Taiwo Egunjobi

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A Serious Man: For Maria Cinematographer David Wyte shares his story

Released in late 2020, For Maria: Ebun Pataki was met with critical acclaim from all over the world. Special praise was reserved for the handling of its adult themes and the acting performances of lead actors, Gabriel Afolayan and Meg Otanwa. Director Damilola Orimogunje admitted to doubts about how his debut effort would be received, especially back home. This was a story that was outside mainstream Nollywood and markedly different from even the supposed arthouse entries. It was not a comedy, not a thriller, or anything suited to the confines of any generic box. This was a story about regular Nigerians, told by artists with something to say, presented with uncommon honesty, and with visual ideas that were foreign to our garish preferences. A lot of these highly acclaimed visual ideas can be traced to David Wyte, a cinematographer with a serious relationship with the craft. David is a quiet…

An Invitation to the Fourth Wave of Nigerian Cinema

Since its inception, Nollywood’s image has been embodied by splashy melodrama and vibrant exploitation flicks. But a closer look into the Nollywood expansion into global relevance reveals a new wave on the horizon, one brimming with new possibilities as it questions the choices of old. Below, I expand on the examination of a similarly titled thread I shared on Twitter: The 70s-80s are regarded as the Golden Era of Nigerian Filmmaking and for good reason too. We had about 300 theatres, popular literature adaptations, technical excellence, and high story craft. We had films made by masters like Oladele, Adu, Ogunde, Olaiya, Balogun, Ugbomah, Afolayan, and so on. Notably, these masters were, by training, theatre practitioners and as such, their films retained a certain air of theatricality in performances and were generally unlike the art-house film sensibilities already emergent in francophone African cinema (Touki Bouki, Mandabi, Yeelen). Sadly, most of the…

Uche Chika Elumelu: the Process of an Actress

My first experience with Uche’s craft was in the written word. She’d worked on a lengthy profile of a fellow actor and I remember feeling, as I read, that I was touring the mind of a clear thinker. I can only imagine the quality of conversations that take place in her head as she becomes different people across varied platforms. It’s clear Uche is not simply looking to earn her pay and move on to the next set.  Every character she adorns is an interrogation with humanity.  Uche’s rise isn’t a “grass to grace” story. It’s the inevitability of an excellent mind given to the pursuit of more. Be it on stage, screen, or the closed circuit of a WhatsApp group, Uche’s genius, elocution, and wit shine through. Filmkaku had a chat with her about her craft and more. The conversation has been edited for publication purposes. Filmkaku: What inspired…

Chidinma Igbokweuche Talks Nollydata and the Need To Tell The Nollywood Story

In the year 1990, English film fan and computer programmer, Col Needham, started compiling a list of actresses with nice eyes. Together with friends, they later expanded the list to include actors and directors. Thirty years later, what started as a series of leisurely compiled lists is now the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the largest database of movies and entertainment-related information online. Chidinma Igbokweuche and cofounder, Ibrahim Suleiman, have recently launched something similar— Nollydata, a one-stop source for everything Nollywood. The announcement was made weeks ago on social media and it was greeted with a lot of acceptance. It feels like a timely arrival, like something the industry has needed for so long but hasn’t been able to articulate clearly till now. There have been renewed attempts to document Nollywood in recent times. Film sites and blogs are replete with reviews, articles, and essays, all trying to cover an industry…

Otana Writer/Director Wingonia Ikpi on Scares, Themes and Blending Agendas in the Horror Genre

Fear is the ultimate fuel for the horror genre. It, perhaps, explains why the genre has been used by filmmakers over the years to commentate on the ills of society. It’s no different with Otana, Wingonia Ikpi’s ambitiously directed short film. It tells the story of Peace, a young lady suffering intense sexual trauma, who bonds with a demon from hell over the ambiguities of pain and vengeance. The roughly 25 minutes short tells the story of sexual assault and its attendant traumas with the graphicness that ensures the timely message is branded into the psyche of audiences. Nollywood has been accused of staleness by many outsiders but Wingonia’s provocative sensibilities could be the shake-up the industry desperately needs in times like this. The FilmKaku team had a quick chat with the filmmaker about Otana, her filmic philosophy, influences, and plans for the future. The transcript of the conversation was…

Tunde Olaoye’s Advice To Young Filmmakers Looking to Break In.

A lot has been said about the difficulty of breaking into the Nigerian Film Industry.  Professionals at the gates of entry are always regaling hopefuls with tales of how tough it can get. The popular idea is that it’s a long game and nothing is guaranteed. Go in, have alternatives, or be ready to bail when it gets too hard. The expectation would be that the uncertain reality of the industry should discourage interest and limit the profession to the few with means to persist, but the very opposite continues to happen. Year after year, young hopefuls continue to flood the industry, honing dreams of making it big. Are the grim stories true? Is it tough for the Nigerian filmmaker? Yes, to both. Hopefuls don’t have to climb the ladder for too long before doubts about the future start to form. The industry successes are always there to provide inspiration,…

How Husbandry Director Ikem Okeke made his Debut Short Film.

Short films are proven avenues for young filmmakers to experiment and figure out their voice and style. The financial and logistical hindrances commonly associated with the form are intended to bring out the genius in filmmakers, and prepare them for the more regimented culture that comes with bigger projects and investor involvement in future. For Ikem Okeke, Husbandry, his debut short film, was his first dance as a filmmaker. It allowed him to play with all he’d learnt and more. Filmkaku had a chat with the young filmmaker. Filmkaku: To start off, could you introduce us to your background and your work? Ikem Okeke: I was born and raised in Nigeria, but I moved to New Jersey for University. I grew up watching big Hollywood superhero/fantasy movies and the types my mother liked — Classic Nollywood movies and American thrillers. My true love for film came when I was about…

Diji Aderogba and the Beauties of Collaboration

Scooping the NollywoodWeek Prix Du Public (Audience award) at the recently concluded Nollywood festival in Paris, About a Boy is shaping up to be one of the surprises of the year. FilmKaku caught up with director of the moment Diji Aderogba to talk about his big influences and next steps. FilmKaku: Congratulations on your win at Nollywood Week Film Festival for About a boy. Diji Aderogba: Thank you. FK: For the benefit of those who haven’t seen the film yet, could you go in a bit into why you wanted to tell this story? DA: The film is basically about mental health. Particularly, childhood mental health issues that linger till adulthood. The story serves as an awareness campaign on the aforementioned issues. It centers on a writer who believes he can escape his situation by indulging in distractions. The film attempts to mirror the resultant struggle. FK: Would you say…

Chukwu Martin, the Artist with many faces

Martin Chukwu calls himself a masquerade. Resident beneath all the layers is a form flexible enough to satisfy diverse artistic needs. There are acting credits, published essays, film reviews, short film directions and an incoming feature. For many, this is confusion and chaos, the proverbial curse of one skilled at many trades. For Martin, it’s different. It’s raw talent, expressed in ways that appear infinite. Film Kaku had a chat with the artist. The conversation has been transcribed and edited for publication.  Film Kaku: You’re an actor, a writer and a film director. You’re also the founder of a very influential film club. Was there a specific time in your life that was most crucial to shaping your love of cinema? Martin Chukwu: My love for cinema can be traced to a lineup of images from my past. Seeing films in Brother Taye’s TV repair shop with the other kids…

The Watchlist: Michael Omonua’s favourite films

Michael Omonua is a Nigerian film director and writer. He received his BA in Film Production at the University College of the Creative Arts, in Farnham, Surrey, and has since gone on to write and direct short films in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria. He premiered his debut feature film, The Man Who Cuts Tattoos, at the London Film Festival to acclaim from critics globally. His most recent offering, Rehearsal, a biting satiric short film inspired by the theatricality of church sermons, featured in the Berlinale Shorts Competition 2021. The critically acclaimed director walks us through the films that have exposed him to the beauty of cinema. Flirt  A 1995 coming of age drama film written and directed by Hal Hartley. It tells the story of a lover who has to choose whether to commit to a partner who is returning home. This situation is played out in different…

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