Nigeria’s Nollywood: most prolific movie machine

Lifestyle / May 19, 2014

Fashion events are not new the city of Lagos. However, it took a different turn with the introduction the maiden edition of the Lagos Bridal Fashion Week –the very first of its kind in the commercial center. The event which held between May 4th to May 6th, took place at Balmoral convention centre at the Federal place Hotel, Lagos.

Before its commencement, the press, industry experts and invited guests were treated to a cocktail evening at the Temple Muse, Victoria Island. There, the organizers of the event, Call Her Classics Agency, headed by Ayomide spoke on the purpose of the Lagos Fashion Bridal Week.
In a statement, she said:
“We are extremely excited to bring to you Lagos Bridal Fashion Week, Nigeria’s First Bridal Fashion Week which puts us on the map amongst other renowned Bridal Fashion Weeks in the world including London, Barcelona and New York. We can all agree that there is a growing demand and patronage for home grown wedding/bridal brands. We have decided to use this opportunity to support the local businesses by offering them exposure to brides not only in Nigeria but around Africa. We are also giving other African designers access to a new market – Nigerian brides”

Thereafter, the Lagos Bridal Fashion Week official kicked off officially on May 4th and ended on May 6th. Day one started on a slow note but it gathered momentum as it progressed. Asides the runway shows, there were other attractions ranging from the master classes with industry experts as guest speakers, the bridal consultation rooms, the exhibitions, the bridal boutique, LBFW photo booth, the food arena and more.
Prominent dignitaries present at the event included Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, senior special assistant on foreign affairs and diaspora, Abike Dabiri, media personality turned politician, Dayo Adeneye amongst others.

Notable speakers at this year master classes included: Lavish Bridal, Ink Eze of, who spoke on ‘Breaking into the fashion industry: things to consider before going in the fashion business; Mai Ataifo spoke on ‘Wedding Fashion Business” all in day one of the event.
And then, day two had Alara brand speak on ‘The ultimate luxury wedding’, Virgos lounge spoke on ‘Fashion Retail: growing your brand internationally’, Bimpe Onakoya took the guests on ‘Growing your makeup brand’ and Brides by Nona spoke on ‘Financial sustainability in the fashion industry’.

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While movie lovers are yet to get over the The Wedding Party 1, over the weekend, the grand premiere of one of the most anticipated movies of the year – The Wedding Party 2 took place. The movie which is sequel to The Wedding party 1, became more popular when the lead characters, Nigerian singer, Banky W and Nollywood actress, Adesua Etomi, who got married in the movie, later got married in real life.

While emphasis was on Dozie (Banky W) and Dunni(Adesua Etomi) in part one, the sequel shifted attention to Deedee (Daniella Down) finding her Nigerian prince-charming. Deedee and Nonso(Enyinna Nwigwe) met at Dunni and Dozie’s wedding which led to a 7-month-old relationship that continued in part two. The Wedding Party 2 comes with new twists. This time around, Deedee became love struck and too surprised, only to conclude that Nonso proposed to her because actually, the ring was not meant for her. It turned out that there was going to be bi-racial marriage between the Onwuka’s and the Winston’s. The announcement of their wedding plans came as a shock Chief Onwuka(RMD), Nonso’s father and even his mother, Lady Obianuju (Ireti Doyle), who at some point, doubted her son’s decision and state of mind.

However, the intending couple were able to win over their parents but Nonso’s aunt, Adaku(Patience Ozokwor) proved to be a hard nut to crack, given that she was more a traditional woman that held on to her cultural beliefs. According to her, the Onwuka lineage would be robbed off its glory after it accepts a white woman to their family. Amidst the drama that ensued between both families, lover boy Nonso insists on getting married to his belle, Deedee. His beau, Deedee also had own fair share of challenges, she had to win her father who boasted of his royal lineage and was against her marrying a non-royal Nigerian man. However, both families are left with no other option but to come to terms with great children’s decision to get married. The traditional wedding is done in Nigeria and involves the Winston family flying down. Things turn sour when tradition is broken. This happened to be the perfect opportunity for Adaku to voice her grievances. It turned out that the traditional wedding which started on a happy note turned out to be a flop with both families backing out.

However, the white wedding was expected to be better. It turned out it was going to be a destination wedding in the city of Dubai. Everyone gets their travelling bags and heads to Dubai for what is going to be the most dramatic wedding party we have ever witnessed. The Wedding Party 2 has a storyline which is sure to leave viewers reeling with laughter particularly with stellar appearance of comedians like Seyi Law, Chigul, Elenu amongst others. Fans would be thrilled as they see the consequences of bi-racial marriages as they catch up with their favourite movie stars. The Wedding Party 2 would officially hit cinemas as from 15th December, 2017 and is expected to be sold out just like part one. Would there be The Wedding party 3? Only time would tell.

Photo credit : EbonyLifeTV

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By Chuck Seegert, Ph.D.

Wearable technology has enjoyed its rise to prominence in the fitness space with heart rate monitors and smart watches.
This industry, however, is poised to move into the multi-billion dollar a year stratosphere with a significantly extended

Seeing a runner or cyclist training is a common sight, seeing them check their heart rate status using a wrist watch style
monitor is becoming even more common. While it is a straightforward and successful application of wearable technology, it
will soon be joined by a number of others that are more focused on the concerns of modern living.

Google Glass

While this platform technology has application in the fitness space it is also capable of much more. The device displays an640px-A_Google_Glass_wearer
overlay to the user’s visual field augmenting what the user sees. It can be particularly useful for navigating in a city
environment by overlaying a map similar to google maps in the display. An onboard microphone system facilitates voice
activated searches of the Google database results visually displayed. Let’s not forget hands free video and photo
capability that captures what the user is looking at.

Google Glass_2A future for this technology was recently revealed by Augmenta Ltd, a Finland based company whose mission is to create a
new gesture vocabulary to allow the glass visual interface to be controlled by motions a user programs. Augmenta’s
technology will allow the user to control other devices, for example a stereo, by projecting images like slider bars, which
in turn can be used to change its volume.



CuffLincs and Cuff Jewelry

To get away from the tech-look of many wearable technologies, stylish designs from a company called Cuff have arrived onCuff
the scene. While this designer product line is capable of fitness tracking, it can also be used to track a child, or
teenager who has stayed out too late, or broadcast your whereabouts, which may literally be a life saver in an emergency
situation. The jewelry line comes with options that can tastefully blend with any ensemble.

Disney’s MyMagic+

disney's My magicA glimpse of the future of wearable tech is seen in Disney’s MyMagic+ ticketing system, composed of the MagicBand. This
wrist based band acts as a guest’s hotel key, theme park ticket, payment method for concessions (tied electronically to the
guests credit card). Reminiscent of the Cuff technology, the MagicBand is also trackable within the confines of the park
allowing the location of any patron, or child that may get lost.

The Future of Wearable Tech

Wearable tech is in its infancy and as it grows to maturity it is being examined for other uses. One in particular holds
the greatest promise toward propelling this technology space into a multi-billion dollar industry, though the benefit to
users may be a two edged sword. In a recent press release from Digital Journal, a substantive marketing study revealed that
wearable tech may be used for advertising market research. Devices that can detect behaviors, of the users including
movements, vital signs may be the next frontier.

For example if you experience something exciting that increases your heart rate, while your skin breaks out in a light
sweat, this can be sensed by some wearable tech that allows a marketer to determine if what he was selling is a success.
Improvements to products could be planned based on the customer’s physiologic reactions. Is this an overly personal glimpse
into a customer’s physiology, with the potential for abuse? It remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting question to
think about as things move forward for Wearable tech.

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After much delay and international condemnation of its supposed ban, the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has finally approved Half of a Yellow Sun to be shown in cinemas across Nigeria.

The movie which is an adaptation of the book with the same title written by Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is one of the nation’s most anticipated movies of the year. The approval was announced by the Board’s Corporate Affairs representative, Caesar Kagho.

The board announced that the movie is suitable for viewing by viewers age 18 and above; it however didn’t give a date that the film will eventually be released now that it’s been approved for release.

The movie was directed by Biyi Bandele and tells a love story that occurred during Nigeria’s Biafran war. It was previously scheduled to open in Nigeria on Friday, April 25, but that didn’t happen, as its release date was postponed, and has since been delayed, due to what the director described as “delays in getting certification from Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board.”

Interested readers can watch the official trailer via this link

The board said they delayed the release of the film because “it might incite violence in the country” given its subject matter – specifically, a scene that details a massacre at a northern Nigerian airport – in light of current political turmoil within the country.

It is therefore expected that the director might have deleted the controversial scene subsequently resulting in its approval for screening and release although it is already on home video in USA and United Kingdom.

Chimamanda told New Yorker: “The censors’ action is a knee-jerk political response, yet there is a sense in which it is not entirely unreasonable. Nigeria is on edge, with upcoming elections that will be fiercely contested, religion and ethnicity increasingly politicized, and Boko Haram committing mass murders and abductions. In a political culture already averse to openness, this might seem a particularly appropriate time for censorship. But we cannot hide from our history. Many of Nigeria’s present problems are, arguably, consequences of an ahistorical culture. As a child, I sometimes found rusted bullets in our garden, reminders of how recent the war had been. My parents are still unable to talk in detail about certain war experiences. The past is present, and we are better off acknowledging it and, hopefully, learning from it.”

The director also told CNN: “Since the Toronto premiere those many months ago, I’ve seen “Half of a Yellow Sun” at other film festivals in all corners of the globe. And Nigerians being the ubiquitous people that we are have been present in the audiences — quite often in great numbers — at each of these festivals. I am yet to meet a single Nigerian who has seen the film who came out of the cinema thinking that they had just seen a film that would incite anyone to violence. If anything, more than once, I’ve been accosted by cinema-goers — some Nigerian, but really, people of all races — who have been profoundly moved by the experience of watching the film. The refrain I’ve heard from them is, war is nasty, isn’t it.”

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Prof. Sandeep Marwah, director of Asian Academy of Film and TV (AAFT), has been installed as the first international patron of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). The installation was conducted by Prince Ifeanyi Dike founder & Chairman of the Board of AGN.

Marwah was nominated by Nollywood actress and President of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria, Ibinabo Fiberesima.

“We take this honor to nominate Sandeep Marwah Five times World record holder in media as the International Patron to our organization,” she said.

Speaking at the ceremony held in his office, Sandeep Marwah said he was glad to be associated with the Nigerian film industry and the AGN.

He said: “I am proud to be associated with Actors Guild of Nigeria as International Patron. I will put my best to help the members of the organization.”

Marwah inaugurated the film city in Noida IndiaMarwah studio and has trained over ten thousand media professionals from 90 countries of the world. The facility has also produced 1,800 short films, associated with 2,500 TV programmes along with feature films.

It has been ranked among top 10 best film school by Cine premiere Hollywood, and has won 150 national and international awards for media education.

In 2012, Marwah inaugurated theActors guild of Nigeria Asian chapter India. His studio also trained about 60 Niger Delta ex-militants and had hosted Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola last year, and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state.

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The first thing you notice about How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a lot more detail in the characters as well as in the more expansive environments, which reflect a real world sensibility and the beauty of Norway. And a lot of credit goes to the new Premo software package, which empowered the artists to go further creatively than ever before at DreamWorks.

“The new Premo software gave us a new baseline to start talking about design in a different way,” explains returning animation supervisor Simon Otto. “Simple things made a huge impact on the film. Suddenly we knew we could be much more exuberant with the character designs, not only in terms of facial detail but also, particularly, in [Hiccup’s] outfit. With a single image we could make a statement that describes the progress of the character over the five years. He’s fine-tuned his flight pattern with Toothless and his peg leg. And when he takes his helmet off and you see him for the first time, the level of detail is striking. We could work on it live in our machines as opposed to the first movie where it was down res’d. There’s a tactile quality to it all.

“We rebuilt our system from scratch. Five years ago, the engineers discussed interactive possibilities on the horizon with the coming of parallel processing and cloud computing (in collaboration with Intel and HP). What if you could work interactively with the characters in real-time and are never interrupted by computing? And that’s what they’ve achieved. And we did weeks of design sessions with key animators and a developer. The key thing was we were all coming from different areas of animation: stop-motion, computer, hand-drawn. And we wanted to have what 2D animators have where your only limitation is your drawing skills. The result of that is you plunge into your work and completely forget about the process. It’s like a combination of hand-drawn, stop-motion, and CG: you touch the characters with your fingers, you’re looking at basically a final version of the movie, yet it’s infinitely editable.”

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For the first CG Godzilla, director Gareth Edwards wanted a more believable and empathetic creature, so MPC was given the animation task, under the VFX supervision of Oscar winner Guillaume Rocheron (Life of Pi).

Translating Godzilla from concept artwork to a photo-real living creature took MPC’s artists seven months, working up each part of his body, from the underlying bones, fat and muscle structure to the thickness and texture of his scales. With the close-up nature of the camera work and the sheer scale of the asset, a tremendous amount of detail had to be painted and sculpted.

With respect for Toho’s original “man in a suit” version, Godzilla was animated as a fluid living and breathing creature with the addition of humanistic elements to capture his attitude and personality. MPC’s artists used a mixture of body language and carefully designed facial expressions, which allowed them to translate emotions and expressions without breaking the believability of the creature. MPC’s animation team utilized a variety of references, including the movement of bears and reptiles, as a basis for the keyframe animation that gave Godzilla movement.

The way Edwards plays the man vs. nature theme is like a thriller, teasing shots early on and building suspense before the full reveal and not overplaying the spectacle.

“We found that it was always efficient graphically to show the spikes on his spine,” Rocheron explains. “And when Godzilla looked toward the camera, we would pose him so he looked slightly down. You get that fairly aggressive feeling but, at the same time, we would position the back and the spikes so you would get that kind of mohawk. If you look at him up close, you can see all of Godzilla’s expressions but further away you see him more as a silhouette that’s very graphic.”

By framing Godzilla primarily in silhouette (shot by cinematographer Seamus McGarvey), the experience is more intense. “We were using background environments and patches of light and fire to help shape the image as a strong composition. We spent a lot of time lighting Godzilla and [his combatants, the MUTOS] so they registered clearly,” Rocheron adds. “We were simulating many different kinds of skin because if you look across Godzilla’s body, it’s covered with around 10 different types of skin thicknesses.”

MPC used Maya as the base software along with ZBrush for modeling, Mari for texturing and Kali (its proprietary destruction simulation tool) through the Katana lighting interface. In fact, Kali was upgraded and given a number of significant incremental improvements to make photo-real destruction.


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In this photo taken Wednesday, Sept, 18. 2013, Nollywood actors perform a scene in Lagos, Nigeria. A 15-second drum roll and the title of the film, “Deceptive Heart,” comes crashing onto the screen in a groovy 1970s font. Less than 10 minutes into the Nollywood movie, the heart of plot is revealed: A woman has two boyfriends and doesn’t know what to do. The story moves as quickly as the film appears to have been shot. Some scenes are shaky, with cameras clearly in need of a tripod, and musical montages are often filled with pans of the same building. Most Nollywood movies are made in less than 10 days and cost about $25,000. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A 15-second drum roll and the title of the film, “Deceptive Heart,” comes crashing onto the screen in a groovy 1970s font.

Less than 10 minutes into the Nollywood movie, the heart of plot is revealed: A woman has two boyfriends and doesn’t know what to do.

The story moves as quickly as the film appears to have been shot. Some scenes are shaky, with cameras clearly in need of a tripod, and musical montages are often filled with pans of the same building.

Most Nollywood movies are made in less than 10 days and cost about $25,000.

Fueled by low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigeria’s film industry has grown by some estimates over the past 20-plus years into the most prolific on Earth, pushing out more movies a year than Hollywood in California or Bollywood in Mumbai, India.

Hollywood tends to portray Africa as an exotic land of deserts and giraffes, populated by huddling masses, according to Samuel Olatunje, a Nollywood publicist known in the business as “Big Sam.”

Nigerian movies are popular because they portray African people more accurately, Big Sam explains outside his single-room Lagos office. They explore African issues rarely touched on in Hollywood — magic, tribal loyalties, the struggle to modernize.

“Stories that you can relate to,” he says.

Ventures Africa business magazine says Nollywood knocks out 2,000 titles a year and is the third-largest earner in the movie world, after Bollywood and Hollywood. The $250-million industry employs more than a million people.

Artists say Nigeria’s bad infrastructure and chaotic legal system prevent them from making films that are as impressive in their quality as they are in quantity.

“You’ll find that we’re having to make do,” legendary Nollywood actor Olu Jacobs explains at an exclusive country club in Lagos.

Trained at Britain’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Jacobs says Nigerian artists often have the same artistic capacity as their Western counterparts, but not the same financial capacity. “We’re not happy because the finished product doesn’t have the finish that it should have,” he says.

Later that day, Jacob’s driver inches his car through grinding traffic in Lagos, the African megalopolis as chaotic and bustling as any Nollywood production scene. A young businessman in an SUV nearly cuts him off. The SUV driver’s eyes grow wide when he recognizes Jacobs, and he smiles like a child meeting Santa Claus. He lets the actor’s car pass in front.

Nollywood was born, so the story goes, when Kenneth Nnebue, a video storeowner, had too many blank tapes in the early 1990s. To find a use for them, he shot “Living in Bondage” with a single camera for video. The protagonist joins a secret cult and kills his wife in a ritual sacrifice that wins him enormous wealth but leaves him haunted. The movie was an instant hit, selling 500,000 copies.

But at the country club, Jacobs says modern Nollywood is no accident. When he returned to Nigeria from the London stage in the early 1980s, he, like many other artists, knew he could make successful movies at home.

“We all knew that we had a market,” he says. “When I grew up, cinemas were always filled up. Stage performances were all ways full. Why shouldn’t there be?”

The main problem for movie-makers, Jacobs says, is also the top complaint of almost every industry in Nigeria: not enough power. Less than half the population of Africa’s most populous country has access to government electricity, and even the wealthiest families deal with daily power cuts. Nigerian film producers pay a premium for fuel to run generators to keep the lights on and the equipment going.

Piracy also cuts into profits, Jacobs says. After a film is released, producers have only a few weeks before illegally burned copies undercut their sales. Pirated Nigerian DVDs cost no more than a dollar or two and are available at markets in even the farthest corners of Africa.

But these cheap DVDs have also helped the industry grow, making Nigerian movies wildly popular in Africa and among Africans overseas.

Last year, Nollywood ventured off the continent entirely to screen “Half of a Yellow Sun,” a movie about Nigeria’s 1960s civil war based on an award-winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, at film festivals Toronto, London and Los Angeles.

While it didn’t get rave reviews, the Hollywood Reporter called it an “epic-on-a-budget” that will continue to draw audiences. “Half of a Yellow Sun” had a budget of about $8 million, the largest in Nollywood history.

By comparison, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” based on a book by Suzanne Collins, had a budget of about $130 million and was one of the highest grossing Hollywood movies in 2013.

A week after the Los Angeles premiere of “Half of a Yellow Sun,” the cast and crew of a Nollywood soap opera, “Remember Me,” pack into a hot, borrowed apartment in Lagos. Director F. Olu Michaels secures a red film over a harsh white light with masking tape before calling out “Action!”

Then he silently drops to his hands and knees and crawls behind the cameraman to avoid casting shadows on the set.

After the shoot, as a generator rumbles just far enough away from the set to avoid being picked up by microphones, Michaels says Nollywood films are improving rapidly because of intense competition.

“The quality of what we bring out now is not what we brought out, even five years ago,” he says.

Still, he says, the industry has a long way to go before its actors and directors have a chance to make millions of dollars.

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