Directing

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…

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…

“The Beauty of Modern Entertainment is in Offering Something Fresh”: An Interview with Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe

From writer/director/producer Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe, Delivery Boy tells a bold, forthright and heartbreakingly ominous story of sizzling rage as a tool for seeking closure. Amir (played by Jamil Ibrahim) is broken after years of sexual abuse at the hands of an older Muslim scholar tasked with guidance and protection. A transfer to a camp for young Islamic scholars confirms a switch to the dark side and when he ends up on the street as a stony, knife-wielding vagrant, he kicks into actions plans to punish the man behind his pain.  During this 1-on-1 interview with Film Kaku, filmmaker Adekunle Adejuyigbe talked about arriving Lagos as a green filmmaker, how years honing his craft in TV eased the multitasking Delivery Boy demanded, the importance of trainings, festivals and global validation, the definition of African Storytelling and what he plans to do next. Filmkaku: There’s been talk about your reputation as a…

Kayode Kasum On Sugar Rush and How Mentorship Shaped Him.

It was late last year. Swivelling news on social media about a certain comedy film that had people rushing to the cinemas in droves. Sugar Rush, it was called. The poster won the first war with its sugary colours that had sweet-toothed fans running wild. Then came the cast list studded with our favourite Nollywood stars, the coy immersion into a notoriously difficult Nigerian PC, the aggression of the marketing and the elegance of the entire package. People fell off their chairs in laughter, had tears in their eyes, as they wrestled comedy in the darkness of our cinema halls. Then came the overwhelming positive reports, the interesting comments about disappearing cars, the explosions, the blonde, Yoruba-speaking villain waving off bullets like gnats and the brilliant word of mouth marketing that ensured millions were piling. Box office records were shattered in no time. And soon, it was clear for all…

Micheal AMA Psalmist wants you to stop talking and start shooting

Micheal ‘AMA Psalmist’ Akinrogunde first burst onto the scene after emerging as one of the winners of the 2017 Accelerate Filmmaker’s Project with his short film, Penance. A stunning win as the best short film at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards was quickly followed by a Film Gala award win organized by Filmhouse cinemas in collaboration with Moet and Chandon. The rest, they say, is history. Michael’s story is an example for young, aspiring filmmakers in Nigeria to look to for encouragement and inspiration . Festivals, awards, training platforms and labs are viable pathways to fame and relevance.  The young filmmaker must look to exploit opportunities as they continue to show up. Filmkaku got a chance to chat with Michael after a bit of ‘hounding’, thanks to his busy schedule. Do read the conversation: Filmkaku: Can you share how and why you got into filmmaking? Micheal AMA Psalmist: I…

How C.J. Obasi Conquered Nollywood conventions with a Zero Budget Film

C.J. Obasi has built a reputation in the film industry for his total commitment to the New Nollywood aesthetic, bound by the bold manifesto of his collective, the Surreal 16. He is also prominent writer, sharing writing credits in Living In Bondage and Lionheart respectively. With his Mami Wata project securing funding from international partners, getting representation from the global talent  CAA and most recently, getting signed up to the Netflix Original African series slate of directors, Obasi is surely one of the most exciting filmmakers out of Africa in recent times. His films include Ojuju, O Town and Hello Rain. A film festival favourite, his zero budget Zombie film “Ojuju” won the Best film award at the African International Film Festival (Afriff) and got him the Trailblazer of the Year award in March 2015, at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA). It is also regarded as one of…

Six Filmmaking Tips from Imoh Umoren

At a special BAFTA: A Life in Pictures Event, Ridley Scott told filmmakers present that they had no excuses not to go out and make a movie. He cited the availability of modern technologies as 70% of previously daunting barriers eliminated. Typical of the average Nigerian filmmaker, it is easy to assume that the context over there is different from ours by pointing out to the familiar mitigating factors, but the truth remains that there has never been a better time for the Nigerian filmmaker to make a film. Cameras of different types are available just about everywhere. Even better, the average smart phone can conveniently shoot and as well edit films. Film Kaku recently had an interview with Nigerian Filmmaker, Imoh Umoren, where his filmmaking journey was discussed. The director of Children of Mud, The Herbert Macaulay Affair and Dear Bayo certainly knows a lot about working your way…

The Artist that inspires Abba Makama

Director Abba Makama has created some of the most visually and thematically interesting films in Africa in recent times thanks in part to the art that inspires him. Dodorowsky, as he’s fondly called, is regarded as one of the freshest African voices, making a killing at major film festivals like Toronto International Film Festival(Tiff), twice now, with his films Green White Green and The Lost Okoroshi. Along with CJ Obasi and Michael Gouken of the Surreal 16 collective, his unique brand of storytelling combines elements of/from masquerades, dreamscapes, art, music, dance and more importantly, his greatest inspiration, Alejandro Jodorowksy, a Chilean-French Artist, who has worked as a screenwriter, a poet, a playwright, an essayist, a film and theater director and producer, an actor, a film editor, a comic writer, a musician and composer, a philosopher, a puppeteer, a mime, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, a draughtsman, a painter, a sculptor,…

The Herbert Macaulay Affair director discusses Storytelling. 

Films are very difficult art forms to make. Period films are an even more difficult turf to negotiate. The problems range from fund raising, researching the story and fact-checking to avoid historical inaccuracies, scouting for fitting locations, wardrobe and much more. And in a country like ours riddled with atypical structures and narratives, the problems are bound to be even more. It’s for this reason the historical period genre has been largely ignored by Nigerian filmmakers. The sour experiences of the few that have dabbled into it in the past are enough to deter filmmakers. But not Imoh Umoren, the director of The Herbert Macaulay Affair. Imoh belongs to the recent upsurge of counter-cultural Nigerian filmmakers looking to rewrite the narrative in the country by venturing and rooting themselves in new genres. A look at his filmography reveals a daring tendency to experiment. The artistic roving eventually took him to…

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