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Book Preview: Making Movies The Nollywood Way By Seun Oloketuyi

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  • Affidavit of Greatness: Nigerian filmmakers surrender “trade secrets”

Previewed By: Femi Akintunde-Johnson

Title of Book: Making Movies The Nollywood Way

Genre: Nonfiction/Mini Autobiographies

Type: Coffee-table book

Published: 07 September, 2023

Pages: 117 (Content only)

 

THIS book is not for cynics who disdain the promises of humble beginnings; nor is it for self-conceited revisionists who associate mediocrity with any home-groomed artistic expression.

A student of life, a fan of our movies, or an enthusiast of business potential desirous of understanding the chaotic complexities of producing and promoting films in Nigeria will be enormously excited about the book. And young professionals who are not immune to learning and unlearning the brasstacks and peculiarities of Nigerian filmic anthropology will certainly have a go-to companion in ‘Making Movies the Nollywood Way’.

The book is colourfully arranged, peppered with action pictures and portraits of each entry subject. Spatially designed in the manner of attractive coffee-table books, ‘Making Movies the Nollywood Way’ is a collection of the thoughts, styles, production etiquettes, and some sort of “trade secrets” of 21 delicately selected ‘caucus’ of Nigeria’s better known and highly regarded filmmakers.

Smartly compiled by media entrepreneur and budgeoning filmmaker, Olúwaṣeun Oloketuyi, the 117-page book devotes between four and ten pages to 11 veterans of this immensely challenging and technically exhausting profession, namely: Ọpa Williams, Wale Adenuga, Tade Ogidan, Zeb Ejiro, Emem Isong, Zik-Zulu Okafor, Fidelis Duker, Okey Ogunjiofor, Lancelot Imasuen, and a pair of younger veterans: Simi Opeoluwa and Obi Emelonye.

The other set of entries are some of the most exciting and riveting operatives who have matured behind the camera, and delivered outlandishly beyond their numerical experience within the last 10 to 20 years of the Nollywood phenomenon. These are the final ten ‘technocrats’: Tope Oshin, Biodun Stephen, Robert Peters, Biodun Jimoh, Ayo Makun, Ibrahim Yekini, Okey Onu, Yemi Morafa, Rogers Ofime, and Ali Nuhu (old hand in acting).

A little more on our classification of ‘veteranship’ and the latter generation. Some of the eleven individuals tagged as veterans made forays into the make-believe world even before the “epochal” 1992 that the industry has grown to settle on as the launch date of Nigeria’s Nollywood, while the rest flowered within the first decade of Nollywood.

Back to the book: all the contributors to this documentary of Nollywood’s how-to-do survival kit delivered their responses in their own words – some colourful, few business-like or plaintive, and a couple just a little hastily – as they were given similar eight questions to field. The eight parameters that highlight the uniformity of experiences in some cases, and diversities of operations in others, are as follows: Background. First film. The filming process. Filmmaking in Nigeria. Nollywood timing. Funding and budgeting. Location scouting and other challenges. Key ingredients for success and marketability of films in Nollywood. A day on set.

Let us quickly note this heartwarming point before we turn off the road: fidelity to interviewees’ statements have often been the albatross on the necks of books that seek to aggregate verbatim the thoughts of sundry people in a one-off historical document. In ‘Making Movies the Nollywood Way’, reading is not only bumpy-less, you’re easily transported to the world each filmmaker chooses to unveil – a testament to editorial astuteness.

The reader would be thoroughly entertained and informed with some of the filmmakers who bent backwards to reveal the nuances of how they overcame some atrocious challenges and man-made obstacles erected against the creative expression in a land desirous of great works of art but at loggerheads with its critical process. Some of the filmmakers are thorough as they take us through the tortuous paths of film making in Nigeria, like Fidelis Duker (page 75); and one other in more expressive story of self discovery amidst horrific impediments is rendered effusively by Okey Ogunjiofor (pps 93-94).

To underscore the quantum leap the industry has witnessed in the last 30 years is to read the statements of these filmmakers who now consider ₦10m spend as a low-budget project – a sum hitherto seen as a robust outlay for a local blockbuster. Nowadays, according to the filmmakers, fairly big-budget films are not merely imagined, but spoken of as an astonishing modern reality in our clime… and guess the starting cost – ₦100m!

Many speak fairly confidently of achieving returns on investment without a glint of anxiety on account of the quality of their works, the delicate understanding of the taste and tendencies of movie watchers, and the numerous platforms now available to exhibit their talents and business acumen. Of course, it is yet another reminder of how Nigerian politicians have squandered our potential, and trifled with our macro economy, throughout the past three decades.

One of the drawbacks of this interesting book is the limited number of female filmmakers – only three featured out of 21 – especially when you imagine what could have been even more engaging, considering the quality of submissions by Isong, Oshin and Stephen, which are quite educative, and inspirational in the context of their glass-ceiling breaking efforts in an industry subconsciously patrilineal.

Another distraction is the numerous quotes that emblazon the first page of each filmmaker’s submission. Curiously, the multiple quotes have multiple captions as íf the readers are likely to forget that the same person made all the quotes if we are not reminded ‘numerously’ – some as many as 15 or 19 times! A better way to go is what was mistakenly done (apparently) with Opeoluwa’s chapter (page 105)… Of course, it is thereafter soiled with multiple tags of “lessons” under multiple quotes!

To those who may wonder why only 21 people were selected in a field teeming with hundreds of talented and remarkable individuals – one can only vouch a proxy defence here – the answer is pretty simple: in matters creative, the shorter, the better. And in any case, this book can serve as the first of a series – as other volumes can have more entries and even more parameters of engagement. One thing is certain though, in spite of the universality of their challenges and the Nigerian experience: their individual expressions, attitudes, idiosyncrasies, beliefs and reactions make the compilation a treasure-trove of unimaginable contribution to understanding and immortalising the critical underpinnings of Nollywood.

Furthermore, those distractions pale into insignificance, or petty nitpicking, when we consider the overarching impact of this coffee-table page turner. As one who has passed this stage a number of times, and has a fair idea of how the Nollywood evolved, one can easily hazard that if you wish to leave a copy of ‘Making Movies the Nollywood Way’ as an attractive exhibition in your cute reception area, be prepared to buy in bulk. The book will not only grow on you, it will go off with your visitors… inadvertently!

 

(Akintunde-Johnson is the author of Reflections: Anthology of Thoughts on Nigerian Movie Industry; Fame: Untold Stories of its Rise & Fall, and other books)

 

BIG STORY

BREAKING: President Tinubu Appoints Kemi Nanna Nandap As Immigration Comptroller-General

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has approved the appointment of Kemi Nanna Nandap as the comptroller-general (CG) of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), effective from March 1.

Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, in a statement on Wednesday, said Nandap will take over from Caroline Wura-Ola Adepoju, whose term in office will expire on February 29.

Before she was appointed as the CG, Nandap was the deputy comptroller-general in charge of the migration directorate of the service.

“The President anticipates that the new Comptroller-General will deepen the ongoing reforms in the service and create a robust mechanism for efficient and dedicated service delivery to Nigerians, as well as strengthen the nation’s security through proactive and effective border security and migration management,” the statement reads.

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FG Will Allow Massive Importation Of Cement If Prices Do Not Reduce Nationwide — Housing Minister Dangiwa Threatens Dangote, BUA, Others

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A day after the Nigerian government and major cement manufacturers in the country agreed to bring down the price of the product, Ahmed Dangiwa, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, threatened the manufacturers that the government would allow massive importation of cement if the price was not reduced across the country.

Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

It was gathered that major cement manufacturers in Nigeria, Dangote, BUA and Lafarge, at a separate meeting on Monday, agreed that the price of a bag of cement will not exceed between N7,000 and N8,000.

The resolution was reached following a meeting between the Minister of Works, David Umahi, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite as well as representatives of BUA Cement, Dangote Cement, Lafarge and Cement Producers Association on Monday.

The price of a bag of cement, used for construction across Nigeria, has increased to about N13,000 in many parts of the country amidst a cost-of-living crisis that has led to spikes in the prices of goods and services across the country.

While Nigerians wait to see if Monday’s agreement with the cement manufacturers will be implemented, the government on Tuesday warned that it might open the borders for cement importation if manufacturers of the product fail to bring down the prices.

Mr Dangiwa expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed an alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses,” the minister said.

“We are not the only country facing these challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

Mr Dangiwa said the cement manufacturers are enjoying the benefits of government policies.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper,” he said.

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do.”

He said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – the high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

While cement manufacturers can control the prices they sell the product, wholesalers and retailers often, arguably based on their operational costs, sell at prices of their choosing.

Mr Dangiwa, however, said the government wants the manufacturers to compel the wholesalers and retailers to sell at fixed prices.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of the Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfere with the pricing of cement.”

He said the association should not just fold its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order,” he said.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist.”

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of CEMAN, Salako James, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Mr Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollars.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing that there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Labour Party’s National Chairman Julius Abure Arrested In Edo [VIDEO]

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Julius Abure, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, has been arrested by security operatives in Edo State.

Abure, on Wednesday, was arrested a few days before the party’s primary election in Edo State.

It was gathered that he was arrested by operatives of the Zone 5 police headquarters in Benin, Edo State.

A crowd had gathered at the entrance, with only police officers and a few VIPs allowed inside.

It was gathered that his arrest was the result of a petition forwarded to the Zone from the office of the Inspector General of Police in Abuja.

Abure was captured in viral videos and pictures being forcibly handled by police officers, while his supporters from the LP party tried to intervene to stop his arrest.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Zone, Tijani Momoh, said, “There is a standing order for now that nobody should come in.

“Yes, the Labour Party National Chairman is here and it has to do with a petition that was referred to this office from the Inspector General of Police.

“It was referred to Zone 5 from the IG’s office, he is with us but I cannot give the contents of the petition right now.”

When asked if he was being detained or just to take his statement, Momoh said, “I don’t know for now.”

Abure has been having running battles with some members of the party in the state over allegations of substituting candidates in the 2023 general election without the consent of the affected aspirants, an allegation he has denied.

It was also gathered that the arrest may be connected to the factional crisis rocking the party as a factional national youth leader was recently brutalised by some suspected members of the party.

Abure has also come under fire for allegedly mishandling party funds.

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