Category Archives: NOLLYWOOD

CAMERA MOVEMENT IN FILM

Ok. So lets talk about camera movement.

Camera movement is part of the visual language of cinema, and a key part in the screen grammar in the artist kit of a Director, used to tell a story. Unlike in non narrative music videos where movement doesn’t have to be motivated. In narrative story telling , 99.9% of the time, there should be a motivation for moving the camera.

Some motivations are

Subject movement motivated : the subject within the frame is moving and the camera moves along with them to keep them within the frame.

Subjective Camera: this is when the camera sees as the characters sees, and also moves accordingly. This is mostly in POV shots.

Reveal or Conceal : this is when the camera moves to reveal or hide a character or information. This is best employed to uncover critical narrative details or actions which till that time have been off screen.

Actual Camera Movements

Dolly Shot: this allows the camera to move closer or farther from an object(or subject) . Dolly in or Dolly out, are also know as a Push in or Push out.

Crane Shot : this raises the camera vertically up or down in relation to the subject.

Steadicam Shots: Steadicam is associated with free flowing dynamic camera movement. It allows the operator freedom of movement while maintaining a stable and clean shots (free of wobble & shaking)

Handheld: When shooting handheld, it MUST have a narrative purpose. It should just be done because a tripod wasn’t available, or getting the shot as quickly as possible when shooting guerrilla style. It can be used to give a documentary style feel. But if not done right, it can feel tonally out of place and pull out the viewer from the film. If shooting handheld, consider its place visually with the rest of the film, and the purpose of shooting that scene handheld. Are you creating a sense of urgency? Chasing a character? Following a character? Portraying a psychological or emotional state?

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Which one have you made(R.I.P)

There is a saying by Archbishop Desmond Tutu “Dont raise your voice, improve your argument” . I think that is a fantastic thought process to apply to any dispute or difference of opinion.

Creatives are very defensive of their work, especially when it comes to criticism they feel is harsh,unfair or lacks objectivity. The popular response for a long time to unfavourable reviews has been to say, “Which one have you made” or “Go and make your own let’s see”.

That response yields nothing. They learn nothing and you’ve painted the picture of being someone unable to hear anything else but praise.They have your own words to paint you as a tantrum thrower,and you stay pissed off in addition to risking your health with all that anger. Nothings’ been gained .The only winners are bloggers who can post the headline “Film-Maker fires back at critics: You are all stupid”

I think that response should retire for a new one. Before I share that ; I want to remix the Archbishop’s quote.

Improve your argument,present a logical & factual case, instead of raising your voice,bringing in sentiments or insulting the other person.

In 2017, if you feel your film has received an unfair review. You feel the reviewer didn’t understand your choices or that their views lacked objectivity. Here are some considerations

1) IGNORE IT – Many celebrated filmMakers, with not only billions of dollars in box office response to their body of work but also critical acclaim havent read a review in decades. I’m talking about some of the most influential directors of the last 20- 40 years who have made some of the most culturally impactful films. They just choose not to read reviews (or selectively read only certain critics). No matter your level of success/acclaim even a bit of criticism stings and is the one remembered.

2) FIND SOMETHING VALID – If you want to read, see if there is any validity in what they say buried somewhere in that review. Even if it’s just 1% you can take away. They paid to see your film so maybe they have something you can take from their thoughts.

3) KNOW THEY ARENT YOUR MARKET – If you make a product for everybody, you’ve made a product for nobody. As Marketer Seth Godin says “As soon as you’re willing to say ‘it’s not for you’, you’re freed up to make art.”. Maybe they didn’t get it. Maybe they aren’t your target market.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the highest grossing franchise in film history. More succesful than the Stars Wars,James Bond,Harry Potter franchises. Yet, there are people who can’t stand the films. There are people who would never watch the films even with free ticket and popcorn. Many faithful fans grew up reading the comics and watching the cartoons, to them the films are a dream come true.To others comic book movies are the death of cinema, have nothing to offer and they want no part regardless of box office success .

Some films are more about relate-ability than anything else and if a person can’t relate, then it’s not for them. Once you think about it that way you avoid a lot of stress.

4) MAYBE JUST MAYBE THEY’RE ACTUALLY RIGHT- I’ll use myself as an example. A few weeks ago I was in the office a colleague I respect and see like a senior brother. The thing about him, he never holds back and often leaves me with a lot to think about personally and professionally. We eventually got talking about a film I made and he gave me his honest opinion. He felt I could have done more with the story, I could have pushed the envelope and i allowed my own moral reservations get in the way of the story which stopped it from having the type of impact it should have. It turned out, OK, when it could have been, OH SHIT,DID THAT JUST HAPPEN. He was absolutely right. If I had prepared more, probably done another draft, hadn’t compromised and gotten out-of-the-way of the story i could have achieved much more.

Is it possible that you are too close ,too invested in your film to see its flaws? Are like the love struck hopeless romantic who thinks their lover is perfect, but friends and family can smell the rotten fufu in their character and intentions.

Is it possible a screen test with an honest trusted audience before releasing the film could have revealed pacing issues or scenes to hitting the floor ? Is it possible not enough time spent on the script? Too little time in pre-production? Was the edit rushed to meet a première date ? Perhaps the editor is great with music videos but doesn’t know how to cut drama?

Is it possible that maybe the story was too generic and offered nothing new in its genre? Failed to live up to the expectations of the genre? Is it possible someone was miscast and that ruined a significant part of the film?

5) RISE ABOVE – Ok, lets assume they were wrong and your film was actually great. If you choose to respond. If you MUST spend your energy and time responding . You are a creative person who put together a film in this Naija. That is no easy feat , so let them see that creativity. Respond like the Creative Professional you are

Let it be an intelligent response ,contrasting what you feel theirs lacked.

Let it be a response detailing the reason for certain choices and what they missed.

Let it be something the fans, upcoming filmmakers and the reviewer can learn about your craft as a writer/producer/director.

If you feel the review lacked enough understanding of cinematic storytelling/film language, this is a chance to share your experience so that they can do better next time and review from a more informed place. They aren’t going away so you might as well make soup with their bitter leaf .

Let the defence be based on facts, stating the creative/technical intents in making those choices.

Rise above any pettiness you feel may have existed in the negative review.

Rise above any personal agenda/emotions you feel may have influenced the writing and let the facts be your defence.

It will be hard, especially if the review was more of a rant than anything else,but things really have to change. No film in the history of film-making has had 100% positive response. NONE. If you wait for a time where your work gets 100% love and praise, you will spend a lot of time being angry and frustrated.

If nothing else your calm and informed response will show your character and probably win you new fans who respect how you handled negativity.

I honestly feel the industry would be the better for it. I really do. The younger generation who are yet to discover they want to make films need to see that we can respond without insults or emotions and can rise above it all.

HOW “THE WEDDING PARTY” SHOWED US THE FUTURE

The Wedding Party has become THE highest grossing film in Nigerian box office short history, making over N200m under three weeks . It has been a clear winner with Nigerian audiences with its very relatable wedding affair in which audiences can see themselves,experiences,friends and family. It’s also a shining example of the power of collaboration and the benefit of bringing resources together.


This isn’t an endorsement of the film, nor a commentary on the performances,directing,cinematography, or screenplay. But on the business model used in financing, producing, promoting and distributing the film

The combined power of Ebony Life + Film One + Koga Studios + Ink Blot brought this film together and arguably, it probably wouldn’t have been the same film if one person had decided to go it alone.

I think there is a lot all filmmakers in Nollywood can learn from this collaboration. Each studio brought something to the table and their collective strength enabled it to go very far. At this stage in the industry we need a lot more collaboration than competition. At this stage, any success is a collective success. Right now , we are still in a battle to win the sceptics who still have reservations about seeing our films in the cinema. The people who see 5 -6 films every month, but are hesitant to make any of those choices a Nollywood film. These are the people we need to win as they spend more money than everyone else.

While different filmmakers have different visions and ambitions, sometimes, going it alone is a dis-advantage and spreading the investment, risk and reach takes it just that much further.

Mission Impossible is one of the biggest franchises in film. The most recent film MI:ROGUE NATION was the collaboration of several productions companies ,Bad Robot,Sky Dance, China Movie Channel, Ali Baba Pictures and Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Individually each of those companies already have tremendous success in their various endeavours, doing millions and billions in annual revenue, but they came together to make that film happen, and it was succesful with the next film already in the pipeline. There are many other examples of this as a film needs, Conception, Creation,Financing,Production and Distribution with each company bringing something beneficial to the table.

There needs to be more collaboration and not only by the bigger companies. The “little” guys need to do this and maybe even need to do this more than the bigger, more liquid companies. I’m sure you can think of some films from the last 4 years which with a little more financing could have elevated what they are able to do and how far they could have travelled. How much could have been put into marketing and distribution. Films which were under-seen because the producers were only able to raise enough money to make the film, but not enough to market it to get as many asses in seats as the film deserved. There were only able to do social media, but no billboards, very little radio and probably no TV at all. No matter how fantastic your film, if people don’t know it’s out there, they wont see it.

Not everyone would be a good fitting. Not everyone can work together. Not everyone wants to tell the same story. There will always be creative conflict and creative differences. The key would be in finding a vision you can lock into in which everyone involved brings value for a collective win.

Clearly the ELFIKE Collective believed in the vision of The Wedding Party and it has paid off. For some people it’s the first Nigerian film they have watched in the cinema in years, many declare it as the best they have ever seen. Others have praised the production values and scale as the difference. Each of the companies released individual films between 2014-2016, none of their film’s box office total, comes close to how fast TWP made so much money and received such good word of mouth.

This is not to say EVERY film released has to be a collaboration and not every collaboration has to be on the grand scale of TWP; even smaller stories can benefit from collective resources and passion. Regardless of your thoughts on the actual film, it’s evident the collaboration approach has brought a bountiful harvest. As the saying goes “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”

Synergy : Working for the awesomeness of Nollywood

So a few years ago I’m on a break between shoots on a cross country road trip for a talent show i was working on; sitting in my hotel room channel surfing and I stumble upon the umpteenth episode of “Pimp my ride” in one week.

As usual they’re upgrading an old vehicle,or rather tuke tuke/jallopy and putting in all the efizi.

For the un-intiated,”pimp my ride” is an MTV show, where people with horrible cars get a free total overhaul, makeover if you will. Hosted by rapper X-zibit, a battered deathtrap which barely resembles a vehicle goes in the shop & a flashy ampped up Ride comes out.

The custom shop is armed with specialists for each & every aspect of the transformation of the vehicle. They got wheels,Paint,Interior,Electronics,Engine & Body experts each trained in the craft of those parameters. With a specific assignment for different parts of the transformation process each crew member brings his expertise to the table. Each person plays a part to this process.

This reminded me of the synergetic process of film making.

Film making is synergistic and has three stages. Pre-Production,Production& Post Production. All essential to the success of the final out come. But it all starts with script.

The writer is the architect who lays out the blue print for what we eventually see on screen. The story the characters the dialogue, the journey we embark on etc

A good script is VERY essential to a movie cos even with the greatest director and actors in the world. The wrong script is like a bad foundation in a house it will cave in on it’s inhabitants. Legendary and one of the most influencial directors of all time Akira Kurosawa said

“With a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece. But with a bad script, one can’t possibly make a good film”.

Once the script is locked down the Producer looks for a director that can execute the material and once he does the pre production ball gets rolling. He begins to break down script and detail his vision. An assistant Director is hired to schedule the shoot of the film and make sure everyone and everything is in place everyday of shoot.

They begin to put together a cast . The actors who will breathe life into and interpret the characters .The director is assigned or depending on his clout picks a Director of Photography.

Now picking the right DP is like a wrestler picking the right tag team partner, if the fighter picks the wrong one he’s going to get his ass kicked. Also like a pilot picking the wrong co-pilot . The passengers better resign themselves to the reality that they have boarded the plane to their final destination.

When it comes to actors I’ll just go with the words of three legendary director. If you dont recognize the names, google them, because they are pretty awesome and they likely influenced a directorwhose work you love.

Half of directing is casting the right actors.” John Huston

An actor should be able to get the rhythm of the script,get the joke,sing the line. People like Sam Jackson&Chris Walken don’t grow on treesQuentin Tarantino

I believe directing actors is only really a matter of getting good actors in d first place then you just sit down and have a chat with themAlfred Hitchcock

Right now you are probably going , “i thought he said Nollywood, why is he talking about these oyibo directors “. Please stick with me, im getting to that…eventually.

Ok , lets continue.

With wrong actors everything falls apart no matter how great the script or talented the Director or anyone else on the crew. There has be synergy with the actors, the roles they are playing and the world that it’s set .

It’s not necessarily that the actor is bad, but they may not be right for THAT role,THAT character. Miscasting happens sometimes.

It’s said that a film is made in three stages .The script,the directing and editing and after principal photography is done we move to post production. Editing is another form of story telling and the way the footage is cut determines how the story is told and how we the audience feel ,connect and eventually love,hate or feel nothing about the film.

Another part of post production is the score. The over all musical character and life of the film. The rhythms and melodies that accompany the scenes,sequences et al. Those acoustic sensations that push us to the verge of tears when a character is in a deep emotional moment. Triumphant sounds when the underdog is about to achieve victory and makes us believe that despite the odds we can get up one more time and make it.

Remember how you felt when Rocky went the distance? The roaring score when he and Adrienne embrace after the fight with Apollo?

The awe when Superman takes to the skies after saving the day?

How you felt each time the Darth Vader theme came on and you knew he was making an entrance.

The score at the end of “The Usual Suspects” when Agent Kujan starts to put the pieces together as the mug drops in slow mo and Verbal delivers the last line and it fades to black.

The satisfaction you feel as the credits roll and the score plays on after watching a great film and you tell yourself “I’m getting this on DVD”.

Even the animes have made great use of this. Like the Naruto series. Scores for sadness,goofyness, rising action,expectation etc Each character is even assigned their own score unique to their personality.

A great score adds another layer on the impact will have on the viewer achieving synergy with the rest of the film.

Most movie fans instantly recognise the James Bond,Star Wars,Pink Panther and Superman theme songs even though most of them were conceived over 30 years ago often resurrecting the memories of the viewing experience .

While on the project I began to whistle a movie score and my room mate’s ears arched up. He recognized the song immediately and said he hadn’t heard it in years. It was the score from Speilberg’s War movie “Empire of the Sun”. He last watched the movies as a child. Never underestimate the power of a score.

The work of an art director is another vital role to the creation of the world of the story. They create the rooms,apartments,rendevouz points, and offices of the characters which lend authenticity to their personality and socio economic level . They help the director make the world of the story and character believable.

Without great art directors the worlds of: Gladiator,Star Trek,Star Wars,James Bond, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and many others would have remained just in the head of writer and director.

They and their team of set designers,armory,wardrobe,make up,props department and many others make the past,the future and fictional worlds possible on the silverscreen.

EVERY JOB ON A FILM SET, NO MATTER HOW “SMALL” OR UNRECOGNIZED IT’S TITLE, IS IMPORTANT, SO DO YOURS EXCELLENTLY

All those roles come together to make the final product and great synergy is required. Film making is truly one of those field where the chain is as strong as the weakest link and as possible it for the other links to compensate for the weak link. Everyone has to do their part for the whole process to work.

Picking the right team can make or break the film and the director is like an Orchestra conductor who needs every instrumentalist to bring the best to the game to make the experience of the audience pleasurable. A football team is not only made of a striker, every other team member is needed to win, and working based on the managers plan is essential to victory.

Dont you wish this for Nollywood? Dont you wish all the references i made here were Nollywood films? Dont you wish we had the identifiable score, iconic characters who we can dress up as to costume parties? Put on t-shirts, make pop culture references. Characters we can quote ,monologues we can deliver at auditions.

To get all that we have to work for it, and the Good News is that , the only way is up. We are still relatively a young industry and with a combination of the internet and 100 + years of cinema, we have a lot of resources we can learn from and not have to re-invent the wheel. Their success and mistakes can help us skip several processes and stand on the shoulders of cinema giants.


DONT BE THAT CREW MEMBER WHO HAS TO BE MICRO MANAGED, WHOSE WORK HAS TO BE DOUBLE CHECKED OR EVEN RE-DONE. AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT

Synergy is key to the future of Nollywood. No more solo flying, no more phoning it in, no we more trying to make it all about you and we REALLY need to put egos aside and glory hogging if we want to make memorable, long lasting films which have a long shelf life beyond its time in cinema.

Films which become cultural icons and inseperable milestones from moments in the life of viewers.

We saw how fans came out and mourned the death of Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher, who was the beloved Princess Leia to the world. The articles it inspired, the eulogies, tributes and memories shared. How she and the character inspired them and what she represented to their lives.

Same for Alan Rickman who was Hans Gruber to fans of Die Hard(1988) and Professor Snape to Harry Potter fans. We need movies, characters which have such powerful impact and we cant have that if we do half hearted work or dont put in our best in the projects we do, whether you are a Production Assistant, a Sound Recorder or Associate Producer.

When Synergy works it’s magical and when it doesn’t it’s disastrous and we all have tales of disastrous films we’ve seen.

2016 was a year of incredible progress for Nollywood, but we cant rest on those laurels because we still have a long way to go. We have to keep up the momentum and build on that progress till a point when making N200m is seen as underformance for any film.

Let’s make 2017 a year of awesomeness.

HONEY selected for the BFI Blackstar/Beyond Nollywood festival in November

So, my short film HONEY is going to be playing at the BFI Blackstar Beyond Nollywood event in London in November

HONEY

A new generation of Nigerian filmmakers are revolutionising the industry.

A 3-day programme of international Nigerian Cinema showcasing a new crop of filmmaker who are revolutionising the industry – beyond Nollywood. From arthouse to documentary, animation and experimental films; Beyond Nollywood takes inspiration from my book The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success: Beyond Nollywood.

More info can be found here http://www.nadiadenton.com/node/168

Nollywood Single Story?

A while ago, novelist Chimamanda Adichie gave a keynote speech at TED Talks titled “The Danger of a Single Story.” What’s Africa’s single story? The tainted lens through which the news media portrays Africa to the world; mostly starving kids too weak to drive away the flies that swarm them, famine, hunger, water projects etc. Then there’s the Hollywood narrative; African men are mercenaries, warlords and blood thirsty. This is mostly what the West is exposed to about Africa and Africans..

Now, many of those portrayals aren’t completely untrue, but they are a single narrative out of many – most of them still untold; just like the guests on Jerry Springer’s show don’t represent the U.S. narrative, these stories don’t represent all of us across Africa either.

Continue reading here

that time a Nollywood director got a three picture deal

In the last few year a few Nigerian Born Directors have made waves internationally.

Thomas Ikimi with his debut Limbo and it’s follow up Legacy: Black Ops scoring a ,hot off The Wire , Idris Elba as his lead and co-producer. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award, and won Best Director at the London Screen Nation Awards 2011, Legacy was picked up for distribution in both the US and UK with limited theatrical releases in both countries.

shaking hands

Andrew Dosunmu with Restless City and follow up Mother of George, both films wining Cinematography awards at Sundance.

Akin Omotoso’s crime drama ,Man on Ground, premiering at TIFF

Destiny Ekaragha’s Gone Too Far winning Best New Comer at the London Film Festival,and is only the third British black woman, following Ngozi Onwurah and Amma Asante, to have directed a feature-length film that was given theatrical distribution in the UK

Richard Ayoade with Submarine and The Double, both films received critical acclaim.

Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar, The Wood) making a splash at Sundance with coming of age movie Dope and is now attached to Direct the feature film for DC’s speedster THE FLASH

 
While we celebrate these Nigerian kin, the thing is, all these filmmakers were either born or raised abroad and aside their names, they are almost unidentifiable as Nigerians. The question then is, despite the position of Nigeria as the second largest producer of film in the world, why aren’t we frequently making films that take the world by storm?

If City of God from Brazil , a country with no discernible film industry could get everyone talking, inspire many of today’s Nigerian directors that such a level of FilmMaking was possible from the “third world”, why hasn’t any Nigerian film(100% cast, crew & finance) had that impact?

Why aren’t we regularly in competition at the top film festivals; Cannes, Sundance, TIFF, Berlinale ,Venice ?( If there are, please let me know)

Considering the output of Nollywood, the odds should be astronomically higher than most other countries, innit ?

At the NEC event in 2013, a prominent industry figure while on a panel was asked about our lack of presence at film festivals. With condescending irritation, he dismissed the question, stating we didn’t need the festivals and that the films were made for local audiences who loved what they were getting. Is this a sincere reason, or simply a cop out from making globally accessible films? After all, film is a visual language that should transcend culture, language and creed. Be accessible to anyone anywhere; opening the filmmaker to a wider demographic and more opportunities.

Film Festivals are to the filmmaker what the Olympics are to Athletes. While you may be a champion sprinter in your community if you really want prove that you as good as or better than everyone else in the world, you do that at the Olympics.

So, shouldn’t Nollywood be a regular feature in film festivals around the world? Shouldn’t Nigerian born and bred directors have films that have the entire global industry talking? It’s larger distribution and more income so why wouldn’t anyone want that? Also with Hollywood’s love for “discovering” foreign talent, it’s creates a bigger platform for the filmmaker.

There are many filmmakers who truly have no interest in any market beyond the one they currently serving and that is fine, but that certainly can’t be the perspective of the majority, can it?

Foreign Directors (non U.S) have caught the eyes of studios when their “low budget” films, made in their home countries, make waves and are transcendent of language and race.

Gavin Hood (South Africa) won the Oscar for Tsotsi was hired to direct Wolverine: X Men origins ,

Fernando Meirielles(Brazil) made The Constant Gardner.

Florian Henckel Von Donnersmack (Germany) directed The Tourist based on the impression he made with The Lives of Others ,

Tomas Alfredson(Sweden) made the cult hit Let the Right one in and was given Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Jose Padhila(Brazil) Directed Elite Squad and was hired for the Robocop reboot and now is producing and directing NARCOS for NETFLIX

It can be argued that their Hollywood outing weren’t great ,(studio interference et al) but their work got them to the place where Studios called them, skipping over available U.S born and bred options in their backyard.

Why can’t this also be the story of a Nigerian director, who made a tour de force film for N10m and has studios fighting to hire him and give him/her $50m to make a film ?

It would be wonderful to one day, see a film, 100% Nigerian cast and crew, be the opening/closing film for any of the top 5 film festivals in the world. For a Nigerian director’s name to be called as the winner of the PalmDOr , Golden Bear, Sundance/Venice Jury Prize, TIFF etc.

Someone reading this is thinking, What about the local awards?  Why do we need international glory?  To that, the response is, there is a difference between the Super Eagles being the African champions and the Super Eagles being the World Cup Champions, why not both?

Nollywood’s PalmDor Winner

I 100% believe that sometime,somewhere, someone in Nigeria is going to make a kick ass film that would be the sound heard around the cinematic world. (Think:City of God,The Raid,El Mariachi)

And it would probably be a N3-N5m budget film,that may not have the highest production value,biggest names or high concept.

It could be a small, but authentic ,personal, story with such visceral portrayals and storytelling that breaks the barrier of race, language , creed and connects to the soul straight.

It may not even be a “professional” that makes it, but a 9-5 that loves cinema and loves story,and knows the human condition and truths it 25fps. Shooting on weekends for a year with a committed cast and crew with akara and bread as welfare.

And that day ,his/her name shall the good man teach his kid, and like Shane Carruth,Kevin Smiths,Rodriguez. Etc and Indie legend will be made. With a PalmDor,Jury Prize to boot

Morning cineasts .have a great weekend

‪#‎VivaNollywood‬

..speaking of Auteurs

Auteur_Feat

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary “auteur” (the French word for “author”). In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process.– Wikipedia

The Auteur theory is one that has never gotten unanimous agreement . Many strongly disagree and emphasize the contribution of the crew, saying that even if he director writes,shoots,directs and cuts, they will still need actors in front of the camera, and that is collaboration. While this is a valid point, the auteur theory is quite an interesting one. But to the proponents of the Auteur theory their idea of Auteurism was to make a distinction between films and the films that are worthy of serious study, making them unique in style and voice.

I personally agree with it, especially the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process

You can see this in the work of Directors like Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorcese,Steve McQueen,Spike Lee,Tim Burton,David Lynch,Terrence Malick,Nicolas Widn Refn,David Fincher and others who do work with studios,but still show an indie spirit,there is a consistency in their body of work, a unifying thread and voice that you recognize , especially when others are trying to imitate the. The stories they tell, their dialogue, their cinematography(framing &composition),use of music,use of color,the kind of characters that always appear in their stories, recurring themes

Which leads me to the question. Do we have Auteurs in Nigeria? Nigerian Born, but not Nigerian based directors like Andrew Dosunmu and Newton Aduaka can be said to be auteurs but how about those living and practicing their craft in Nigeria?


“Auteurs are directors who put a strong personal stamp on their films, usually through the mise en scene. They are contrasted with the metteur-en-scene, the director who merely functions, more or less, at the service of the script”.

I know, we dont have a studio system (though marketers dictate terms like studios do) . Do we have Directors whose body of work distinctively carries their voice in a very recognizable way? Has traits that are distinct to their style of filmmaking and shows up in all their films? Distinct enough that you can miss the opening credits, haven’t previously heard of the film, but are familiar enough with their voice that you can recognize it (or an imitation of it),

If so. Who? Not a rhethorical question. I really want to know them cos they could be flying under a radar cos cinemas and marketers just dont know what to do with the types of films they make.

The aformentioned names have all significantly contributed to cinema (American cinema) in the last 30 years , and have influenced many young filmmakers world wide; while you may not like some of their films (or any) their impact on popular culture can not be denied.

Their voices are able to stand out in a marketplace that is flooded. Their films have a distinctive flavor that makes it different from the journeymen directors, directors for hire and others. Auteurs have turned the tide, created milestones and sometimes set the tone for the next decade(s) in film. They’ve started movements, opened doors and blown us away with their brilliant films. Think about it? Where would cinema be if we didnt have The French,American,Asian new waves? Dogme 95, Italian Neo Realism, German Expressionism. All the work of mostly auteurs , who wanted something different and put their stamp on it. While commercial filmmaking that explodes the box office is what keeps the doors open and the lights on, Auteur filmmaking is what keeps it an interesting artform and mode of expression, and while there are lots on non auteurs with interesting and uniques work, there is a reason that the Fela Kuti,Basquiat,Hendrix,Muhammed Ali,Michael Jordan all stand out in their fields, they werent just great, they were unique and their work is studied for its contribution.

A lot of new voices are rising in the Nollywood filmscape;and as technology improves,further democratizing the process by lowering some costs and directors are able to stamp their identity on their films, it will be a very exciting time for the future of Nollywood.

QUESTION : Do we currently have Autuers in Nollywood and if so, who are they ?

Not your mama’s Nollywood – #1

So i’ve been talking about the need to do things differently, avoid convention, take risks and have a voice as a filmMaker.

Directing is about perspective, how one sees the world, interprete stories. Cinema influences play a role in how a lot of Directors choose to translate their films on the screen.

Here are some New Generation directors who i think will be interesting to watch over the next few years

MICHAEL OMUNA aka MIKE GOUKEN
I cant quite describe what makes him different, but you see it when you watch the kind of films he makes(Miracle,The Block,Talk). From a different narrative structure, to editing, to non linear assembly. His films usually have something to say and arent just entertainment.

CJ OBASI
He counts Krzysztof Kieślowski, George Romero, Martin Scorcese as just a few of his influences . His arthouse debut film Jim and Joan may not have mainstream appeal but it showed someone whose approach was quite different. His next time out the blocks he decided to make a homage to one of his heros,

Adeola Osunkojo
On the surface it could be assumed it was just another short about married life in Nigeria, but the director took a relevant and hot topic of food/cooking, and infused it with some humour. The narrator style , fused with the infomertial and documentary perspective made it stand out. It actually reminded me of a scene from The Wolf of Wallstreet , where the Yatch was shown like a commercial straight out of a magazine. I found it very inventitive and it worked with the story it was telling while remaining authentically Nigerian.

As i discover more i’ll let you know, or if you have any suggestions, drop em in the comment section and i’ll check em out.