Film Production

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…

‘Why Am I Angry’ Director Fatimah Binta Gimsay on Making Subversive films about Unhinged Women

Fatimah Binta Gimsay is a fast-rising Nigerian screenwriter notable for Africa Magic primetime telenovelas: Hush, Unbroken, Battleground, Enakhe and Riona. Alternatively, Fatimah gives a bold nod to film producing and directing. She considers this a buffer to her thriving career in filmmaking. In a chat with Filmkaku, Fatimah works us through her screenwriting journey and the experience of producing her first short film: Why am I angry? Filmkaku: You’re welcome to Filmkaku. Fatimah Binta Gimsay: Thank you for having me. FK: Your name isn’t exactly a stranger to our screens but for formality’s sake, kindly introduce yourself. FBG: My full name is Fatimah Binta Gimsay and I’m a TV writer. I write for web series and telenovelas. FK: And how did you position yourself to start writing for TV? FBG: It started by being a fan of TV. I fancied watching TV series, particularly Nollywood’s. When I was done with…

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…

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.…

Four Quick Tips on Data Science for Filmmakers: Dolapo Amusat

Dolapo Amusat is a data scientist and a self-styled hip hop connoisseur at the intersection of technology and creativity. Currently leading the popular online music community “WeTalkSound” community, he is also the creative director at WTXtra. He sat down with Filmkaku and offered a treasure trove on data science and what creatives should know:

  1. Artists must understand how to analyse and use data.
  2. Social media is a great tool for storytellers
  3. Avoid missing lurking variables
  4. Film reviews data is important

Read the full interview:

Filmkaku (FK): How did you get into data science?

Dolapo Amusat (DA): First off, I dabbled into music and entertainment before getting into data science. I run a music community called We talk sound and a creative agency called We Talk Xtra. So I started using data for music, through digital marketing. This is basically about aggregating platforms that allow you advertise to people on the internet, targeting consumers using demographics and stuff basically. That’s how I got into that. Right now, we are looking at digitalization in music. As you know, music and general media consumption has almost completely shifted from analogue to digital so we study how these changes affect consumer behaviour and try to create and sustain engagement with consumers on our content.

So I’m always asking questions like what kind of music are people listening to, where, what platforms are they using and using all these data to make informed decisions, for ourselves and for clients.

FK: How artists should approach data?

DA: Artists should realize that their careers are on the line and should do the most to understand how data works. The mindset should be ownership. Even if you can’t understand the mathematical or statistical jargon, try to get the layman idea of how to use data sets

FK: How you used data on the LOFN project?

DA: So in the creation process, while we were selecting songs for the collection, we used both the quality of the music and also some data to make the selections. For example we looked at the social media engagement of the artists. It wasn’t the ultimate factor but it helped us to decide when we were stuck on two songs. This same concept can work in casting especially for popular market films.

Competence is supreme but metrics like high social media engagement and following can help to solidify choices going forward. The selection of the day the project dropped was data driven. We were aware that web searches for love songs and related content would tick at the period we dropped it. This calculated approach to release has also been utilized in film with releases tied to holidays or events.

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,…

Fiyin Gambo on breaking into Nollywood

It’s a new decade and thousands of hopefuls are looking to push on with their efforts to break into the industry. It’s the same narrative everywhere; a select few privileged to be in the know, churning out the movies, while a teeming crowd of wannabes circle around, praying for just one chance to show the stuff they are made of. The bigger problem, however, is how to plan for an industry that’s changing every day.  Marketing approaches are taking new dimensions, storytelling models are evolving, even the language and politics of cinema, globally and locally, has been subject to change as well.  Fiyin Gambo is a relatively new name on the lips of many in the film circle and not only has he managed to break in, he has done so with quite some style. Film Kaku had a talk with Fiyin Gambo to learn how he pulled it off.…

Ema Edosio’s advice to aspiring filmmakers

Award winning director, Ema Edosio burst onto the scene in 2018 with Kasala, a vivid portrayal of Lagos and the struggles of four young men. The low budget film Kasala picked up festival laurels across the world, getting selections in over 30 film festivals and has has been translated to French, Portuguese and Spanish. While announcing the film’s recent acquisition by Netflix, Ema was kind enough to share vital filmmaking advice on a series of social media posts. Let’s examine some of them: 1. Dear filmmakers, please don’t give up, don’t compromise. You can be different and create films you believe in. Filmmaking anywhere is tough, and may seem insurmountable to most, especially in Nigeria, with the existing infrastructural and institutional problems. Mainstream business models in Nollywood have enforced genres and tropes on filmmakers hoping to make a profit at the box office or on VOD platforms. This means directors with…

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…