Tag Archives: Naija

Naija FilmMakers in diaspora telling their story

Representation in recent years has gotten the attention it’s long been denied, with more demands for diversity on-screen and behind the camera being taken seriously; Wonder Woman getting a female director, Black Panther getting a Black Director, Queen Sugar having all female directors, Donald Glover on Atlanta as; star, writer and Executive Producer. Issa Rae doing the same on Insecure. The idea being creators, directors of the same gender/race of the character are in the best place to tell that story best.

I think this applies to nationality/ethnicity and how they’re portrayed. Hollywood and Western media in general don’t have a good track record of portraying other nationalities. Nigerians in American have always gotten the short end of the stick, as television shows have a certain way of portraying them as criminals, drug mules, voodoo practitioners or goofy comedic stereotype of a naïve or clueless African, when in reality; many are College graduates and highly qualified professionals in Engineering, Law, Medical and other professions.

There’s a growing number of filmmakers of Nigerian heritage, some who immigrated and naturalized and others born in the diaspora (North America & Europe) . These storytellers identity with both worlds, one rooted in their culture/heritage the other in an often contrasting environment they live. They know both sides of the coin and are able to tell stories in a way only they can.  Stories of the immigrant, culture clash, identity, racial politics and much more, with characters who are more than a punchline or token in somebody else’s story.

Nigerian Americans, Yvonne Orji(Insecure) and  Damilare Sonoiki(Black-ish) created First Generation and  African Time respectively, webseries on growing up with immigrant parents and the expectations which come with that. Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar) wrote his lead character in DOPE as the son of a Nigerian Immigrant. British Nigerian Destiny Ekaragha directed Gone Too Far adapted from the Bola Agbaje play about a London born Boy who meets his Lagos born brother and the hijinks which ensue when they hit the streets of South London. South Africa based Akin Omotoso(VAYA) tells the story of a Nigerian man in S.A investigating the death of his brother who death was a Xenophobic attack.  Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George follows a young wife new in the States and under pressure to have a child by any means necessary. All stories requiring that unique worldview.

A proportion of the bad reputations’ deserved, every country has its bad eggs, just as guests on Jerry Springer or Maury aren’t representative of all Americans that’s not the entire story. That’s why in a world where most of the West’s only exposure to Nigerians are email/Nigerian Prince jokes in sitcoms and adverts,  self-narrative is essential .

For as long as I remember, I always wanted to be a creative…and then I did a “safe” degree

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a writer. The novels of Enid Blyton, Roahld Dahl, John D Fitzgerald and Judy Blume fired up my imagination as a kid; in my teens Sidney Sheldon and Jeffery Archer stimulated my solitary life. My imagination and creativity, was one of the Perks of being a wallflower  and I began to write my own short stories unleashing it all, like a genie escaped from a it’s prison. Err ,his bottle.  I dreamed of a career like those writers I admired…I dreamed.

Problem was creativity was often seen as a hobby, or something that only the select few geniuses are able to do; it is rarely seen or encouraged as a career path, especially in this part of the world.  In the 90’s most parents envisioned their wards getting a degree that would enable them work with a big oil company so they could be guaranteed a safe, secure and well-paying job that could enable them travel the world. (Today it’s telecoms)

Schools divided classes into Science, Arts and in some cases commercial (some school collapsed the two into one). Most kids were pushed into science courses, where they could prepare to be Engineers or Doctors.  Arts was looked down upon, or seen having little prospects that would involve low pay and financial struggle.

But with the growth of Nollywood, actors gaining continent wide fame , multi millions endorsement deals, musicians touring the world and earning some people’s annual salary in one show, it’s the next best thing to having a son that plays for the EPL. 

I strongly believe that we need a creative class that is separate from the arts class. A class where,creative strengths are embraced and harnessed. Where courses like; Music Theory/Practical, Creative Writing, Dance, Performance Arts,Acting  etc  are part of the curriculum. Majority of the people currently working in the film industry never received any formal training, and in many cases, it shows in the end product. It shows in their ability and evident in how capable they are of handling certain things without being micro managed. 

We need entire schools dedicated to Creative and Performance Arts.  The school would be only from SS1 – SS3, with an extra optional year to get a diploma or A level. Entry would be on merit, by passing a creative equivalent of Junior WAEC; it may be a practical exam, it may be some form of audition or interview, where they can display their creative leaning/strength.  Ever seen the movie FAME( 1980 original/2009 remake), that is a great example of what I picture.

Our creative industry (music/film/tv) has the potential to be the one of the biggest generators of income, even matching oil (with solid infrastructure and legal framework). But first it needs professionals, who have shaped their natural creative talent into a craft and professionalism. 

There’s the mistaken assumption that “natural talent” is enough to form a career in the creative industry, but that thinking and attitude is why we see so many mediocre movies, with bad writing, worse actin, horrendous production values, hear shallow songs that recycle themselves. People wake up one morning at age 30, having never done anything creative In their life, and they decide they want to write, act , sing. The frightening thing is some of them because of looks, articulation or knowing someone gain entry and start a career. Watch the gag reels/auditions of any music talent show, and you will understand, the film industry also has many like those we all  tune in to laugh at on those shows.

Take a look at any really gifted American  actor or singer under the age of 35,from Ryan Gosling to Justin Timberlake, from Michael B Jordan to Chris Brown and you will discover that they had been shaping and harnessing their talent from pre- teen days, into the skill that they are currently use to make a fortune. Many had coaches, belonged to talent clubs, some attended performance arts schools, or if they went to regular schools were involved in creative extra-curricular activities.  From their formative years they started to pursue, harness and shape their talent into skill. So why  re-invent the wheel?

The creative industry is growing every day resulting in actors and performing artists from the US and UK relocate home to seek a career. Banky W, Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay are examples of those that have returned for the music industry and experienced great success. Beverly Naya, Kc Ejelonu,Uru Eke and others have gotten a warm reception in Nollywood . But as the next generation prepares to enter the creative world, they need a lot more preparation that a lot of us had. If we are to take our creative industries to the next level  of global relevance, we need to re think how creativity is nutured.

Abeg Sharapp, Which one have you made. Mscchewwwww, Hater.

So it’s been a while now, that the world of film said adieu to Roger Ebert, the man that was the poster boy for film criticism. Now, that word critic usually has a negative interpretation to most minds, but I took a look at a dictionary definition which said

 

“a person who judges the merit of literary, artistic, or musical works,  especially one who does so professionally”

 

His reviews or critics of films were highly regarded and anticipated, personally i didn’t agree with several of his reviews that I came across, but that does not take away anything from his contribution to American and indeed global cinema.  

 

This then got me thinking; does Nollywood need its equivalent of a Roger Ebert? A journalist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of movies, that can watch a film and analyse its merits and faults, from the writing, directing, performance and technical aspects, and then compare it to either the film makers previous work or other similar films? 

 

As I said, I don’t agree with some of his reviews I’ve read, but I do think, he probably made some filmmakers sit up, and drive traffic towards some films.

 

Now, some film makers say, “I don’t make films for critics I make films for audiences”. TRUE, but you also have to realize that many film critics are also film lovers, after all, they  loved film enough to make a career out of watching and writing about them; so they too are part of the audience.

Does Nollywood need voices like Ebert, to review and exalt great films, thereby driving more traffic and appreciation for a well-made film, and critique on films that weren’t well made, so that the film maker can avoid repeating the same mistakes on their next outing?

From what I’ve discovered, criticism is seen as a form of hate or jealousy when it comes to Nollywood films (sometimes it really is hate). In fact, anyone that does not praise a film and has some downsides to point out, is seen as a hater. I visited some blogs that review Nollywood films and from the comment section of some films this is what I gleaned;

…..i guess you are a failed director, who is only beefing…..

All these fake ass failed filmmakers and actresses coming here to spew crap because they could not get roles in any of these people’s movies…… 

Naija people, u too get mouth jor… I’m sure none of u can even write a script not to talk of producing… Y hate?

Why does the immediate response to someone not liking a film be deduced as hate? 

Sure, there will be people that are venomous and negative without any objectivity,and truly just want to hate on anything Nollywood, but that’s not everyone.

Does a viewer have to be able to act, write or produce before having the right to say he/she didn’t like a film or wasn’t convinced, especially if they paid to see it ?

EVERY film industry has The Good The Bad and The Ugly. Hollywood has it’s share of crappy movies, and the critics dont hold back in telling them so. There are films made by even great directors that for some reason or the other come out as less than stellar.

Is ALL criticism hate or can constructive criticism or feedback, enable a film maker to improve their craft?

Pacino and DeNiro are considered to be two of greatest actors of their generation, but even they have had films that were so bad, that they’d rather forget that they made them. Yet, take a look at the most highly regarded contributions to American cinema and each of them has at least 4 performances listed there.

Does their being great exempt them from being shafted by the critics? Nope, it makes them even a bigger target because EVERYONE has very high expectations from them.

In the literary world Ben Okri , Chimamanda and all writers have editors, who read their manuscript and give them feedback, pointing out things they have to change, improve or take out of their story during the writing process. Some of which they may not want to hear having worked for weeks or months on that draft. But the editor wants the best they can give, and the process ultimately yields a better book.  When the book is released, reviewers give their feedback, some of which is good, some of which is bad. Some can be accepted and used, others completely disregarded.

Are there times that we trust our gut instinct and stick to our guns? YES, ABSOLUTELY.

Are there times where it truly is HATE and BILE that a critic is spilling . YES

Do we listen to ALL of it? Absolutely not. Some will just be ignorant rambling. Some are actually just negative and never have anything good to say and it’s like a sport to bash certain films.

But SOMETIMES , a review/critic, truly has valuable feedback, that can make the next film, much better. Sometimes, they really did go in with great expectations and are let down, and because they love the previous work of the producer/director, they’d like to see better on the next outing.

Does it make a bad review easier to swallow? Not really,(actually NOPE, it’s like being told your child is ugly and cosmetic surgery can’t even help) but medicine rarely is, even when it’s intended to make us better.

Another popular response is “which one have you made?”.

While that may be a valid question to another filmmaker, it’s quite an absurd question to ask a regular viewer. If a man that wants to buy a car, takes it for a test drive and changes his mind cos he doesn’t like how the car drives, won’t it be absurd for the salesman to ask “which one have you made”?

Or

Imagine you eat something new at a 5 star restaurant but don’t like it, maybe it’s too spicey, not spicy enough, undercooked, or was just disgusting. Would “which one have you made?”  be an appropriate response from the chef or waiter?

Or, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention”. PS- If you think Nollywood gets a hard time, you should go to YouTube and check out CinemaSins and Honest Trailers, they really rip apart popular Hollywood films.

African American Actor, Isaiah Washington once tweeted : I’ve found that as an artist, that if you look at all criticism as “haters hatin”, then you’ll never learn from your mistakes and grow

Entrepreneur and Marketing Guru, Seth Godin said It’s people who have projects that are NEVER criticized that ultimately fail.

He also said

We’ve been raised with the false belief, we mistakenly believe that criticism leads to failure

Filmmaking is a BRUTAL and emotionally draining business. In Nigeria it is a 10x harder than in Europe or the US because of all the human and infrastructure nightmares producers and directors face, that aren’t issues in other parts of the world. It’s difficult to put your blood, sweat and tears into something for weeks or months and then have someone come and tell you they don’t  like it, or publicly rip it apart within seconds. But as creatives, we put our work on display for people to pay to watch, and be entertained, so criticism is sure to come, either softly or like someone taking a shit on your  head. I don’t think there is ANY filmmaker that has 100% acceptance or hits 100% homeruns in every game.

.From Spielberg, to Scorsese to George Lucas to The Coen Brothers, they’ve all made films that had fans go “Guy, you fall my hand”, “Dude, what were you thinking” Let’s take the case of  Woody Allen. Woody has made at least a film a year for 40+ years , in the 70’s -80’s he seemd he could do no wrong, making one critically acclaimed movie after the other which were also big with the fans. However in the last decade, most of his films failed to delight critics and fans. This is the  Woody Allen has had more Oscar Nominations for writing and directing (wining several) than any of the colleagues, plus he is listed as one of the 100 influential filmmakers in the world. So, review his case.Woody has put in 40 years in the business,has several classics to his name, more wins and nominations than many will ever receive, but still has critics, why will anyone else with less experience, less global success be exempt?

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia , : After he finished feature debut Boxcar Bertha, Martin Scorsese screened the film for John Cassavetes. Cassavetes, after seeing this film, hugged Scorsese and said, “Marty, you’ve just spent a whole year of your life making a piece of shit. It’s a good picture, but you’re better than the people who make this kind of movie. Don’t get hooked into the exploitation market, just try and do something different.” Scorsese’s next film was Mean Streets , which launched Scorsese on the path we know him for today.

Scorsese obviously took that advice, learned from his mistakes, changed his game, and went on to create many cinema classics, and today is regarded as the greatest living director, and one of the godfathers of modern American cinema. Just think, what if he has let his pride block him from taking that advice, or being so defensive that he saw Cassavates as “enemy of progress”. 

A child that ONLY receives praise and pampering from a parent, even when he misbehaves , will go on to be a menace to society, because he never received discipline and grew up with no consequences to his actions. An artist that feels he can just throw together anything and the audience will gobble it up is the same. Now, im not advocating, bashing a person’s hard work online, cos film making is HARD WORK, even those films that turn out not so good, took a lot of time and energy to piece together. But constructive feedback, just like a correcting parent, or a blacksmith with his hammer and furnace, brings out the best in the final product

. Without the feedback from Cassavates, Scorsese may have gone on to make ok, films, but may not be the legend he is today.

Should we now make films, and capitulate to please critics, NO. The worse form of censoring, is self censoring. If you have a core audience that love what you do, and a few people don’t like it for some reason, focus on your core audience and please them to the very core of their being. The Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Darren Aronovsky, Wes Anderson are all unique film makers, whose films are not for mainstream audiences, they have a unique niche that is faithful to them. So find that niche and stick to it. Is there room for improvement even within serving that core audience? MOST DEFINITELY,everything in life and creative outings can be improved.

Whatever your thoughts are on film critics and whether they are a necessity; as professionals and as humans,we should not bask so much in the chants of praise singers(sometimes sycophants), that they drown out the few voices that are trying to warn us about the career abyss we are about to fall into.

So,the question of the day, as an industry/creative individuals is there certain feedback which we are rejecting cos we see it as “hate”. Does the constant praise from fans, even for bad work,stiffle growth, and make an artist rest on undeserved laurels?

Thoughts please people

PS: Pls keep comments civil, topics like this tend to turn into a “let’s bash Nollywood match”. Let’s be cool, insightful and enlighten ourselves and have none of that bile. Cheers

Naija Nu Wave??

A few years ago on my graduation day from a “professional” course. I sat down shooting the breeze with a three fellow fresh graduates. The topic ,”Where do we go from here?” One of the guys mentioned film school and the long desire to pursue directing as a career. The Eureka moment hit me. I realised that all my love from writing since age 8, where i saw the pictures in my head and walked the characters through dialogue; my peculiar love for movies on TNT classics, were actually the early on set of cinephilia. A latent auteur stirring. It started a domino effect. An effect that sparked an active interest in the back story of film makers. I started to delve into the indie film scene, reading up on the usual suspects Rodriguez,Tarantino,Kevin Smith,Linklater etc . And somewhere down the line I started hearing the term “French New Wave”. I then saw the short film J Taime John Wayne, a loving homage to Goddard’s À bout de souffle aka BREATHLESS(1960) and the spirit of the French New Wave and i was like WOH.

The New Wave was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French film-makers of the late 1950s and 1960s.

Pioneered by film writers like Francois Truffat,Jean Luc Goddard Claude Chabrol ,Jaques Demy and others these directors radical experiments with editing, visual style and narrative part of a general break with the conservative paradigm. Using portable equipment and requiring little or no set up time, the New Wave way of film making presented a documentary type style. The films exhibited direct sounds on film stock that required less light. Filming techniques included fragmented,discontinuous editing, and long takes.

The new wave directors studied the work of western classics and they then went on to execute new avant-garde stylistic direction. Lacking funds,studio backing and a structure like their American inspirations their low-budget approach helped film-makers get at the essential art form ,innovation made them much more comfortable and honest form of production

Many of the French New Wave films were produced on tight budgets;Since they couldn’t afford to hire locations they cut costs by shooting in friends houses. The directors often hired their friends as the cast and crew further cutting costs.

Their guerilla style involved a lot of improvisation eg wheel chairs and shopping carts as dolly. Shooting on film didn’t come cheap,and so it was a major concern; thus, efforts to save film turned into stylistic innovations. Their final films took the world by storm and are still highly treasured in the hallways of cinema.

Some of the films brought about by the Wave are; Breathless,Jules Et Jim, The 400 Blows all considered classics all massively influential on some of the hottest and most successful directors today. In fact Quentin Tarantino was so influenced by the Wave that he named his production company A Band Apart after one of the films of the Wave.

I see a lot of similarities between the French New Wave and the gradual rise of the Nigerian auteur. A new generation of film makers dissatisfied with the status quo. Passionate cinephiles who are out to make their stamp in the world of cinema.

Like the obstacles the French innovators faced, there is little or no funding,no studio system ,problematic and tight production but a lot of heart. At the inception of the Wave, Goddard and others formed the auteur theory which holds that the director is the “author” of his movies, with a personal signature visible from film to film. This perspective inspired them to make their own films. Influenced by the works of Orson Wells,Alfred Hitchcock,John Ford and others, and they went on and created their own unique voices.

Similar to how those French Pioneers were influenced by legendary film makers of the 50’s and 60’s, the new generation of Naija film makers are influenced by a diverse variety of directors like Robert Rodriguez,Martin Scorsese,The Coen Brothers,Pedro Almodovar,Woody Allen,Chan Wook Park,Quentin Tarantino,John Hughes,Frederico Fellini,Guy Ritchie,Akira Kurosawa,John Woo,Ingmar Bergman etc

With no funding or any access to sponsoring,which many of their European and North American contemporaries have, they take a page of the book of Goddard and write within their means. Using innovation and clever methods to execute their vision.

There’s an interesting piece of trivia about the making of “Breathless”. Director Jean-Luc Goddard couldn’t afford a dolly, so he pushed the cinematographer around in a wheelchair through many scenes of the film. Many years later Robert Rodriguez would use the same technique while shooting his feature debut El Mariachi. If that aint innovation,slap me silly and call me !xobile.

So I’m asking myself, as a globally influenced generation of Naija film makers both home and abroad rise, is this a Naija Nu Wave? A rebellion and departure from the path that Nollywood has carved, the path that Nigerian film makers have been associated with so far?

From conversations I’ve had with several Naija bred and globally influenced film-makers, that time is like a pot of coffee that needs time to percolate.The beans are in and all that is needed is the water to reach boiling point and create a delightful pot of coffee for all to wake up and enjoy.

We aren’t quite there yet, but with the hunger i see in the eyes of many upcoming film makers and the passion i hear in their voices, I’m hopeful that it’s not too far. With budding auteurs both home and abroad with a passion for cinema and massive paradigm shift, it’s only a matter of time that it becomes the cinema equivalent of that great wave,the one surf heads dream about and for those lucky enough to experience it, go on to tell their grandkids.

How long that time would be? Well, i guess we will all just have to wait and see.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
For any film maker reading this i highly encourage you to read up on the French New Wave, and get a hold of some of their movies.They are highly inspirational and an example of how innovation and creativity can pay off. Many of the films from the FNW are remembered and highly regarded more than some films with budgets 1000% higher than theirs. So, money does not always make the film but the innovation and creativity of the dreamers behind it.

AUTEURS ,SCRIBES & FEATURE DEBUTS

So i recently banged out the first-ish draft of a feature screenplay. Not my first, but the first since i became a director with what’s considered a successful short film. Taking a look at the screenplay it’s a drama involving a revolving door of characters all going through one issue or the other in life. I started to think to myself “Do i want this to be my first feature debut.” That sprung another thought, which germinated a question “How important is your feature debut”? How much significance does it hold to how the rest of your career goes?

As a huge movie fan and now a director , i am curious and totally amazed at incredible feature debuts. Feature debuts that just amaze , and look like the director has been at it for years. The most recent being The Adjustment Bureau. I totally enjoyed the film and looked up the director on the way home. That was his directorial debut, as he had worked as a screenwriter till that point on The Bourne Ultimatum and Ocean’s 13, two films that starred his leading man Matt Damon. If you’ve see the movie you’d know was totally amazing and a wonderful achievement for a first feature.

Going back a few years other directors have had amazing feature debuts. Quentin Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs a film many say is still his best film. He too had been a screenwriter up to that point , with screenplays for True Romance directed by Tony Scott , “From Dusk Till Dawn” directed by his pal Robert Rodriguez and Natural Born Killers directed by Oliver Stone. Tarantino has gone on to be one of the most well known directors of his generation .

Kevin Smith was another director that made his stamp on the industry with his low budget indie flick about working stiffs. Clerks set in motion his career and developed cult status, and from there he set a style and tone to the type of movies that he became known for, fast paced witty and more than often potty mouthed dialogue with riffs on pop culture. He gathered a following that have been with him most of his career, the same for Tarantino.

British film maker and former Mr Madonna Guy Ritchie exploded unto the scene with the incredible Lock Stock &Two Smoking Barrels, a fast paced,multi story rapid fire movie. written and directed by Ritche and produced by Matthew Vaughn Ritchie got a following and went on to make Snatch and several other films. But that debut remains in the memory of movie fans and it pretty much set him up as a director to look out for. His producer Matthew Vaughn went on to make his own directorial debut a few years later with the amazing Layer Cake starring pre bond Daniel Craig. That set him up as a director in his own rite and he went on to make Star Dust, Kick Ass and X-men:First class.

While still on the Brit scene, we have Edgar Wright. A TV director who had cut his teeth making short films as a teenager and the incredible tv sitcom “Spaced”, starring Simon Pegg , who he would go on to co-write with and direct in his feature debut “Shaun of the Dead”. A loving homage of George Romero zombie movies, which received critical acclaim and commercial praise. Attracting the attention and receiving praise from Romero himself , Quentin Tarantino praised it and veteran actor Jim Broadbent requested to be cast in whatever they were shooting next, that next was the amazing Hot Fuzz another homage ,but this time to the Cop movie genre. Wright went on to direct Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and recently co-wrote the screenplay for the TinTin movie produced by Spielberg and Peter Jackson.

Now all those previously mentioned are all writer/directors. Sam Mendez is not one of them,Till his debut he was a director in the theater .He stunned us with the amazing directorial debut American Beauty, which went on to win 3 Oscars , Mendez took home Best Director, and if you see the film you will understand why. That debut set the tone for the kind of projects he took on. Usually exploring the dark side of Sub Urban America with films like “Road to Perdition”,”Jarhead” and “Revolutionary Road”

Another director who many hold in disdain, but is a constant hit maker is Michael Bay. He had previously worked on various commercials and won many awards for them, and then he was discovered by Jerry Bruckhiemer and Don Simpson who hired him to direct Bad Boys , a cop movie vehicle for rising star Will Smith. Made for $19m and grossed $141m . It skyrocketed Will Smith who had only been a TV star and Bay to be one of the blockbuster directors of the decade. His next film The Rock(1996) is considered to be on of the best action movies of the 90’s. Since then he has been called on by Spielberg to direct the Transformers movies, and his films are consistently profitable. Hate him as you want but he’s worked with some of the finest actors around from Billy Bob Thorton, Ed Harris, Will Smith ,Sean Connery and many others . Bad Boys and it’s success set the tone for the kind of films we would become known for. High octane , adrenalin fueled simple plots.

Now several screenwriters have come from behind their Final Draft page to Behind the camera. Shane Black , once one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood, and considered a pioneer of the action gene, while still in his 20’s. The mind behind of the Lethal Weapon movies, A Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Boyscout, came out with his directorial debut with the modern noir “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” starring Robert Downey Jnr with his comeback and Val Kilmer. In my opinion not enough people know about that great outing. The man clearly showed his ability to tell an entertaining story as a director too. Chris McQuarrie, writer of Oscar Winning The Usual Suspects , made a modern western The Way of the Gun. It didn’t do too well, but i for one found it very entertaining and a fresh film.

These cited first films were amazing, and did two things for their directors. First they created an immediate following for all of these directors and secondly they pretty much guaranteed a green light for their next project. Partnerships formed between the studio and the directors, some like Tarantino,Smith and Nolan calling the shots and retaining full creative control of their projects, all because they did so well with their debuts and follow up movies. In an industry where great scripts are often watered down in an attempt to commercialize it, where great directors churn out mediocre films due to a flood of production notes , creative control is a very important and desired power for director to have.

Bringing it home

A few of the Nu Generation Naija Born Film makers of both home and abroad have come out with their feature debuts,like Chineze Anyaene with her debut Ije:The Journey,Thomas Ikimi with Legacy which starred Idris Elba(The Wire) ,Lonzo Nzekwe with Anchor Baby and a few others.Things seem to be off to a good start,these films showing promise a new breed of Naija film makers to the world. With the new crop of upcoming directors(home based), who have shown their skill with amazing short films , i look forward to seeing some of the feature debuts that this new generation of Naija film makers are going to come up and stun us with, going on to build amazing and lengthy careers.

Now i’ve mentioned a lot of stunning features that launched careers,and it sounds like a lot of pressure and maybe even a little intimidating. Although a mind blowing feature debut would be nice, some directors have succeeded without one.making it on their second, third or forth film. An example is Robert Zemeckis who had a few commercial flops before making Romancing the Stone and then blowing up to full recognition with the Amazing Back to the Future. M.Night Shamalyan had a movie that is not really known before he made us see dead people with “The Sixth Sense. Chris Nolan had made “The Following” still unknown to many, before stunning the world with the mind blitzing “Momento”. So fret not people, it ain’t over till you stay down cheek kissing the canvass and no shouts for Addrieeeene.

As for me? Well, as subsequent drafts are written and other scripts that are a work in progress develop, i’ll have to decide, what first i want to show to the world.