Alright, we know its still some way from realization but with what I have seen in the last 6 weeks there is some real hope.
First of all I apologize for being AWOL for some time.(Prostrating on floor people) I had a lot of work to deal with but I promise not to abandon you all like that again. That’s one of my new year resolutions. (The other one- To get better in all areas of my life including financial independence)
Normally when I go to the cinemas I watch mainly the Hollywood fare. Most of the Nigerian movie were hardly promoted so when I saw them with the typical middle class Nigerian mentality I shunned them as most of them were badly done and looked like Alaba films ported onto cinema. (Is it easy to throway money on rubbish film).
Before November I had only watch one Nigerian film that I wasn’t involved in acting or writing, the meeting by Mildred Okwo. (I had the chance but choose GI joe instead. Still regret it) But with the hype surrounding Kunle Afolayan’s October 1, (Heard people overpaid to see it on its first day) I just had to see it. So off I went to Filmhouse cinema, Surulere. (The ticket was N500 before 6pm on weekdays. Now its N600. I no get N1500 to see film as a true Ijebu boy)
The movie set some days before independence day in 1960 proved to be value for money and I couldn’t expect less having worked with Kunle on the figurine. Picture quality, sound and story line all made sense. The story of a serial killer in a village that instigates the posting of a police officer from Eastern Nigeria by his British bosses was well told. I got to hand it to Kunle Afolayan for his business savvy as I heard he has made the production money (300 million naira) back. (What did you expect from a former banker?)
Then I hard about a comedy film Head gone by Dare Fasasi, the musician called Sound sultan. The logline of a bus driver losing his patients headed for the psychiatric asylum on the road and then picking up unsuspecting innocent people to present as mad people hooked me. So I had to set aside Hunger games mocking jay part 1 and see this one.
It was a terrific experience. I had never seen so many Nigerians laughing all through the course of the film (Most people go to pose in cinemas in these parts) and the hall was so full some people had to sit on the stairs. The technical quality was great as well as the story. For once I got to see some quality acting. Maybe the comedians in the movie (Ali Baba, Apororo: this guy was crazy. Damn!) made it worthwhile. Basorge Tariah, 2face (Ok it was only a cameo) and even IK (Yes the one who anchors big brother) were very good. My only fault with sound sultan was the lack of publicity. Anyway its still on in some cinemas.
Then there was 30 days in Atlanta. I had thought this Ayo Makun (AY) produced flick would be another home video ported onto the big screen. But the number of weeks it stayed on in cinemas got me curious. (Even October 1 petered out by November) A few other Nigerian films like Invasion 1897, antique and a place in the stars came and went but 30 days was still going strong and even showing twice daily in most cinemas.
Okay I had to see this one. I tried watching it during christmas but tickets were sold out. (O ti O! A Nigerian film, how come?) Finally got the chance to see it a week ago at Silverbird cinemas Ikeja. (It was terrific Tuesday so we got free popcorn and drinks. But the coke no cold at all. Silverbird WHY?)
In another packed cinema hall (When I watched the meeting we were less than 30 in the hall) the story of Akpos winning a ticket to go to Atlanta with his cousin kept us laughing. Akpos jokes are well known here in Nigeria so think unexposed Waffi guy going to America and surprised at the way they do things there. As the other two the technical quality was good. The story was well written. (Hint to alaba boys. You can weld a love story with other story concepts instead of killing us with unromantic romance videos) No wonder the film has made at least N130 million naira to become not only the highest selling Nigerian cinema movie but one of the highest selling. (Avengers and Jame Bond’s Skyfall sold N160 million) Don’t be surprised that it beats it.
With these 3 films my hope in Nigerian movie making has been rekindled. There are people who are holding the tourh for good film making. Now if only we could find a way for as many people to watch it so that they can make a decent return.