Film Production

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,…

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…

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.