– Film-makers share thoughts on the stand-out movies of the year
2015 was an exciting year for Nigeria’s motion picture industry, Nollywood as movie lovers were treated to some quality productions.
From Genevieve Nnaji’s Road to Yesterday, Fifty, to Taxi Driver, Falling and the four-man cast The visit – the audience were wowed!
But which movies stood out in the year and what should the audience expect in 2016, ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some film-makers, and insiders in the industry.
Lawrence Onuzulike, Producer
“The movies I felt stood out last year are Lancelot Imasuen’s Invasion 1897. I chose this movie because it is not an easy task to shoot a movie about history. You can imagine Nigeria in 1897 – the streets, the houses, the dressing – making the movie involves building a whole new nation to look like back in the days. That takes a lot of money, time and creativity to achieve.
Dry by Stephanie Linus. Without saying much, Stephanie Linus is arguably one of the most talented film-makers in Africa. She hardly makes movies that don’t teach important messages. She’s unique.
“And my own movie, Little Ryan. It’s one of the movies that made waves last year and picked up an award. The movie campaigns against bullying and discrimination of children with disabilities.”
On what to expect in 2016, he added:
“The film industry is improving every year. If 2015 saw mega movies like Dry, Invasion 1897 and Little Ryan, 2016 will bring even bigger movies and Nollywood will break more grounds.”
Chico Ejiro, Producer
The veteran producer was terse and matter-of-factly in his response. For him, not many movies stood out in 2015, but Emem Isong’s Champagne which starred Alex Ekubo and his Open marriage starring Monalisa Chinda were among the best.
“Last year, the movies that I think stood out were Lancelot Imasuen’s Invasion 1897. Great story and movie about how the British invaded and conquered the Benin kingdom. It’s not easy shooting epic films. I also think Emem Isong’s Champagne which featured Alex Ekubo and my own movie, Open marriage stood out. The stories were outstanding and picture was beautiful.”
The filmmaker added that Nollywood audience should keep their fingers crossed and expect even bigger and better productions this year. He also let us in on his plans for the year.
“In 2016, the audience should expect great movies. We’re all working hard, a lot of us are currently filming. Personally, I’m working with Segun Arinze on a production titled Silent Night. This year, we should see Steve Gukas’ 93 days, the movie on Ebola; that’s one movie you should look forward to. This year also, we should see the star-studded Nollywood scandal, which sees the insiders and players tell the Nollywood story. It stars Zack Orji, Emeka Enyiocha, Monalisa Chinda, Fred Amata, Segun Arinze. AY is also shooting A Trip to Jamaica, so you should expect great work.”
Emeka Ossai – Producer, Actor
His words, “Obi Emelonye’s Oxford Gardens stood out for me. It has all what you yearn for in a movie. The picture was quality, the story and the execution, everything.
“Another movie I felt stood out was David Oriahi’s Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo). A simple comedy-laced story. It shows that you can tell a simple story well and it’ll stand out.
“Film making is about using tools to tell good stories; not necessarily concentrating on the tools, but how you’re able to deploy them to tell the story”
The Delta state native also spoke on what 2016 holds for Nollywood, “I’ve always said that Nollywood is a work-in-progress, but we should strive to be better at our game, employing tools to tell stories better. Let’s focus on our immediate market, which is Nigeria and Africa, and not the European market. If you try to impress Europeans and not focus on the immediate market, there’ll be a disconnect and you’ll be in limbo.”