Thursday, 27 November 2008

The Ghanaian connection, Rise of Yoruba Film Industry.

Though it is cheery news that the cash crunch invading the world like the biblical plague in the time of Moses is showing signs of subsiding, the effect of the global cash crunch has, however, changed the power equation and landscape of the Nigerian movie industry otherwise known as Nollywood.

In Nollywood, money is everything just like in any other show business. Nigerian marketers hold the ace because they fund most movie projects. Long before the global cash crunch became pronounced, Nollywood has been experiencing it own kind of cash crunch. Money has been scarce. And that is why it is real hard today to find a blockbuster movie featuring as many as four to five A-list artists in Nigeria.

‘Anyone who tries that will go bankrupt’ a movie producer said when we sought his opinion. “If you pay about five A-list acts between N800 000 to N1 million and you still have many other expenses to look at, how do you want the producer to make his money back? If you try that, you will go bankrupt. In fact, I’m sure no one is trying that now.”

For instance, the lavish luxury of having for instance Omotola, Genevieve, Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah and the likes in your movie is gone. The reason for the change in equation is simple: investors, especially marketers, are no longer making their money back. And these set of actors are among the highest paid in the market.

Even banks and other corporate bodies that show some interest in investing into the burgeoning industry are fast becoming disinterested. Reason? This is not the time to invest into something that won’t yield desired returns or the invested capital. So in the wake of this financial crisis in Nollywood, everybody is now looking for alternatives and Ghanaians are now the emerging new faces in Nollywood. They serve as ‘perfect’ alternatives to core investors.

Investors in Nollywood are now becoming shrewd with their investment and are always looking for avenues to cushing the effect of the global financial turmoil hence the ‘invasion of Nollywood’ by the Ghanaian element.

Investors practically beg them to come on board and rescue the tight financial situation in the industry. How? By using the Ghanaians, more Nollywood movies will penetrate the emerging Ghanaian market. That is why the likes of Mojid, Nadia Bhuari, Jackie Appiah, and Van Vikers are taking the front burners, even ahead of Nollywood’s more talented acts.

Another alternative the investors are exploring is that of ‘emerging new talents.’ The reason many new acts are fast emerging on the Nigeria movie scene is not because of the magnanimous nature of the practitioners, but they came as children of necessity. That is also the reason why many of them disappear as they come.

Nollywood investors realize that it pays more to make use of the Ghanaians and new acts that take lesser money, compared to the established acts like Nkem Owoh and co.

As of now, Nollywood is groping in darkness awaiting new direction. That is the main reason many look unto the new framework from NFVCB, hoping the policy would emerge the long awaited saviour.

But many onlookers are unfazed by the new fad. ‘This is Nollywood for you. It will soon pass like many of its past fads. Mark my word; many of these so-called Ghana stars and new stars will soon fade away.

They came in as children of necessity and they will go when the condition becomes normal’, one producer told us. Perhaps that explains the real reason many new local acts fade as soon as they come.

In the wake of this development, consumers are increasingly looking for better ways to be entertained. Attention has shifted to Yoruba movies (indigenous language movie). Yoruba movie industry that has been in the shadow of English movie is fast catching up and gaining unprecedented prominence, especially in the market place as against its English counterparts.

Home video consumers, having grown tired of the low quality products of English movies occasioned by the ‘undercut’ many engage in because of cash crunch, are fasting turning to alternatives as well. Their alternatives are foreign and Yoruba movies which is spreading its tentacles all over the world. Yoruba movies are like hot cakes now. Many of the producers are taking this opportunity to churn out more movies. The likes of Funke Akindele and Saheed Balogun are leading the pack. The irony is that the more movies they release, the more they sell. This is a far cry from what is happening in the English sector.

Will this power equation last? We have our doubt; Nollywood is like Charly Boy Show anything can happen!


Saturday, 22 November 2008

'IN DA HOUSE' - Music and Life Changing Entertainment featuring Recording Artists at KICC London on 30th November, 2008.

In Da House! Yes...That is the gospel music concert featuring the Best Recording Artistes of our days: Shola Victor-Sajowa, Wole Awolola, Julia Doe and G-Force (Mobo Award Winners 2007). These Artistes are, as a matter of fact sons and daughters of Kingsway International Christian Centre, London UK and they are doing great things for the Kingdom of God.

This Life changing Music concert will be taking place at the Kingsway International Christian Centre, Land of Wonders, 464 -474 Hoe Street London E17 9AH on Sunday 30th November 2008 at 7pm prompt.
Speaking with one of the Artistes of the night, Shola Victor-Sajowa during the week, she explained the reason behind the upcoming event and their expectations after the ministration.

The whole event has been put together by the Father of the House, the Senior Pastor, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, according to her. She explained further, that his intention was and is to encourage the recording artistes 'in the house'. 'For this, I am truly grateful', she said.

On this evening of the event, four of these recording artist will be presenting their debut albums.
Shola's debut album entitled IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU is a mixture of styles ranging from easy listening worship tracks, to songs with latinic influence to proper African praise worship songs all pregnant with the praise and worship of our Lord and King.

Julia Doe will be presenting her album 'LIGHT MY WAY'. Julia Doe might be petite in stature but her voice is far from being petite. She ministers powerfully and her album will most definitely bless the listener.

G-Force is a Mobo award winning group with a strong following among the youth and people who are young at heart. Their music is lively and rap with meaning.

Wole Awolola's rich voice and lyrics will most definitely bless the listener. His debut album entitled SUDDENLY, mirrors Wole's worship language and it draws and leads you to worship the Faithful one and it blesses your musical soul.
The amazing thing here is, the four artistes might be different in musical styles but united in their focus and intentions, to make God's name great and to bless the people of God.

In conclusion, her expectations at the end of this great concert are that the SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOUR HIMSELF' be in the house as it is all about HIM anyway. In addition to that, a full house of enthusiastic worshippers will surely be there to worship the KING OF KINGS and also the celebrate their home grown, KICC artistes. It's going to be a night to remember! BE THERE!

Source: Teju Ibukunoluwa


Plans are in top gear to ensure, a grand and hitch free outing at this years edition of NOLLYWOOD OUTSTANDING PERSONALITY AWARDS. (NOPA)

Information available from the organizer of what observers have tagged Nollywood most prestigious and most credible award is that the second edition of the show stopping event will hold on 5th December, at the newly renovated National Theatre Iganmu Lagos.

A press release jointly signed by CEO of NOPA, Stanley U. Okoronkwo, the project consultant, Oji Onoko and project director, Fred Iwenjora reveals “we are at the final stage of dottings the i s and crossing the t s. Every detail have been taken into consideration and we are sure we will have a grand event”.

Let us use this opportunity to tell you that the Emir of Zazzau Alhaji Dr. Shehu Idris is the royal father of the day. Other eminent personalities will also be there.

And former minister of information and BOT Chairman Association of Movie Journalists, Sir, Dr. Walter I. Ofonagoro is the Chief host.

Unfolding the plans, Okoronkwo who is also the National President, Association of Movie Journalist posited, “The event will start off with a first of its kind red carpet champagne ceremony. The hosts and hostess are top entertainment TV presenters. After the red carpet the curtain raiser at NOPA will be the presentation of the Diamond pen merit certificate to some pioneer movie Journalist among whom are, Rene Ejiro Adigbo, Publisher/Editor in Chief of Top celebrity magazine, Afolabi Odeyemi Editor Saturday Mirror, Charles Nwagbara Editor of City People, Sunny Okim, Austin Fair Nwulu Azu Arinze Encomuim Editor and Fred Iwenjora of Vanguard Newspaper. To present the certificate is veteran Journalist and Chairman, Advisory Board of Association of Movie Journalists, Chief F. Onita Coker. On the Awardees the project Director, Fred Iwenjora stated, “the awardees were carefully scrutinized by the screening committee and their credentials are solid.

Take a look at names like, Sam Loco Efe, Okey Ogunjiofor, Nkem Owoh, Emeka Mba, Clarion Chukwurah, Ndubuisi Okoh, Joke Sillva, Lancelot Imasuen, Ifeanyi Onyeabor, Ekenna Igwe, Fidelis Duker, Zik Okafor, Isa Abubakar and Chux Mordi. You can’t but agree that these people have made positive contribution in building the brand Nollywood”.

In his own remarks ex deputy editor of This Day, Oji Onoko enthused “Every area is covered , Orbit Audio Visual Studio Ltd is our technical partners, with top Nollywood director, Theordore Anyanji working as technical director. The security is well taken care of, the Nigerian Police will be complimented by a private security outfit, Scanners Security. The Red Carpet Champagne ceremony is being handled by Champaign Events, while the After Award party will be hosted at Herbert Macaulay way based “349 Bar”.

Other proud supporters of NOPA includes, Lagos International Film Festival (LIFF) central logistics and support services, Galaxy Television, Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board and all the guilds of Nollywood.

Top Nollywood stars, Stephanie Okereke, Desmond Elliot, Chiege Alisigwe and Charles Inogie will host different segments of the show. We also gathered that Lagos International Film Festival is one of the proud supporters of the event.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Rave of Nollywood Nigerian movies shocked us in the West!

What makes the Nigerian motion picture industry so tick that it easily courts the attention of presidents and other highly placed people in society? The phenomenon that is now popularly called Nollywood started on a casual note in the early 1990s by a crop of experienced movie producers and traders.

Today, it has blossomed into social and economic reckoning such that it has earned Nigeria the enviable position of being the third largest movie producing country after America and India.

Last week at the Goethe Institut, Lagos, German president, Mr Horst Kohler and his wife, Eva paid glowing tributes to Nollywood in an epoch making reception, which witnessed elaborate interaction with top practitioners in the sector.

The German president who was on a short official trip to Nigeria described Nollywood as a refreshing medium of cultural and economic significance also wondered what the medium holds in stock for the country.

Kohler who confessed that he was perturbed upon watching a Guinean film at a festival in Berlin hinted that the film medium has now opened new vistas in the process of correcting wrong impressions about the African continent. Said Kohler ‘Nollywood no doubt has offered a refreshing angle towards redefining cultural developments in Nigeria, and indeed on the African continent.

It has come to correct our impressions about poverty, war, conflicts and intolerance that we usually attach to African culture. But it also needs to combine entertainment with didactic messages such as highlighting dangers of corruption and how it can be eradicated’.

Kohler who was received at the Institut by Arne Schneider, the out-going Director of Goethe Institut, culture workers and journalists also raised hopes on the possibility of collaborationss between Nigeria and Germany in the field of film.

On the challenges of using film as a medium of entertainment and instruction, Kohler tasked Nigerian filmmakers to work harder, adding that the role of film in social and economic development cannot be overemphasized.

Shortly before the President’s address, Victor Okhai, popular filmmaker, analyst and scholar traced the success story of Nollywood from the casual, unorganized state to an enviable, economic giant that now creates jobs for thousands of people aside raising revenue for investors and producers.

According to Okhai, the secret of Nollywood lies in communalism and synergy of talents and forces. Whereas in the West, producers always wait for grants, in Nigeria, it is all about individual investment and communal goodwill. He explained further ‘All of these factors combined have resulted into an industry that is today worth over 200million US dollars per year, employs directly over 40thousand people and provides further employment indirectly for over 250 thousand people, many of whom would have been on the streets.’

To sum up the success story of Nollywood, Okhai said ‘Beyond our shores, Nollywood also provides not only entertainment but employment for thousands of people across the continent who sell, exhibit illegally and pirate these hugely popular movies for their sustenance…Today our films are watched all over Africa and in the Diaspora community all over the world. They have displaced American movies here successfully. And with better funding, more support and better distribution strategies, we may become a global force in time like Hollywood.’

Other Nigerians, particularly stakeholders who received President Kohler at the Goethe Institut include, Tunde Kelani, Kingsley Ogoro, Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima, Jahman Anikulapo, Sandra Obiago, Steve Ayorinde, Stella Damasus Aboderin and a host of diplomats and journalists from both Nigeria and Germany.


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Adieu Mama Africa!! - Miriam Makeba dies at the Age of 76 years.

South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba, whose music was banned under apartheid, has died at age 76 after a performance in Italy, ANSA news agency reported Monday.

Makeba collapsed at the concert and was taken to hospital, where she died of a heart attack overnight, it said.
Nicknamed "Mama Africa," she became one of the best-known symbols in the long and bitter struggle against her country's apartheid regime, which for decades enforced racial segregation.
South Africa revoked her citizenship in 1960 when she wanted to return home for her mother's funeral, and she then spent more than three decades in exile, living in the United States and Guinea.
Makeba, who won a Grammy award for Best Folk Recording with US singer Harry Belafonte in 1965, also saw her music outlawed in her homeland after she appeared in an anti-apartheid film.

"I kept my culture. I kept the music of my roots," she said in her biography. "Through my music I became this voice and image of Africa, and the people, without even realising."
Makeba had performed for half an hour Sunday at a concert near Naples on behalf of an Italian writer, Roberto Saviano, who has received death threats after writing an expose of the Italian mafia.

"She had been the last one to go on stage, after the performances of other singers," an AFP photographer said.
"There were calls for an encore and at that moment someone asked if there was a doctor in the house. Miriam Makeba had fainted and was lying on the floor."

She was taken to a clinic where she died of a heart attack, ANSA said.
Makeba was born in Johannesburg on March 4, 1932, the daughter of a Swazi mother and Xhosa father.
She captured international attention as a vocalist for a South African group, The Manhattan Brothers, when they toured the United States in 1959. Her citizenship was taken away the following year.
She was briefly married to trumpeter Hugh Masekela, another famous South African artist who also spent long years in exile under apartheid.

Makeba had her biggest hit in 1967 with "Pata Pata" -- Xhosa for "Touch Touch", describing a township dance -- but unwittingly had signed away all royalties on the song.

She was often short of money and could not afford to buy a coffin when her only daughter, Bondi, died aged 36 in 1985. She buried her alone, barring a handful of journalists from covering the funeral.

According to her biography, she also battled with cervical cancer and a string of unhappy relationships. It said rumours of her alcoholism were unfounded.

While she was still in enforced exile, she performed with Paul Simon in the US singer's 1987 Graceland concert in Zimbabwe, neighbouring South Africa.

She finally returned to her homeland in the 1990s after Nelson Mandela was released from prison as the apartheid system they had both fought for so long began to be dismantled.

But it took her six years to find someone in the South African recording industry to produce a record with her. She entitled it "Homeland".

Source: France 24: International News

Obama comes to Nollywood

WITH a historic victory in the polls recently of Barrack Obama to become the first black president in the United States, Nollywood producers are trying desperately to outwit themselves on who comes out with the first Obama home movie.

While the wise ones that have been following the campaign train of the American President-elect are almost through with their scripts and looking for funds, the less creative ones, having woken from their slumber, have been contacting scriptwriters to come out with any script that would showcase the now very popular Obama spirit of I can. What Trend'tainment could not ascertain are the titles of the movies which the producers are keeping a secret as that, they believe, holds the key to making sales.

It is likely that one of the movies will be released before Obama is sworn in as president next year. Trend'tainment will keep you informed.

Let us together build Nollywood up, this can replace for the nation the market of the oil industry, if the investments are right.

This is the high time that we need to further educate the public as a campaign medium on doing things the right way. I believe we in the Diaspora are in an advantage position to suggest leads to where and how Nollywood should go, if you know what I mean.

For instance, what is the professional proceedure in engaging in a film production?
Where is the place of professional contracting?
Where is the place for the payment of royalties?
What about making real African movies rather than todays' Nollywood melo dramas. Where and who do we go to for the right kind of funding for international standard productions?
Can our films realy make a presence on international frontiers, festivals and competitions?
Can our films one day get international distributions?
What about the proper sales of movie rights; What is a National right, Continental right, Global right, Theatrical rights, DVD rights, Televisionn Rights. Where are we technically?
What happens to collaborative training programmes?
What happens to state of the art equipment aquisation for our productions?

It is happening in Sereleone, South Africa and other third world countries, even though in small proportion?
Where are the investors to make these happen?

If Nigerians truely claim to own Nollywood, they should stand up to the challenges and put their money where their mouth is - the film maker is not 100% percent responsible for the poor state of Nollywood, the few who are making an impact or difference have been empowered by right funding. I think the Nigerian investors, business men, millionaires and billionaires must at this time take this as a patriotic challenge and start thinking of the funding for good movies. Out in the Western world, a good movie would cost not less than 250,000 pounds, and that is a low budget movie. Please compare this to what obtains in Nollywood, where the films in the market today are made for about 10 - 20,000 pounds at the most. So the effect is that no money to acquire the right kind of equipment, or even hire the well trained professionnals, what about spending more money to ensure detailed rehearsal by the artists.

What I am say in effect is that the true division of labour in film making must begin to be reflected in Nollywood, film makers should be allowed to do the business of film making, while business men must wake up to the challenge of funding for great film making, I still believe Africa have not started yet, but we shall start soon, and the world will be taken by storm.

It is time for all Nigerian Millionaires an billionaires to grown this industry, and stop waiting for her to be grown lean on the blood of filmmakers while waiting to take over what we have manager to build from nothing. The industry is not fully built yet, she needs every penny available from the pocket of every Nigerian available to build her up, this can replace for the nation the market of the oil industry - trust me - that is if the investments are right.

Thanks again and keep building Nollywood.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The AMP (UK Chapter) Chairman urged everyone to Support Nollywood, Build her Up, Don't put her Down!

I believe it is high time we begin to discuss with the view of finding solutions, the problems with our dear Nollywood Business.

What do I mean?

How should we conduct our film business, is the value of our films dropping or rising, are our films losing respect or gaining respect?

Are our film makers really selling their films or are our film makers being ripped off, do people really buy our films now or are they seen for little to nothing paid through the Sky channels?

Do our film makers get paid appropriately for their films shown on television?

Are we really practicing positive support for Nollywood, and not buying our Nollywood Films?

If we don't buy our Nollywood films, how can the film makers recover their money to make more better movies?
How does our attitude to Nollywood films affect the industry?

Please let's share our concerns on these topics, and getting talking may be someone somewhere will learn from what we may have to say. These and many more needs attention now, if we are to find Nollywood in existence in the future.