Africa and the United States, where basically the images of Africa that were most seen or known to Americans were those of starving children, despots and natural calamities. It seemed like Africa was just one disaster zone. “I started to have this dream of bringing all these African filmmakers to screen their films in gigantic marquis opening across New York and in places like Times Square. This is how the idea of NYAFF was born. In the 1990s, I started to work on realising it… When I look back to the tasks I went through, I discover that was totally green and naïve. It was a time before the start of the internet revolution that facilitated the communication between the five continents. However, it was also the perfect time to give Africa a voice during the geopolitical situations that created activists out the new rising African artists and filmmakers who were also advocating for humanity. I started to travel and to know more about the whole world through watching more films and meeting more filmmakers in European and African festivals. When I used to attend big European festivals like Locarno in Switzerland, the homeland of my husband, I was hoping that one day we can have big screens like theirs in Africa,” she explained. Through NYAFF, Bonetti was keen to heighten the knowledge about Africa and its heritage by eliminating the mediocre and stereotypical conception about African magic, cannibalism and warfare. The first who gave me some helping hands was the French cultural centre so I remember taking the train from Switzerland to Paris to meet them while I was pregnant with my only child. “On the road, I got this long distance phone call from my husband in New York who informed me that my mother had passed away in Sierra Leone. So it was a very emotional experience trying to create something after I lost someone very close”, remembers Bonetti who, after returning to the Big Apple, received the support of MOMA Museum, Lincoln Centre and Ford Foundation. STORY: SHERIF AWAD PHOTO: COURTESY OF MAHEN BONNETI
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Stars light up the red carpet of Seyi Babatopeâ€™s When Love Happens
Kemi Lala Akindoju
What does family mean to you?
Family is everything. No amount of success, fame and career can trump that.
How do you balance your work with your personal life? When on set, it’s all about the work. When at home, all focus shifts there.
Who are your role models? More like people I respect their work ethics: Daniel Oriahi, my mum, Joke Silva, Genevieve Nnaji and in my generation, Ivie Okujaiye, Judith Audu and Lala Akindoju.
Who would you like to work with in the future? Oh! I have lofty dreams! Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Genevieve Nnaji.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change? I’d start early. As early as five years old.
Q and A with
Ijeoma Grace Agu BY EBUNOLUWA MORDI
What is your favourite line from a movie?
“Here’s looking at you kid” from Casablanca.
What are your hopes for Nollywood? Structure, structure and proper structure. I dream of the day when every competent and talented creative would occupy their own niche; the writers write, producers produce, casting agents cast, directors direct, cinematographers shoot, actors act, editors edit, composers do the movie score and PR agents do publicity.
What advice do you have for other actresses? Ijeoma Grace Agu is a versatile stage and screen actress. She won the Most Promising Star (female) at the 2014 Best of Nollywood Awards.
How long have you been acting for? Professionally, this is my seventh year.
Be sure this is what you want to do with your life. Act. Secondly, keep working on your craft.
What next can we expect from you? More quality work. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF IJEOMA GRACE AGU
”High points will be the awards (30 Nigeria House Grant and BON) then headlining my one woman show, The Chronicle of Heroines and being the lead for Misfit which has gone on to bring so many other blessings. Low point? Honestly none. I have been highly favoured and blessed in my career.” What are you doing to improve your craft? I do read books on acting and watch videos online of acting master classes. I also practise by recording monologues and uploading them on my Youtube page.
What have been the high and low points of your career? High points will be the awards (30 Nigeria House Grant and BON) then headlining my one woman show, The Chronicle of Heroines and being the lead for Misfit which has gone on to bring so many other blessings. Low point? Honestly none. I have been highly favoured and blessed in my career.
Share with us your year in film for 2014. 2014 started on a very good note. I played the lead in the TV movie Out of Fire for Mnet. Then my movie, Misfit was released in select cinemas in April. In June, I travelled to Paris for the Nollywood week film festival where Misfit was selected for screening. Then I took time out to have my daughter. A couple of weeks after putting to birth, I started filming for a TV romcom for EbonyLife TV. Then came the BON awards in October where I won the Most Promising Star (female). I am currently in preproduction for a short film titled The Habit which follows the story of a nun. It’s been a year of countless blessings I must say.
BY OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA
1. Name four actors in Folly? 2. Name one Nigerian movie directed by a woman. 3. Flower Girl won in how many categories at the 2014 Nollywood Movies Awards ? 4. What film did Omoni Oboli direct? 5. Name the Hollywood actresses in Turning Point? 6. Where was A Letter from Adam shot? 7. A Place in the Stars is about the work of which woman? 8. Which year was White Waters shot? 9. Who acted the lead role in Invasion 1897? 10. Who produced A Mile From Home?
Up Close and Personal with
Belinda Effah Belinda Effah is an award winning Nigerian actress and presenter. ACTING JOURNEY
I have always had the passion to be an actress. When I was in primary school, I was always looking for ways to participate in any acting activity. My father has always been of the opinion for all his children to be well educated. As soon as I completed my tertiary education, I started acting and he gave me his blessings. Education broadens one’s scope and eliminates a lot of limitation one comes across in life. Because I am educated, acting comes to me in a new light and I am able to understand and interprete different roles I come across in a way that is easier.
Every role I play is challenging for me because as an actor, I seek new ways of interpreting roles differently and in a way that the audience can relate with easily. I try to make every role I play very believable and convincing.
I wish I had acted in 12 Years A Slave. I will like to work with Meryl Streeps, Angelina Jolie, Genevieve Nnaji, Nse Ikpe-Etim and Mercy Johnson.
No I wouldn’t. My body is the temple of God.
ON WINNING AWARDS
I feel very honored and grateful to God Almighty. It’s not of my own doing. I feel blessed to be associated with renowned producers and directors that they deem me fit to star in their movies. The awards I have won so far have helped sky rocket my career to the next level. Today, I am a very active actress. I have gained recognition in the industry as an actress and I am very grateful.
For work my mentors are Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streeps and Genevieve Nnaji. In church, Pastor Paul Adefaransin, Pastor Joe Ulaeto and Pastor Ayo Otuyalo.
My style is Belinda; whatever makes Belinda rock. I don’t particularly care about trends, I go with my moods and it could range from edgy to sexy to controversial. I am very adventurous with fashion. Beyoncé Knowles is a huge inspiration and she is also my number 1 fashion icon. Whatever you see on Beyoncé is Beyoncé. She sets the trend for others to follow. Her sense of fashion is sexy, sultry and savvy and that defines me.
I am very handy in the beauty field.
I am sure business. I am already into the food packaging business and that is going very well. You can find Favor-Right foods in local supermarkets in town. INTERVIEW: EBUNOLUWA MORDI PHOTO: COURTESY OF BELINDA EFFAH
REVIEWS Title: 10:10 Genre: Short film Director: Gbenga Salu Year: 2013
Title: When Love Happens Genre: Feature film Director: Seyi Babatope Year: 2014
When Love Happens is the story of Moduroti Bankole-Smith, a twenty eight year old events planner that has been unlucky in love. She is reminded at every turn about how wonderful love is and when she’s hired to plan her long-time friend’s upcoming wedding, she goes on a relationship expedition to find her true love. The cast was pretty young, with some relatively unknown faces. Mo, the main character was played by newbie Weruche Opia who was at home with her character, handled it well and was overly anxious for a 28 year old. While I loved the monologue scenes, I didn’t really feel her chemistry with her male characters.
10:10 engages you and keeps you watching till the end. It is filled with intrigues and every scene raises questions. Some these questions however continues after the whole 14:53 minutes of the short film. The exceptionally poor acting would be the presage of queries of soundness of script and the competence of a director who couldn’t bring out the best in the actors, even though the actors might have been just as bad as they appeared. This doesn’t mean that effort was not put into making this good. On the contrary, only that attention was paid to the wrong details. - INNOCENT EKEJIUBA Title: Journey to Self Genre: Feature film Director: Tope Oshin Ogun Year: 2013
Journey to Self is a film about female empowerment. The movie revolves around five childhood friends: Regina (Ashionye Michelle Raccah), Alex (Dakore Akande), Uche (Tosin Sido), Rume (Katherine Obiang) and Nse (Nse Ikpe-Etim). The story is told through a series of letters left behind by Uche, employs flashbacks and is heavy on dialogue. Raccah shines the light on suicide, domestic abuse, cross dressing, infertility and single parenthood among others. The soundtrack and scenic views of Lagos and Abuja helped to spice things up. The male characters would have done with more development to give the film more balance. Serious stuff. - ISABELLA AKINSEYE Title: Tunnel Genre: Feature film Director: Stanlee Ohikhuare Year: 2014
For her friends Tobe and Tseju played by Gideon Okeke and Oreka Godis. I loved Godis’ sarcastic humour, her attitude towards life and not taking it too seriously. She was brilliant and definitely needs more roles in the industry. Okeke felt too obvious and oblivious at the same time. Long time-friend played by Beverly was spot on for me. She was obnoxious (much more than usual) and a total bridezilla. I felt the accent, which was in full swing was way too much for the role, but I guess that’s the easiest way to deliver cocky, cynical and sarcastic into one. Ukeje plays a confident lover/player but the chemistry between Dare and Mo felt non-existent at some point. Mo’s mum played by Shaffy Bello was sweet and a breath of fresh air. And while I loved Desmond, I believe that his lone scene with Mo could have been edited making the movie 1:30:00 as against 1:40:00. Make-up was too heavy especially for Godis’ character. The script was simple and basic and was pulled off okay. Some of the long scenes and dialogues got me bored and some close-up shots made some scenes look uneasy. Production quality was top notch. Sound and picture quality were excellent as well as the sound track.
- EFETURI DOGHUDJE
Tunnel’s selling point is its interesting themes; personal faith, marital infidelity, corruption, sickness and domestic abuse. Add cinematography, special effects, solid acting and a great soundtrack to the list. For a change, we see Nigerian celebrities in a movie (Waje Iruobe and Lepacious Bose) totally commit to their characters without relying on their ‘talent’. While we do hear Waje’s voice (church scene and soundtrack) it is her character Sade that sticks. Stanlee Ohikhuare pushes the envelope with creative lighting and shots. However, a final edit in the sound, lighting, subtitles and pace is required take this movie a notch higher. - ISABELLA AKINSEYE Title: A Short Documentary Genre: Documentary Director: Soji Oyinsan and Stephen Oruwari (Co-director) Year: 2013 I know A Short Documentary is meant to chronicle the thoughts of a short person, but what I see is basically the sequence of events and circumstances that leads a girl (who is quite short) to meet a tall guy. For a concept that has a lot of potential, the storyline appears to be awfully shallow and lifeless just like the mute characters used, especially Moby when playing a mute part. Unbelievably, the liveliest mute actor in the production is the little child. In total, the production was spot on. Perfect for the concept, but too good for the story. - INNOCENT EKEJIUBA
Title: October 1 Genre: Feature film Director: Kunle Afolayan Year: 2014 There is no doubt that Kunle Afolayan is a Joseph; he dreams big, thinks wide and always aspires to do better than his previous projects. That is why I wasnâ€™t surprised when I heard he had embarked on a new project which would cost him $2 million to achieve. It was a project I was definitely looking forward to see. The film is a psychological thriller that tells the story of an inspector, Danladi Waziri, who was brought into the town of Akute by the white colonial superiors, to investigate and solve a series of murders of some women before Independence day, October 1, 1960. It is a brilliant period drama, set in the 1960s and delivered by an outstanding array of cast, led by Sadiq Daba and Demola Adedoyin who played Inspector Waziri and Prince Aderopo respectively with supporting performances from the likes of Kayode Aderupoko, Kehinde Bankole, Femi Adebayo and Ibrahim Chettah, just to mention a few. Beyond the acting, the story was quite compelling; a finely written plot with neatly woven subplots and intensely driven twists. From the first act through to the final, the ride was fun. The screenwriter, Tunde Babalola is sure one to look out for. The direction was superb. Afolayan has proven his ingenuity with this flick; telling a story beyond a story and delivering the message with enough thrills and wit.
The film had a unique blend of beautiful art â€œ dazzling costumes, artistic shots design, (commendable work by cinematographer, Yinka Edwards) and riveting music score. These were all excellently woven together to make this film a classic and put it on par with likes of Saworo Ide (by the legendary Tunde Kelani, which coincidentally had Kunle feature The film had a unique blend of beautiful art design, dazzling in it). This is the best production of 2014 so costumes, artistic shots (commendable work by cinematographer, Yinka Edwards) and riveting music score. These were all excellently far. woven together to make this film a classic and put it on par with likes of Saworo Ide (by the legendary Tunde Kelani, which coincidentally had Kunle feature in it). This is the best production of 2014 so far. Even though some scenes and plot lines were shoddy and still typical Nollywood-like (the opening scene and the Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti sub-plot), the impeccable work put into this film overshadows all flaws. Once again, Afolayan has used this film to raise the bar in Nollywood and given us hope that our industry can one day stand equally with the foreign giant Hollywood. I would recommend this movie for everyone; it is worth seeing, it is worth the time and it is worth the money. Get to the nearest cinema near you for this movie. - ENIOLA AYOBOLA
INTERVIEW What is your favourite line from a movie? “Abeg wetin be Oma mata? Oma mata, Ama mata na dsame tin mata dey inside!” Desperate Housegirls produced by Uduak Isong.
If you could change Nollywood, what would you do? I would stop the division in the industry. Nollywood should be Nollywood and not Hause wood, Igbo wood, Yoruba wood, that’s what brings hatred in the industry. Hollywood is Hollywood, there’s no LA wood or Chicago wood.
Which Nigerian leader inspires you? Wole Soyinka because he is one Nigerian icon. I believe that he has the interest of the country at heart.
What is your favourite genre of movies? Action and romantic comedy.
TALENT ON THE RISE: MARY LAZARUS Up and coming actress, Mary Lazarus started her career as a model in 2002. The Geography graduate who started acting in 2009 has starred in several TV soaps and movies. The Abia State native speaks to Oluwayomi Olushola about her journey so far. Your acting journey: talent or training?
How do you achieve a healthy work life balance? I always try to balance both work and personal life to ensure none is lacking. I also seperate both. Once I’m done with work I leave everything about work behind me.
What is your greatest possession? My hair.
Do you have plans to settle down or will you be focusing on your career for now? Sure I have plans to settle and start up a family soon.
Talent. I have been training on the job since the day I started acting.
Describe your ideal man.
What is your typical daily routine like?
My ideal man? A Terrence Jenkins. Hahahaha! Short, tall, fat, slim, medium sized all join, na the heart matter.
I wake up in the morning, say my prayers and get myself ready. I go straight to set. When I’m not working, I wake up, say my prayers, jot down some ideas, read a little, watch movies and attend church events. I also hangout with friends.
What are you currently working on?
I am on location working on Seperate Lives, an Mnet production.
How do you deal with rejection at auditions? At that particular moment, it hurts and after that, I get over it assuming that I’m not fit for that character.
How do you overcome challenges on the job? Every job comes with its challenge, like character challenge, production challenge. How I overcome challenges depends on the challenge in question but I must say overcoming each challenge makes me stronger.
What are some sacrifices you have had to make on the job?
I cur my hair for Loosing Control, a movie produced by Emem Isong. It was a tough decision for me deciding whether to cut my hair or not.
How financially rewarding is it being an actress in Nollywood? So far acting has been profitable and I also combine it with modelling.
How do you handle the fame? I don’t let it get into me and as far as I’m concerned I have not got to the peak of my career.
Which woman in Nollywood inspires you? Joke Silva. I want to still be as relevant as she is at her age.
Are there any other areas of filmmaking you would like to get involved in? Yes I plan to go into directing.
Who would you like to work with in the future? Tyler Perry.
If you were not acting, what would you be doing? If I was not acting maybe, I will be selling pepper and tomatoes. Hahahaha!
Mary Lazarus in five words? A simple fun loving personality. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MARY LAZARUS
Masikini by Kutika BY SHERIF AWAD
Up-and-coming African women working as filmmakers are always distinguished by their works on the documentary and narrative scenes.
One of the established figures in African cinema is the thirty-something Laura Kutika who is a mother of two children, a green belt champion of taekwondo, a screenwriter, a director and novelist from Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kutika, who goes sometimes by the name of Laura Guliamo Luyeye, was the author of the novels Alone Facing Our Fates and To Our Missteps and now she is about to publish her third novel Before It’s Too Late. In her writings and blogging, Kutika denounces the domestic violence against women and supports women’s rights to live on equal basis with men in our African societies. The ever-active Kutika also directed the stage play The Diary of a Chambermaid that was written by Octave Mirbeau who was also denouncing the modern forms of slavery in treating workers in bad ways. Kutika started to build her film and TV career by co-writing the television series Hotel Kinshasa for Antenne A in 2001, becoming an assistant director on the feature film Ndouleman by Nolda di Massamba and directing short films like Go For It in 2011 and Moumoune and Me in 2013. Laura Kutika, who is based in France, has just finished shooting her one-hour documentary dedicated to the Congolese Diva Abeti Masikini. The film has the title of The Struggle of a Woman. “The idea of this film about the singer came to me after reading a book that was written about her by her former publicist Berthrand Nguyen Matoko,“ said Kutika. “The book was entitled Abeti Masikini: The Golden Voice of Zaire and it depicted the rise to stardom of Abeti Masikini, whose real name was Elizabeth Finant. Masikini became one of the first African singers to perform at the Olympia of Paris in 1973.” “Abeti Masikini was also inspiring in the emancipation of women to combine work and family life,”explained Kutika. “When I chose to direct this film, I wanted to show Masikini as a role model. So I started to write the script until my producer and co-director Ne Kunda Nlaba, who resides in London, came on board.” Apart from the advice of Berthrand Nguyen Matoko, Kutika received support and collaboration from producer Gerard Akueson, the husband of Abeti Masikini, and her eldest daughter, Yolanda Masikini who appear as interviewees in the film.
The Struggle of a Woman premiered last September in Kinshasa during the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Abeti Masikini. The documentary is starting its tour across the world through film festivals. Abeti Masikini was a great lady of African music that started a huge career in 1971 with her band ‘Les Rédoutables’ and she made unforgettable performances of the songs ‘I Love You’, ‘Jalousie’, ‘Je Suis Fâchée’ and ‘Cheri Badé’ which have risen her to the status of James Brown and Miriam Makeba. PHOTO: COURTESY OF LAURA KUTIKA
RED CARPET Celebrities, cinephiles grace private screening of A Place in the Stars Native Filmworks Limited, pioneer film producers and makers of the feature movie, A Place in the Stars, hosted a private screening of the movie at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel on 12 October 2014. The event attracted celebrities, cinephiles and the crĂ¨me de la crĂ¨me of the Lagos business community. Directed and produced by the celebrated filmmaker, Steve Gukas, A Place in the Stars is a riveting voyage into the dark under-world of fake drugs trafficking and of the harrowing consequences to the most vulnerable members of society. Set in 2006 Nigeria, the film tells the story of Kim Dakim (Gideon Okeke), a young lawyer with a case and a client that leave him professionally conflicted. Kim is in possession of information that could save scores if he would only pass it on. Faced with the deathly consequences of crossing industry kingpins, including the toughest of them all, Diokpa Okonkwo (Segun Arinze) and with millions to earn if he would only turn a blind eye, Kim battles his conscience and professional responsibility as he determines which way to turn. STORY AND PHOTOS: COURTESY OF A PLACE IN THE STARS
Enitan Denloye and Audu Maikori
Top 10 women in film BY WILFRED OKICHE
Filmmaking business is a man’s world it seems, but there exists a subtle but no less powerful bloc of female filmmakers who are bucking the trends and making movies that audiences are responding to. Then there are those who provide momentum for more to be achieved and have succeded in building capacity. Influenced by the pioneering efforts of the late Amaka Igwe, these women – whether beloved actresses or former lawyers, home grown or returnees – have refused to accept the status quo and are putting out an enviable body of work. We present the 10 women in film in alphabetical order
1 Chineze Anyaene Fresh off her studies at the prestigious New York Film Academy, Anyaene brought the duo of Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde together to star in Ije: The Journey, Nigeria’s biggest movie, by box-office returns. She was recently announced the chairperson of the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee and her role involves the important task of choosing what movies will fly Nigeria’s flag for the Best Foreign Language during Oscar season.
Michelle Bello Nigerian-British Bello runs Blu Star entertainment, her own production outfit and has produced and directed two feature films; Small Boy (2007) and Flower Girl (2013). She has done behind the scenes work for Mo Abudu on Moments with ‘Mo and TY Bello for her ‘Greenland’ video. A Masters degree holder in Communications, Bello’s Blu Star in 2007, published The Film Directory, a comprehensive listing of industry practitioners.
Ugoma Adegoke Adegoke is the producer/director of the four year old Lights Camera Africa film festival which recently wrapped up five days of film screenings, discussions and exhibitions at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. Films screened at the festival this year include Half of a Yellow Sun and Kunle Afolayan’s October 1. An alumnus of the Manchester Business School, Adegoke remains committed to the development of the film industry and attracts filmmakers across the country with LCA.
2 Peace Anyiam-Osigwe After guiding the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) from an uncertain beginning to an impressive ten year installment, Anyiam-Osigwe has announced plans to step down from the day to day running of Africa’s biggest film institution. But her contributions to the development of the film industry and commitment in celebrating film talent can never be erased from history. Apart from reward, AMAA through the Africa Film Academy organises capacity building workshops for filmmakers.
Ego Boyo found fame in the nineties, playing privileged Ann Haastrup on Amaka Igwe’s primetime soap opera, Checkmate but it is her work behind the screens where she functions as a producer that places her square on this list. Boyo began producing in 1996 with the classic, Violated and has done documentaries, adverts and short films via her Temple productions. Of recent, she produced the rom-coms Keeping Faith and Mildred Okwo’s The Meeting.
Shirley Frimpong-Manso Frimpong-Manso may be Ghanaian in origin but her crossover movies tend to attract top Nollywood stars in significant roles. Joseph Benjamin was a forgettable support in The Contract but Nse Ikpe-Etim shone brightly in her latest, this year’s Devil in the Detail. The current Best Director in Africa (AMVCA), Frimpong-Manso is quite prolific and her Sparrow Productions almost never puts a wrong foot forward.
Stephanie Linus This screen queen took a filmmaking course at the New York Film Academy and hasn’t looked back since. Her first feature, Through the Glass (2008) was a huge hit and even though she has not released any other film since then, Linus has been heavily invested in the industry, especially through the Del-York International, a media managing and capacity building platform she runs with her husband, Linus Idahosa. Her next film Dry, is still in post-production stages.
Mildred Okwo Known in Nollywood circles as the other half of Rita Dominic’s The Audrey Silva Company, Okwo keeps a low profile intentionally, letting her work do all the talking. She left a Law career in the United States and returned home to make 30 Days (2006), an action-thriller starring Genevieve Nnaji and directed The Meeting (2012). Okwo is a member of the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee, the body burdened with ensuring Nollywood’s representation at forthcoming Oscar ceremonies.
A graduate of the Lagos State University, Oshin-Ogun remained for five seasons the only female director on Mnet’s hit soap Tinsel. She runs Sunbrow Productions and SunBow-Cast, a casting agency and provides content for a wide array of clients. She directed Ebony Life TV’s reality series Screen Divas and has the award winning feature film, Journey to Self to her credit. Oshin-Ogun is also an actress and dialogue coach.
Chioma Ude The executive director and founder of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) has been working assiduously for the past three years to make AFRIFF the continent’s most important film festival. Aside the glitz and glam, AFRIFF provides film training and talent development opportunities for budding filmmakers and creates an environment for stakeholders to engage in robust discussions on ways of moving the industry forward.
AFRIFF 2014: Organisers announce festival’s top films The organisers of the annual Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) have announced The Square, an Oscar-nominated documentary by Egyptian filmmaker, Jehan Noujaim, as the opening night film and Hard To Get, from first-time feature director, Zee Ntuli, as the closing night movie. The festival’s Artistic Director, Keith Shiri said that AFRIFF 2014 would once again celebrate the amazing artistry that African filmmakers are known for. He said, “Our opening night film is The Square, an Oscar-nominated documentary by the Egyptian filmmaker, Jehan Noujaim. This is a stunning film that charts the course of three years of Egyptian political upheaval that began in 2011. Our closing night film, Hard To Get, is a compact, highly enjoyable, kinetic and action thriller. The young South African director, Zee Ntuli, displays a mastery of the action genre with breezy performances from its main cast.” Shiri noted that this year’s selection is an array of feature films, some hard-hitting documentaries and a generous selection of shorts representing over 30 countries from all the regions of Africa. According to him, other films that have made it into the festival’s official selection include Gone Too Far, an adaption from Bola Agbaje’s Olivier award-winning play set in London. Directed by Destiny Ekaragha, the outrageously enjoyable comedy focuses on two estranged Nigerian brothers as they meet for the first time.
He further stated: “Difret is another affecting feature debut from Ethiopia, detailing the traumatic experience of an Ethiopian girl accused of killing a man who had sexually abused her. Nigeria is strongly represented again this year with Tunde Kelani’s Dazzling Mirage, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s Invasion 1897 and Kunle Afolayan’s October 1. There is equally a feast of compelling stories in the short films category, among which is the African Metropolis’ six short films that examine the complexity of urban life from Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi.”
Invasion 1897, an epic on the historical Benin Empire, will enjoy a special screening at the festival. The film features top Nigerian stars such as Segun Arinze, Paul Obazele, Charles Inojie, the late Justus Esiri and Mike Omoregbe who played the lead role as Omo n’ Oba Ovanrawmen Nogbaisi. In addition to the wide range of films, the festival also offers industry platforms for skill acquisition, financing, pitching and symposia on digital distribution and piracy. AFRIFF 2014 is scheduled to take place at the popular Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, Calabar, Cross River State, from November 9 to 16.
Ake Arts and Book Festival Documentary Making Masterclass There is an opportunity for six people who already have experience with filmmaking, to attend a masterclass that will better equip them to tackle and capture serious and personal issues that pertain to our society. In an environment where film has become a powerful medium through which important lessons about mental, physical and sexual health can be transmitted to large number of people, it is important that potential film-makers get the right training so they can do this effectively. This masterclass will be facilitated by awardwinning French film/documentary maker Emmanuelle Mougne. Requirements A portable camera No less than 2 GB memory card. Total Hours: 24 Hours Sessions 1: 17 November 2014 (09:00- 13:00 and 14:00 -18:00) Sessions 2: 18 November 2014 (09:00- 13:00 and 14:00 -18:00) Sessions 3: 19 November 2014 (09:00- 13:00 and 14:00 -18:00) Participants will be expected to attend all sessions. To register, visit www.akefestival.org
IN FILMHOUSE CINEMAS THIS NOVEMBER A Place in the Stars Synopsis: Kim Dakim (Gideon Okeke), a young lawyer gets a client with a case that leaves him conflicted. He has information that can save many lives if he passes it on, but he also stands to make millions if he doesn’t. In a very corrupt country where everyone loves money and no one cares how you make it, Kim sees this as his chance to make it big. Problem is Diokpa Okonkwo (Segun Arinze) the kingpin of the counterfeit medical drugs trade who his case is against, doesn’t play nice. He kills at will to protect his multi-million dollar trade and is not pulling punches against Kim and his client. He has Kim’s client in jail and assassins out to silence Kim. Suddenly Kim is at war on two fronts; one to stay alive and the other against his conscience and everything he has been raised to believe is right. Release Date: 14 November 2014
OUT ON DVD A Mile From Home has been released on DVD. The multiple award winning movie features Tope Tedela, Chiedozie Sambasa Nzeribe, Alex Ayalogu, Eric Nwanso and Tolu Akinbileje. Directed by Eric Aghimien, the movie chronicles the life of a university student, Jude Odaro who joined a gang in his quest to avenge an injustice meted out to him by Stone, a notorious gangster who forcefully dispossesses him of a precious possession. Suku, the leader of the gang loves him and makes him the number two man in the gang. Together, they set out on a path of crime and vioence.
A Letter from Adam premieres in Accra, Ghana
Lydia Forson with members of the cast of A Letter from Adam and guests
Sandra Ankobiah and Yvonne Okoro
Lydia Forson, Jimmy Jean Louis and Akorfa Ejeani Asiedu
Award winning actress turned producer, Lydia Forson premiered her latest feature, A Letter From Adam on 19 September 2014 at the Silverbird Cinema in Accra. Yvonne Nelson, Yvonne Okoro, Reggie Rockstone, Van Vicker, Elikem Kumordzie, Manifest, Pascal Amanfo, Irene Opare and Jimmy Jean Louis were among those who graced the occasion. Written and produced by Forson, the movie is a romantic drama set in Accra. Directed by Sam Kessie, the movie features a star studded cast from Nigeria and Ghana. STORY: EBUNOLUWA MORDI PHOTOS: COURTESY OF LYDIA FORSON
2014 Nollywood Movies Awards holds in style The third edition of the Nollywood Movies Awards (NMA 2014) was held on 18 October 2014, at the Grand African Ballroom of the Intercontinental Lagos, Victoria Island. Hosted by the trio Dakore Akande, Gideon Okeke, Denrele Edun and Uru Eke, the event brought together actors, filmmakers, celebrities and industry practitioners for a night of glitz, glamour and entertainmeny. Mike Ezuruonye, Iretiola Doyle, Dayo Amusa, Tope Tedela and Kenneth Gyang were among the winners of the night. Best Lead Male — Mike Ezuruonye (Unforgivable) Best Lead Female — Ireti Doyle (Torn) Best Actor (Supporting Role) — Lucky Ejim (Render to Caesar) Best Actress (Supporting Role) — Emem Udonquak (Itoro) Best Actor Indigenous — Afeez Eniola (Alakada) Best Actress Indigenous — Dayo Amusa (Unforgivable) Best Movie — A Mile from Home Best Director — Confusion Na Wa (Kenneth Gyang) Best Editing — Flower Girl (Kunle Laguda) Best Diaspora — Onye Ozi Best Short Movie — Brave Best Rising Star Male — Tope Tedela (A Mile from Home) Best Rising Star — Ivie Okujaye (Make A Move)
Best Child Actor — Oyindamola Lapejo – Finding Mercy Best Indigenous Movie — Onye Ozi Best Sound Design — Flower Girl (Kayode Nero Ilelabayo) Best Cinematography — Confusion Na Wa Best Original Screenplay — Render To Caesar (Michael Odogwu) Best Costume Design — The Village Boy I Love (Ogoo Okechi and Doris Kalu) Best Makeup — Honeymoon Hotel (Madeline Viijeon /Geordi Binstend / Kristy Williams) Best Set Design — Flower Girl (Derick Nwa-Jesus) Best Soundtrack — Flower Girl (Efya; ‘Best in Me’) NMA Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 — Tunde Kelani Popular Choice Actor — Ojulade Adekula Popular Choice Actress — Mercy Johnson Best TV/Web Series — Tinsel Top Box Office — Weekend Gateaway Nollywood Humanitarian Award — Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh STORY: OLUWAYOMI OLUSHOLA PHOTOS: COURTESY OF NOLLYWOOD MOVIES AWARDS