Tag Archives: Naija Directors


Nollywood gets a lotta s*** for how its films look and frankly, some of it is justified.

Some of it was due to an ultra guerilla shooting style.

Go in, Get the shot. Move on. No time for precision or precious when the clock is running.

Little attention  given to framing, composition, color, tone and mis en scene.  Taking time to do that was not an option to many people shooting  min content in 3- 5 days.

Limitations of  shooting on video with very little equipment and limited lens choices(if any)

But a lot of it was due to lack of better know how; the people also didn’t demand better, so they weren’t given better.

Things have changed in the last decade ; with the emergence of social media , people are loudly declaring what they don’t like and what they really think.

But there are new filmmakers emerging, most of them you have never heard of , most of them you havent seen anything they have made, especially if you aren’t in the film community.

Some have only made short films, some have made features.  These are filmmakers based at home, and it’s not an exhaustive list, there are still a lot more to come in later posts.

Their films show an understanding of genre, tone, mood. Some use shadow and light to great effect and all show a great use of framing and composition.

So check these out

Director:Damilola Orimogunje
Cinematographer: David Wyte


Director: Micheal Omunua
Cinematographer: Baba Agba


Director/Cinematographer; KUDDI


Director: Nadine Ibrahim
Cinematographer: Oluseyi Asurf
Director: Ifeoma N Chukwuogo
Cinematographer: Ademola Soares


Director: CJ Obasi
Cinematographer: Baba Agba
Director: Udoka Oyeka
Cinematographer: Idebhor Kagho


Director: Abba Makama
Cinematographer: Tejumola Komolafe
Director: Olu Yomi Ososanya
Cinematographer: Biola Ladipo
Director: Tolulope Ajayi
Cinematographer: Muhammed Attah
Director: Walter Tayleur
Cinematographer: Paul Gambit Obata/David Wyte
Director: Ishaya Bako
Cinematographer: Unlimited LA
Director: Tope Oshin
Cinematographer: Kunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe


When Holly met Nolly

Recently there has been an influx of African American and Diaspora based Nigerian actors to Nollywood for collaborations. Ok, maybe not an influx, actually more like a treacle, yeah, that’s it, a treacle of Hollywood actors.

From Hakeem Kae Hazim (24,Season 8),Kimberley Elise(Set it off,Dairy of a Mad Black Woman),Isaiah Washington(Grey’s Anatomy,Romeo Must Die) and the currently shooting adaptation of “Half of a Yellow Sun”,starring Chiwetel Ejiofor(Inside Man,Redbelt),Thandie Newton(For Coloured Girls) and Dominic Cooper(The Devil’s Double). The casting(of Newton) which set off a fire storm on the net when announced, but that’s a topic already covered.

Hazim was in Jeta Amata’s Black Gold(now Black November) and in Obi Emenloye’s sophomore outing “Last Flight to Abuja”. Kimberley Elise in “Ties that Bind” and Isaiah Washington in “Dr Bello”.

What brought them to Nigeria? Is this the beginning of new things? Is there finally a Hollywood/Nollywood collaboration? Or is there something else at play?

There are mixed opinions within the industry. Some are against it. Some are apathetic. Some are excited and see it as just a catalyst for bigger and better things.

A few people see it as naïve to believe that anything good is going to come out of this. Their opinion is that, the Western imperialists are doing what they’ve always done. Come to Africa , take advantage of our resources and leave us with the short end of the stick. Kinda like our oil situation.

Some see it as “has-been” American actors coming to Nigeria cos they can’t get work at home. Hence, they need us more than we need them..or in fact, We don’t need them at all.Howz that for National Pride, ey!

While each opinion deserves it’s fair share of consideration, each person has a reason for having such a perspective. Me!! Until proven otherwise I choose to drink the glass of water while the optimist and pessimist are still arguing.

Here is the kaleidescope I’m looking through:

1) With these collaborations, some of our actors who need to step up their game will be forced to for three reasons.

i) When they work with classically trained western counterparts, those less talented ones would see where they really are skill wise outside their protective circle of psycophants.

When they attend an audition and can’t pull off a monologue,and are promptly sent off, they’d see it’s not about being pretty and yelling about a cheating boyfriend or “you slapped me,Chidera you slapped me!!”.

Let’s face it , there are loads of people on screen calling themselves actors, with a gazzilion fans, that wouldn’t pass an audition for a high school play anywhere else in the world.

ii)Those that actually do have talent will still learn something,from the western counterparts. Who would have worked in more genres, diverse roles, and on action, high concept and epic films whose catering budgets could bank roll our persons last 30 home vids all their sequels, with enough change left to shoot 5 seasons of Tales by Moonlight.

iii) Working on a film that is shot within 60 days and one shot in 3 days have different discipline and approach. The actors will see the work ethic, expected performance and manner of shooting is different. So true ability will be seen, and much can be learned.

There will sifting of the chaff from the wheat and those with great looks, little talent and a lot of ego, could possibly reasses their perception of their ability when they can’t pass auditions or have to do 20 takes till the director is satisfied, when for years they’ve been used to just one “abeg make we do am comot” take.

2) When such collaborations reach the Cinemas in the west, those not usually exposed to Nollywood, could see the performance of certain actors and seek them out for jobs either there or when they have projects on the continent.

On twitter, Isaiah Washington raved about working with Genevieve ,stating something like “she’s the most professional actress I’ve ever worked with”, I forget the exact wording. (Na true or na wash na him sabi).

You never know who he shares an agent with, who that agent goes to lunch with or plays golf in the same club. Which producer/director will see one of our actor’s performance in a Holly/Nolly film ,and say “I want him/her in my next film”.; or that Kimberly Elsie won’t suggest to frequent collaborator, Tyler Perry,

“Hey I met this Nigerian actress on a film we did together,she’s brilliant, get her for the African role instead of getting an American to force a stereotyical accent”

6 Degrees of Seperation people!!!!

Loads of British Born Africans, are making it Stateside,playing all sort of roles. Idris Elba,David Oyelowo,Nonso Anozie ,Sophie Okonedo etc . With the right dialect/Accent coaches who says talented Naija actors can’t do the same?

3) If these films go on to be successful in the box office in North America and Europe,Hollywood studios could realize the market here ,see the investment possibility of funding films in Nigeria and setting up studios here.

MTV,TRACE and BET have come for music, so why not Columbia,Universal,Paramount,Disney etc for movies! Which can eventually inspire indigenous-ly set up studios.

Fox Searchlight, which is 20th Century Fox’s indie arm, already did that with Bollywood, “My name is Khan” being one of their co productions and It was a very good film. Why not in Nigeria? Who says it can’t happen?

4)Exposure to a broader more diverse global market and opening of possibilities for Nu Generation of Nigerian Directors. Those that are coming up and don’t have the ear of Alaba funders, nor the desire for such. There are a lot of talented young directors out there as evident in excellent shorts they’ve made, but no outlet.

Now, don’t get it twisted.

I’m NOT saying we absolutely need them to thrive and won’t without them.

I’m NOT saying that they are our only way out of the vicious cycle we all complain about.

I’m NOT saying that Hollywood is some sort of guardian or saving Angel.Far from it, they have their own many issues.

There are loads of Nollywood producers and directors who are doing well enough to reject any such offer,spit on it with disgust and tell oyibo where they can shove their collaboration. That’s cool. Elijah Mohammed would be proud.

For those open though,I’m just saying it’s an option worth exploring. Afterall ,we can’t keep doing exactly the same thing and then moan we aren’t getting better results.

If you have to get across the river , and a man in a speed boat offers u a ride as opposed to the canoe filled with holes and a drunk paddler you have, will u say “NO!!, I don’t want your help you decadent imperialist”. Ok, some of you might, but It all depends on the deal you make for yourself.

Several European film makers, got invited to Hollywood after making successful films(critically&commercially) at home.

The Swedish Director of “Let the Right one in” next directed “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.

The German Director of Oscar winner “The Lives of others” next directed “The Tourist”.

Bringing it back to “the motherland “, South African Gavin Hood, who won an Oscar for Tsotsi, went on to direct X-Men:Wolverine Origins

Ok, so some of their Hollywood debuts paled in comparison to the films that got them noticed. I’m sure due to interference by suits, constant notes/memos and little creative freedom. But the point is, They Got Noticed !!!! They got the chance to work with much bigger budgets, reaching a much wider audience. And with time will get that creative freedom or at least more wiggle room like Nolan went from Momento to Inception.

Who says that can’t happen for a Naija director? Who says a Naija based director with a brilliant feature can’t be handed a project like those?

Film collaborations between two countries is not a new thing. Britain and France have done it for years (Pathe and Working Title). The British and the Americans do it a lot. The Americans shoot A LOT of TV and film scripted in the US in Canada, hiring Canadian cast and crew, and thereby putting money in the economies of the cities they shoot in. Canadian actors get work,Canadian hotels and restaurants get business. Many of those Canadians became big stars in Hollywood Ryan Reynolds,Jim Carrey,Mike Myers etc While it may not work like this for “ethnic and exotic” actors. When you see people like Djimon Hounsou and others,you know it’s not impossible.

One of the belly aches about it is the financing. Whose pocket does the money go back into? Does it stay in the industry? Is it going back abroad?

Well, I guess he who drops the money gets the profit. If we financially co produce I guess that cuts a different deal giving equal say in profit sharing.

But in that naysayers argument or logic. They forget that a lot of crew and supporting characters will be Nigerian,as is happening currently in the “Half of a Yellow Sun” shoot. Now, I don’t know about the DP and above line crew members, but as we show we are as competent as them, they’d realize it makes more financial sense to hire indigenous DP,AD,2nd Unit Directors etc who can do the job just as good. Fing Fang Foom,Hey Presto!!!, Jobs for awon boys. (In absence of politicking,neo colonialism and tribalism)

It may be a phase,it may indeed be an imperialist move. They may not be coming here out of the goodness of their hearts,(after all,it’s called Show BUSINESS not “Save the Nigerians”).

Yes Hollywood is cut throat and a lot of the time is only out for the bottom line, but isn’t that the same thing here we “artists” moan about.

So for the time being,I’m gonna chose to be naïve as some call it, and focus on the hypothetical possibilities it could bring to the industry, for talented upcoming film makers and actors.

Nollywood- Just my imagination

It’s said that “Imagination is the greatest nation on earth” So Ladies and Gentlemen I ask you to take a journey of imagination with me.

Imagine a time, where films from Nigeria are reckoned with on the same level as Hollywood and World Cinema in ALL categories;Cinematography,Performance,Screenplays,Editing,Sound Design,Score and the general entertainment value.

Imagine a time where the work of Nigerian born directors are as unique and recognised as their global counterparts. As distinctive as a Kubrick,Hitchcock,Scorcese,Kurosawa etc

Directors that pioneer ground breaking things in their movies, starting trends and creating cinematic benchmarks that inspire and awe.

A time where the work of our directors influence the next generation of film makers on a global level. Making generation and decade defining films. Remember, “The Matrix”,”Fight Club”,”Star Wars” and how they affected their respective generations?

Imagine a Time that, when the worlds most influencial film makers are mentioned, Naija directors are regularly listed because of an undeniable contribution to the world of cinema.

Imagine a time where funding is not the nightmare it is today. Where there are numerous mega studios that commision and see projects from screen development to the red carpet premiere and eventual global distribution.

Such a move could make Nigeria the film making capital of the continent. And like Hollywood, draw actors within Africa and other continents,causing a massive influx of skill and talent and investment to the industry.

A time where our films are stocked in video stores all over the world. Where HMV,Blockbusters,NetFlix,Love Films carry our movies right next to Hollywood and Bollywood films. Where on Rotten tomatoes there are rave reviews, high ranking on imdb and millions of downloads on i-tunes.

Imagine a time where like the British ,Spanish and Australian actors and directors that work in Hollywood, our own stars and directors are sought after. Delivering such great performances that they contend in the same category as their European and American colleagues for Best Actor award.

A time when African Americans are no longer called to play roles of Africans or historic African figures, but they come straight to us to cast. WHY, because of our home based actors are so impressive that they know this is the best place to come to find world class thespians.

Professionals so masterful of their craft that producers and directors refuse to green light without them on-board, not for marketing reasons but because they know that their contribution would take the movie to a higher level.

Picture a time where we have proper sets, locations, consummate professional cast and crew, that Hollywood comes calling for collaborations and co productions.

Similar to the way they go to shoot in Canada for location and tax purposes,so also when they require a tropical,exotic or African setting this would be their first port of call. Where they come on a regular basis to shoot and work alongside us.

Imagine a time where distributors from Europe and America are running after us for the rights to our films to put in cinemas and sell on Blu Ray. Where international producers clamour over themselves to option the scripts of our writers because of their amazing stories and unique voices. Where like Sorkin. Mamet and Alan Ball who are known for their distinct writing voices , so would the names of our masterful wordsmiths and scribes.

Imagine a time where Nollywood rivals and even dwarfs the oil industry in terms of employment in a very formal and traceable manner.

Can’t picture it? Doubt it? Wondering HOW!!!??

Ok look at it this way. Outside cast and the usual suspect crew members there are a monumental number of roles.

Formal and structured Nollywood would be a massive employer . With mega studios, production/ post production houses, these are just some of the career opportunities

Blue Collar jobs: Electricians,Carpenters,Tailors,Caterers,Cooks,Plumbers.Drivers,Transportcoordinators,Painters,Tillers,Cobblers,Security,Gardners

White Collar jobs; Accountants,Marketers,Public Relations,Business Managers,Human Resources,Agents,Talent Managers,Administration,IT Dept,Tech Support,Programmers etc

Creative Jobs; Designers,Graphic artists,Web Designers,Story Board artists,Art Director,Set Designer,Set Decorator,Still Photographer,Orchestra,Music Supervisors and many artistic roles Clothing designers.Costume Makers etc

In post production there are Editors(on line and offline)Sound Effect,Colorists,Graders,Editors,Foley Artists,Sound Mixers,Sound Designers,ADR Mixers

At the tail end, there would be more cinemas countrywide as a result of industry growth at least one in each LGA. These cinemas will employ people to sell tickets, sell snacks and drinks,Ushers to manage the viewing halls. Agents to acquire the films. Managers to run the business. Loaders to maintain and run the projectors .Custodians to clean the facility. Accountants to manage the finances.

A structured industry like this will create jobs in other industries that work with directly or indirectly and service the film industry

Imagine the number of Banks and account managers needed by those employed in the studios,production houses,distribution companies.

The accounting firms needed to manage the money,personal and coorporate.

The phone bills they would rack up on deal making calls vendors that need to sell them credit, customer service workers that need to attend to them?

The number of hotels they would book for cast, crew and management.

The transportation companies that would be hired to ferry people around?

It’s influential tentacles would spread far and wide.

The fashions designers,photographers,magazine editors,crew members,caterers,event organisers,interior decorators,party planners,equipment hire that would all be getting paid,as a result of the industry growing to a level that there need to be more than one major movie award night annually just so everyone gets a shot of acknowledgement.

Are you getting the picture?

In a Nollywood like this the employment opportunities are so numerous,diverse and encompassing of various skillset, that it would be a large contributor to the National GDP as it covers so many fields.

I dream I dream and I hope and pray that one day all this would the reality.

However with what’s currently on ground some could say it’s a pipe dream perhaps a psychedelic hallucinations ,some may already be calling the men in White Coats.

Hollywood was not brought down from Mount Olympus and assembled like a celestial lego set.It started from scratch by some people with a vision and passion. Bollywood to, a place a lot of post pro jobs are being outsourced.

There are a gazzillion hurdles to leap to get there,it may take a decade ,5 or even 9. All depending on vision,commitment and passion, but it is possible.

A lot of roles need to be approached more professionally. Access granted based on skill,proven record or evidence of immense passion and potential and not “my brother,my town person”.

The establishment of schools and training facilities to prepare people for roles in this industry or apprentice/under study roles if school is unavailable.

The industry needs to stop being a refugee camp for failures from other industries,or people with no training or knowledge that think they can just wing it with claims of ‘natural talent’ without any training or education(formal/informal).

When we treat the industry as seriously and as professionally as Lawyers and Doctors treat their profession, then we have commenced the journey. By imbibing professionalism and a creating a road map toward the promised land maybe unlike the Israelites we can shorten our journey and not rigmarole in circles for the next few decades

The Rise of the Naija Auteur

A short film is any film not long enough to be considered a feature film. No consensus exists as to where that boundary is drawn: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.

Shorts have been the means by which upcoming film makers show the world and more specifically the industry what they are capable of doing. Many of the legends of today made short films which enabled them to be recognized and get the opportunity to make feature films. Directors like Speilberg, Scorcese, Chris Nolan ,George Lucas and other went through this path at some point.

I want to dedicate this post to the young film makers from Nigeria.

I won’t write much but i’ll let their work speak for them. You form your own opinions on what they’ve produced. Some of them are based in Nigeria others are outside the country, But they are all Naija Bred .

They vary in genre and tone. Some are socially relevant, some are art house and indie, and others are just entertainment,your opinions on their execution may vary. but they all show something different about their craft and the capabilties and potential of their directors. So
ladies and gentlemen, say hello to The Future

First up SIGNS by London Based SUNNY KING


Second up WAITING LINES by Lagos Based Daniel Oriahi Follow @Filmic25)

Next up, it’s not a short but a trailer for a feature called BLOOD AND HENNA by Kaduna based KENNETH GYANG, ok yeah, im sneaking this one in 😛

Follow @degyangs

Our first female entry is by Lagos Based TOPE OSHIN OGUN called THE YOUNG SMOKER

Follow @topeoshinogun)

Next ASSAILANT by Lagos based ABIOLA SOBO Follow @abiolasobo)

Ok, this one is a lil long, so if you need a bathroom break, take it now, and grab your pop corn on the way back(WASH YOUR HANDS FIRST OH,Lol)

This is by Lagos based IMOH UMOREN, also known as MAJORBOY titled ALL SORTS OF TROUBLE

Follow @majorboy8

Finally,(for now) a short BLISS by Lagos based OLU YOMI OSOSANYA, yup, moi. You know what they say, charity begins at home. 😉

Follow @oludascribe

As i discover more i’ll put them up and maybe at some point a little interview(maybe oh can’t guarantee), but for now, i hope you enjoy.

Please as you watch go to their YouTube pages, drop your feedback and show some love and for those with IMDB accounts you can go to their pages to vote and review.

The Young Smoker by TOPE OSHIN OGUN