Tag Archives: nigerian cinema

Im Writing for The Guardian, Yay!!!

Happy New Year people!!!

Have i said that already?  Trust you are all excited for the new year and got lots of plans to make some awesome stuff.  Shorts, Webseries, Films, TV shows, etc.

Well, i have some news for you.  I recently became a contributor on The Guardian Nigeria, writing on Film Culture (pauses of applause)

Nothing? Anyone ? Anyone ?

Ok. So check out my articles, buy the physical copies, comment on the digital, comment and share. Lets have  conversations on how we can grow Nigerian Cinema.

Would also, like to hear from you this year.  Yes, YOU ,reading this right now. PLEASE ,leave a comment , even if it just one word. “Hi”  would do.

Here’s to a year making cinetastic content. Have  a great week.

Not all films are meant for the cinema

 

 

USING SHADOW AND LIGHT IN CINEMATIC STORYTELLING

In filmmaking, cinematography is as much a storytelling tools as the words on a script and actor performance, after all, it has the word CINEMA in it.  The use of shadows and light to create the world, mood, tone and atmosphere is essential in engaging the audience, pulling them into the story, letting them know what to expecting and making them feel how you want them to feel.

Certain genres like noir,thrillers and horror use shadow and light more than others but they work in any genre depending on the aims of the storyteller.

Proper use of shadow and light will elevate your cinematic storytelling.

Director arth thou

There are diff types of Director:

The Spike Lee type, Steve McQueen type, The Tyler Perry type, The Lee Daniels type & the F Gary Gray type. Each different in tone, each with a different level of mastery on the language of cinema. From politically/socially conscious to existential to summer blockbuster to sappy .

Some are more popular than others, but popularity or box office receipts has not always been a measure of cinematic quality. If so, “Twilight” will be said to be a better film than “The Shawshank Redemption”.

There’s certainly a need for variety in the market and diversity, each coming with a different voice for the punters to choose from the pack.

But in the Nigerian cinema market, do we have too much of the same? The same genre that dominates the market? Little distinction between voices of the storytellers?

What of the political commentary, social commentary, allegorical,satirical,quirky,dark,existential, etc

Do we have such diversity in Nigerian Cinema? As we evolve and new voices enter the market place slowly, What kind of directors would you like to see?

What kind of and genre,tones and styles do you believe would make the market place more interesting?

THE SCORE

Came across this and thought to share. Though not film related, but i do think that the industry needs talented people like this to created scores and soundtracks.

We all have that score that raises our spirits whenever we hear it and makes us nostalgic about the movie, even when it was decades ago we last saw it. Whether it’s the Darth Vader Imperial March or the Superman theme, the have a profound effect on us and how we feel about the movie.

While Hollywood has the Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri and others, we need to start nurturing and locating those talented musicians , that can created soaring scores that up the ante and become signature and inseparable tunes from their movies

There’s a great future in score composition, and a wise musician that loves his craft but not the public attention that comes with being a performer, can carve a niche here .

HoAYS and the year of Chiwetal

So the trailer has been out for a few weeks now, (Yeah, i know,this is kinda a Lastma a blog). After all the brohaha surrounding this film,from the casting of Thandie Newton in the lead to the scarcity of Nollywod actors in signficant roles’ to rumors of Genevieve`s scenes hitting the cutting room floor, now that the trailer is out, it has done it’s work in getting people excited to see it.

How it plays in Nigeria would be very interesting to observe, as both fans of the book and those that followed the production closely, and also those that petitioned against Thandie Newtons casting, and the outrage that followed a comment made by source writer Chimamanda will all be watching the film. So i guess we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. One thing is certain, the film certainly has had enough publicity long before it gets to the screen.

Chiwetal who plays one of the lead characters in it, also has  “12 years a slave” coming out,directed by Steve McQueen who is already building a body of work that commands respect and another film “Savannah” also a 2013 movie. So this is the year of the Golden Globe nominee who has worked with respected directors like Speilberg, Spike Lee, Ridley Scott and David Mamet.

With HoAYS and Mother of George(dir by Andrew Dosunmu) receiving a lot of attention on the global  cinema scene, and both are directed by Nigerian born but West based film makers, it would be interesting to see the effect they have on the Nigerian filmscape and how differently films made in Nigeria and by Nigerians are viewed.

Nollywood : A Naysayer’s Swan Song

 So the past few weeks have been a paradigm shifting one for me in how i see Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry. First it was the teaser for “76” by Izu Ojukwu, a story set in the 70’s against the backdrop of the Murtala Mohammed assassination. All i can say is WOW, it looks amazing, it is a first of it’s kind and i look forward to seeing it. Secondly i was at the cinema and two films completely entertained me; one was The Meeting by Mildred Okwo and the other was Phone Swap by Kunle Afolayan , both great comedies, that raised the game on all levels, writing, performance, directing and over all production quality. These movies showed me that things have truly changed in Nigerian cinema. It then finally hit me, that perhaps many of us have been giving Nollywood too much of a hard time. Hollywood had it’s stages , from the silent era, to the talkies, to color and finally the CGI overload era. As they had their stages so we should give Nollywood that room to grow. 

YES ,there are still productions with poor audio/video, bad performances and cliche predictable stories, but HEY, ever heard of B movies or exploitation movies? Every movie industry has their ugly ducklings, and Nollywood is no exception, but a few are breaking out and transforming into beautiful soaring swans.

 

Nollywood is evolving, and i believe it’s just in it’s 2nd phase right now and there is still a lot more room to grow in a world where Hollywood has come full circle and is retarding and inbreeding. 

 Now i previously wrote a blog about Hollywood and Nollywood collaborations and being excited about it , but i’m now having a re-think, though they are welcome, i think we have to be careful that they do not come and muddy the pure waters of our industries growth. Like the story of the kid that tried to help the caterpillar in metamorphosis out of it’s cocoon, but ended up killing it, too much outside interference can do the same. As Nollywood started from scratch on it’s own, during this second phase it can continue to thrive , all that is needed is to continue and increase the current momentum , master the distribution that the American seem to monopolize so much . 

If we continue this level of improvement, just like the music industry exploded beyond belief, and now we have more Nigerian music on radio and in clubs than foreign, i see a time where there are cinemas dedicated to ONLY Nollywood films , here and around the world, i see Hollywood studios scrambling over themselves to work with our directors, hire our actors and acquire the rights to our movies, but the next 5 years are going to be very pivotal, the birthing years and shift to maintenance of a steady 2nd gear. Personally, as we enter 2013 , i’m very excited about what the years ahead hold.

 

 

 

 

 

And for our next trick , we shall……………………..

So there are a lot of changes going on in the Nigerian Film industry. From making home videos we’ve gone to hitting the cinema, not only at home but abroad, with films premiering in the United Kingdom ,the US and even collaborations with East European countries. 

However as a huge movie fan, i noticed we are still sticking within a few genres and even sometimes same storyline (Nigerian immigrant gets into trouble). As we grow and get better, there are some genres and sub genres I’d like to see.

COMING OF AGE

Knowing my childhood, and the adventures I’ve heard my friends tell of theirs(very exciting) Climbing trees, taking short cuts across neighborhoods backyards and having to rabbit when they decide to have a little target practice. After school lessons and wearing double shorts to school when whippings(Doctor Bulahlah)  were in the wind. Childhood in the 80’s is full of good memories and i think that is a great story material that has not been harnessed. One great example of a coming of age movie is STAND BY ME(1986) by Rob Reiner. If you haven’t seen it before, please do. Another is LORD OF THE FLIES(1963). Ok, this one is  quite dark but it’s also a powerful commentary on humanity , touches a little on satire too. which is the next thing id like to see

SATIRE

With Nigeria’s political and social history, we are practically over flowing with potential satire movies. There’s so much going on , i’m surprised i haven’t seen a satirical movie made. We have them in literature in the books of Achebe(A man of the People)  and Soyinka(A play of Giants), and in newspaper comic strips but nothing to the best of my knowledge on the screen. George Orwell had two great ones ; Animal Farm and 1982. I think we are ripe for open season on satires. Even “The Simpsons” is a satirical look at dysfunctional suburban , America. On TV The Colbert Report is satIrical news, where vices ,follies, abuses and short comings are held up to ridicule. Just imagine the hilarity that could ensue.

BIOPIC/HISTORICAL BACKDROP

Ok, here we are making a little progress with two films lined up Lions of 76 and Half of a Yellow sun. Both have stories set within a historical backdrop. But as per biopic. We have many leaders, historical figures, From politics, to music to social movers, they all need biopics so the younger generations can learn about their forerunners. A Fela biopic has been talked about , but that’s not being done by Nigerians, not Nigerian producers anyway. In the US MLK, Malcom X , and Muhammed Ali have had biopic(s). Why can’t we have on Awolowo, Azikwe,Abiola, Soyinka etc

Taking it back a lil further. Most of us have seen Braveheart, or if not seen heard  of (if u never hear where u don dey) Though some creative liberties were taken with the story, the Scots are now very proud of the movie and recently used it for national promotion. I’m sure we have legendary warriors from pre colonial times whose stories would be fascinating on the screen.

ADAPTATIONS

Whether from our own writers( which there are many potentials) or just  great universal stories. Shakespeare has many great universal human stories, which can be set in an Africa Think Hamlet,Twelfth Night,Henry IV,The Merchant of Venice. How about Jane Austen? Think Sense&Sensibility. Now, imagine setting it in Pre Independence Nigeria.Get the picture. Or if you prefer to be Pan-African, we have books by Soyinka,Achebe,Ben Okri and others which can be translated to the big screen. Why haven’t we done them yet? 

URBAN LEGENDS
We’ve all heard those stories from boarding school friends or siblings. Enough stories to make several seasons of the Twilight Zone, Goosebumps and Tales from the Crypt. From Bush Baby to Madam Koi Koi to poo eating demons. The mere word of mouth illustration was enough to put the fear in many of us. What about a visual visceral illustration on an IMAX screen. Something that can put to shame Candyman, Boogie man , Mothman and every other western urban legend that’s scared the living daylights out of some of us. And we’ve not even touched on Slasher movies.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some that come to mind right now. Let’s not restrict ourselves to just drama and comedy , let’s explore the sub genres that are out there and have more diverse cinema.

What other genre/sub genre would you like to see in Nigerian Cinema? Drop a comment . Cheers