Written by Fridous, Olamide and Ikeade.
Day two of the NollywoodWeek Festival featured two masterclasses with experts on site to teach and answer questions concerning screenwriting and running a cinema during a pandemic; watch parties for 2019 movie, The Herbert Macaulay Affair; About a Boy (world premiere); Ugandan thriller Girl in the Yellow Jumper (world premiere); and ended with Nollywood’s star-studded The New Normal.
Masterclass: Exploitation Cinématographique et Crise Pandémique (Cinematographic Exploitation and Pandemic Crisis)
CanalOlympia is a network of cinéma theaters in 12 african countries, boasting 18 theaters per site widely spread across Africa and they also intend to help in movie production. During the pandemic, theaters were closed depending on the regulations placed by each country. The unforeseen pandemic shed a new light on how CanalOlympia theaters should be run and they came up with the idea to show movies that people love or have never seen before. The guest speaker for the session, Séraphine Angoula (manager for Vivendi Africa / CanalOlympia) further stressed that “it’s a time to rethink the relation with the customers and communication, and research more to bring to them an unexpected cinema”. Also, the evolution of the public is a hard push to encourage the cinema team to embark on new projects and also an avenue for unknown movie producers to tell their stories in a different manner. The aftermath of the pandemic has its positives because it will allow the film industry to improve and do more research to serve the people better.
Masterclass: Level up your Screenwriting Skills
The session was anchored by Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe and the guest speaker was Evan Marx (The Write Project Film Fund). He addressed the audience on common mistakes screenwriters make when developing scripts and offered tips to avoid these snags. According to Evan Marx, a writer must write what he’s familiar with or close to it and there is a need for proper character development. One of the most crucial mistakes writers make is their inability to grab viewers’ attention within the first fifteen minutes. Evan further emphasized that writers must present “a dramatic score that kinda pulls you in or something dramatic happens followed by an emotional moment that connects you with the audience”. In screenwriting, the speaker noted that dialogue must serve a purpose and authenticity is key. Also, networking is the pathway script writers can use to find the right people. He stressed the necessity to run ideas by people one could trust. Lastly, the writer must serve the story, write something to hurl the audience in and a hero’s journey is really important. A story doesn’t necessarily need an antagonist to be meaningful e.g. Nomadland.
WATCH PARTY: ‘The Herbert Macaulay Affair’ + Q&A
The Herbert Macaulay Affair was directed by Imoh Umoren and produced by Rucksack Production. The movie follows the story of Herbert and his impact on Nigeria’s rise against the British colonial masters. It is an historical movie that captures the role young Herbert played in the uprise of Nigeria from the jaw of the British. The visuals captured in the movie are commendable, and serves as a proof of a good eye for detail in the cinematography department.
WKMUpAsks: The Herbert Macaulay Affair was initially released in 2019. Is there a reason why it’s back on the festival run?
Answer: Due to the pandemic- many films weren’t able to complete festival runs plus our (NollywoodWeek) festival had to cancel the 2020 edition (which normally accepts films from 2019). So we are showing 2019 up until 2021 (world premieres) in this edition.
WATCH PARTY: ‘About a Boy ‘+ Q&A
The second day of the festival saw the world premiere of the feature-length film, About a Boy, a 90-minute long film directed by Diji Aderogba and written by Adio Solanke. Following the movie was a Q&A session anchored by Muyiwa Awojide, creative director at Soda & Popcorn.
About a Boy follows the story of a writer who has just moved to Lagos to concentrate on writing a book after he won a publishing deal from a creative writing contest. While in Lagos, he finds he is unable to write. During his creative struggles, he meets a woman who inspires him to write and whom he declares to be his muse. Unknown to him, she sees him as a means to an end as well. The film stars Chimezie Imo (Nimbe), Olumide Oworu (D.O.D) and producer debutant, Funmilayo Mustapha.
The Q&A which followed covered the production from a creative, artistic angle down to its funding. The crew is an assemblage of young passionate artists who, evidence shows, have a lot of potential ahead of them.
WKMUpAsks: How early into development did they know that Dirty Dancing would play a pivotal role in the story?
Answer: The writer, Adio Solanke, explained that it has always been with him since the beginning of the writing process due to his love for 2011 movie, Crazy, Stupid, Love where Dirty Dancing was referenced and Dirty Dancing is a huge pop culture symbol on its own.
EVENT: Monologue Slam
Shortly after the screening of the movie and the Q&A, a monologue slam, anchored by Nollywood actress, Lala Akindoju (The CEO), was held. A motley of talents were on display. Eventually, Lala Akindoju picked three winning actors in no particular order: Angela, Adeniran, and Etah.
WATCH PARTY: ‘The Girl in the Yellow Jumper’ + Q&A
The Girl in the Yellow Jumper was a fun watch, coming in exactly at the moment when an energy boost was needed to carry on during the day. The film is an intriguing and hilarious Ugandan piece directed and written by Loukman Ali, and produced by Morocco Omari (Empire) who delivers hilarious ‘intermission’ social lessons. A man running from a situation finds himself running back to it, but a bigger villain emerges and changes everything.
Although it starts slow, by the time it all comes together you are energized and interested in a longer story. The thriller was well acted until the final scene, including plot twists that most viewers will see coming, while remaining unpredictable at the same time. The director, Loukman Ali, speaking at the world premiere, said that it is based on true stories taken from daily Ugandan life.
WATCH PARTY: ‘The New Normal’ + Q&A
The second day ended with a Nollywood film featuring some of the biggest Nollywood stars in an almost Nollywood-like manner. Mercy Johnson Okojie, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Kehinde Bankole, Bimbo Akintola, Sani Muazu, Femi Jacobs, Mofe Duncan, and some others, play 40+ characters whose lives intersect as friendships and relationships are put to test. Directed by Teniola Olatoni Ojigbede and written by Tunde Babalola (La Femme Anjola), the Lagos-set film touches a range of adulthood themes such as marriage, trust, infidelity, infertility, addiction, and even, LGBTQ topic— although in a crass manner. These themes coming together make it a celebration of the good and bad of adulthood which we all have to face, whether we look forward to it or not. Unfortunately, a Q&A did not follow the screening.
Check back here tomorrow for a report of day three.
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