Taiwo Egunjobi

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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…

Five Filmmaking Lessons from Confusion Na Wa

Confusion Na Wa was a blast of fresh air in the Nigerian cinema experience, packing valuable lessons for filmmakers. The critically acclaimed film is some sort of landmark in the young industry, following efforts like Kunle Afọlayan’s “The Figurine”,  Chineze Anyaene’s “Ije” and Mahmoud Balogun’s “Tango With Me” in elevating the cinematic oeuvre of the Nigerian film industry. However, Confusion Na Wa stands out for its bold choice to eschew established approaches of the “New Nollywood films” which, at the time, relied on high budgets and production values, dazzling premieres and spectacle. Confusion Na Wa embraced a different aesthetic entirely. I look at five valuable lessons for filmmakers. Embrace the dark. Confusion Na Wa wasn’t finished until 2013, but the story development began in 2009, starting from a premise from Gyang’s friend that mutated into a completely new story. This story begins with a note on death and closes on the…

Michael Omonua talks Nollywood, Memories and Eavesdropping on Diner conversations

Michael Omonua’s acute interest in existential topics grounded in the Nigerian reality and the states of the human condition colour his filmography.  Loop count and Brood spotlights the concept of memory and its malleability. Yahoo boy provides an intimate look into a single day out of many tumultuous days in the lives of struggling internet fraudsters. Bleed feeds jarring insights into the illicit body parts trading network in Lagos. Rehearsal, a Berlinale 2021 selection, casts a sharp satiric gaze on religion. The Man Who Cuts Tattoos, his debut feature length effort released in 2019 , treats love, pain and sacrifice with the tattoo culture of an understudied ethnic group as rich context. With screenings all over the world, Michael Omonua’s somewhat idiosyncratic style is proof that the world is ready for African stories told in whatever style or form. Film Kaku interviewed Michael to gain extra insights into his work and…

How To Get Your Film Seen On The 2021 Festival Circuit During Covid-19

The harsh realities of the COVID pandemic have continued to pose serious threats to the independent film community. Jobs have been lost, productions have been halted and questions continue to be asked about what the future holds for the community. While we wait, the community continues to respond. Film festivals, for one, have either hold off operations until further notice or switch to virtual viewings, limited viewings and hybrid events.  This need to adapt to the times extends to Nigerian filmmakers and their films. More than ever, the world thirsts for stories from all over the world to live through the tough times and console ourselves with semblances of normalcy while we wait for an end. It’s important for Nigerian filmmakers to be up to date with the new systems run by festivals so they can share their unique stories. It is with this in mind that Rebekah Louisa…

Learn filmmaking essentials from Kunle Afolayan

Widely considered one of Africa’s most talented storytellers, Kunle Afolayan has made his mark on African cinema with some important movies. Not a director constrained by genre or subject matter, he’s told stories about the colonial era in Nigeria, quirky romances or the intersection between the supernatural and the psychological. For anyone interested in building a career in film, it’s never going to get easy to make it into the best film schools around the world, especially since most of them have crazy expensive tuition. Always open to sharing his process, Kunle Afolayan created a complete filmmaking masterclass, 10 episodes of pure education for aspiring film students and as a refresher for film professionals. All for free, on YouTube! Every episode is loaded with valuable insights from Kunle’s career, dissecting his sophomore effort “The Figurine” from Script development, location recce, Casting, hiring, funding, production, camera choice, role of…

Learning from failure in Nollywood

Everyone loves stories. They are basic to our survival as a people, regardless of culture and nationality. But eeking a career out of telling stories can be a thankless task. Most people fail; a reality that hits even harder in the chronically volatile Nigerian film industry teeming with the young and old, eager and passionate, most of whom are, sadly, broke. It is easy to fail and many stop after a few attempts at battling the tide. Nobody sets out to fail, and while that grim eventuality is nothing anybody wants to be rooted in,  the truth is we can learn from failure and actually become better versions of ourselves. The greatest people in history were failures at some point in their journeys. Different fields are rife with stories of inspiring comebacks from setbacks that we can always check out to glean some  confidence and encouragement at low moments. Nollywood…

Isioma Osaje: 7 Ways To Producing Nollywood Blockbusters

While it’s no easy task producing movies anywhere in the world, making them in Nigeria remains an especially different prospect. The myriad structural and systemic problems producers and other players in the craft have to grapple with, somehow, continues to coexist with the reality that Nollywood remains one of the largest film industries in the world. It’s indeed a testament to the durability and tenacity of Nigerian producers who, despite the odds, continue to churn out quality. One of the many fighters against the tide is Isioma Osaje, a producer who has managed the rare feat of being involved in different capacities in nearly all the highest grossing Nollywood films in the past decade.  Familiar titles include, The Set Up, Your Excellency, Up North, New Money, Castle & Castle and much more. Consistency has been said to be the ability to be dependable, durable and reliable with already acquired skills.…

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