Written by Fridous, Olamide and Ikeade.
SHORT FILM BUNDLE: #ItsComplicated
The final day of the festival eased out with the screening of a short film bundle tagged #ItsComplicated. The bundle had impressive entries that ranged from Blind Date to Heaven Baby. Following closely after the bundle was the feature film The Sessions, an account on familial trauma and abuse and the long term effect on the victims. Shortly after the screening, a Q&A session was held.
The short film bundle had the following entries:
Blind Date: In this Ugandan action flick written and directed by Loukman Ali, Jeff (Michael Wawuyo Jr.) Spearheads the kidnapping of a young woman, facilitates her escape, and still collects her ransom in a dark twist that pays homage to Liam Neeson’s Taken.
Train Wreck: Directed by Roberta Orioma and written by Tamara Sindio-Apaun. This is the story of Rashida (Tamara Sindio-Apaun), who has found out she has been infected by the deadly HIV. She confronts her promiscuous husband (Kunle Remi) as the story culminates into an emotional arc.
Heaven Baby: A young couple faces conflict as the wife (Oreka Godis) continuously impedes birthing a child for the union to progress her career. It is directed by Damilola E. Orimogunje and written by Tiencepay Lawal.
Something Special: On their fifth year ‘friendiversary’, Benjamin (Chibuikem Chris) asks Abigail (Favour Etim) to be more than friends. But she turns him down for a dark reason. Something Special was directed by Precious Asuai and written by Adekunle Bajo and Precious Asuai.
WATCH PARTY + Q&A: ‘The Sessions’ (World Premiere)
The feature length film, The Session, produced and directed by Judith Audu and written by Uyoyou Adia, follows a couple battling marital problems mostly due to repressed familial trauma suffered by the wife, Onome (Omowunmi Dada). The entirety of the movie is about the therapy sessions that change their marriage for good. Meanwhile, the therapist herself has a dark secret that she is keeping from them.
Following the movie was a Q&A session that saw the producer and director, Judith Audu, the screenwriter, Uyoyou Adia, and Omowunmi Dada answer various questions. Chief amongst the questions was the writing process, Omowunmi Dada’s venture into acting and how she fell into this role. Omowunmi Dada was ecstatic throughout the affair, but streaming issues would affect the quality of the session.
WATCH PARTY: ‘Ponzi‘ + Q&A
Ponzi premiered in Nigeria some months back. It stars Jide Kosoko, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Timini Egbuson, Broda Shaggi, Mr. Macaroni, Tope Tedela, and Mawuli Gavor. Son of the soil, Robert, returns home from the United States, notices the suffering around him and decides to provide a solution for these people. But this solution doesn’t come without its complications. It is a ponzi scheme, which they all readily accept due to their situation. All characters have their motivation for investing in the scheme, which makes it sadder, knowing how easily the trust of such people can be won. At the end of the day, it mirrors the Nigerian society severely. At the same time, it also speaks of the greed in our society, because these people are often ready to live on such quick money-making schemes for life, if possible. But then, such can’t be sustained for long. For this reason, the defrauded decide to recoup their investment by robbing their wrongdoer. This comedy film was directed by Kayode Kasum, who said that it was developed and shot in 29 days— his shortest time span to deliver a movie. He also hopes to develop a musical in future, and Ponzi (which boasted a mid-movie musical number) served as a test for this idea, which might be a passion project for him due to his love for Sister’s Act 2.
NETWORKING HUB: Arthouse Cinema and how to market it to a Nigerian audience
With Eyimofe’s recent struggles in the Nigerian market, and the commercial release of For Maria Ebun Pataki nearing (no release date attached), the folks over at Sodas ‘N’ Popcorn organised a discussion session on “Arthouse Cinema and how to market it to a Nigerian audience. In the panel, we had Goga Clay who also had a movie screened at the festival, The List; and an art critic in the US. They took the place of Chuko Esiri (Eyimofe) and Damilola E Orimogunje (For Maria Ebun Pataki), who couldn’t make the virtual session. The session took an interesting turn when arts criticism was offered as a remedy for the lack of success for arthouse films. One of the festival organisers noted that, “criticism in Nigeria is often taken as a don’t mess with my money kind of thing”. On that note, we went deeper into the relevance of critics in the industry. Before we all departed for the next screening, we could all come to the conclusion that critics are needed for the next era that will most likely introduce an influx of arthouse films which might not appeal to the general audience.
WATCH PARTY: ‘For Maria’ + Q&A
For Maria Ebun Pataki was directed by Damilola E. Orimogunje who co-wrote the script with Tunray Femi. It also involves some notable Nollywood actors like Gabriel Afolayan and Tina Mba. The movie follows the story of a young lady, Derin (Meg Otanwa), and the series of events that follow her childbirth. She goes through postpartum depression during which she even hates the sight of her own child, becoming a mother who realizes she didn’t want a kid right after she had one. The acting in the movie is commendable and everything looked so real. For Maria Ebun Pataki was shot in 9 days in Lagos and post production lasted almost one year. The movie will surely trigger discussion about the pain and possible depression women undergo post childbirth and how much attention should be given to the problem. The director is currently working on his next project, a movie titled The Stone Drew Ripples. It is a film about a family trying to save and rescue their child suffering from sickle cell which will reunite him with Meg Otanwa, and is still in the casting phase for other roles, with production starting next month.
WATCH PARTY: ‘One Lagos Night’ + Q&A
To end the 8th edition of the festival, we were treated to another world premiere which interestingly arrives on Netflix later this month. Two men who are down on their luck and fed up with their situation, decide to organise an armed robbery which at the time of planning is clearly a botched attempt due to their naivety and desperation. Despite laying their hands on a gun, they still end up as amateurs who could only pray that their target won’t own a ‘big’ dog. Their ignorance and cluelessness is quite hilarious, but then the desperation that has led them on this road reminds you of Nigeria’s crippled state and how it has frustrated some people into such acts. However, things do not go as planned. At the target location, they meet another group of robbers, who are more experienced. The rest of the movie focuses on the hilarious drama that ensues on this Lagos night as we watch a cat and mouse game come to life in a mansion big enough to accommodate everyone. It was directed by Ekene Mekwunye (Light in the Dark) and stars Frank Donga, Ikponmwosa Gold (Oga Bolaji), Ogbolor, Ali Nuhu, Eniola Badmus, and newcomer, Genoveva Umeh. According to the director, shooting lasted one week after a 4-5month pre-production period.
With today’s report, we have come to the end of this amazing 4-day festival where we got to see a number of movies from all over the world, most especially, from other African countries who boast styles that have still got us talking within our group.
We can’t wait for all of these movies to be released commercially and then, we will publish our detailed reviews! Au revoir!