Film producer blame filmakers for “Lionheart” disqualification at the Oscars

Agency Reporter

The entire Nollywood is to be blamed for the disqualification of Nigeria’s Oscar choice “Lionheart’’, a movie producer, Chima Okereke, said on Wednesday

“Lionheart”, directed by Genevieve Nnaji, was Nigeria’s first-ever Oscar submission for best international feature film.

It was disqualified on Monday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for not having “a predominantly non-English dialogue track”.

Films for the must have a predominantly non-English dialogue track but the 95-minute Lion Heart is largely in English, with an 11-minute section in the Igbo Language.

Okereke, the Managing Director of the Fresh Talent Production, a movie company, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the structure was flawed.

“In the opinion of the screeners, the film should have used majorly the Igbo Language than the English Language, and the blame game started flying.

“It is important to understand that profit considerations cannot allow a big film of that status, shot in Nigeria, to be shot majorly in Igbo or any other Nigerian Language.

“It will most likely lead to loss of capital investment; people might not want to watch because it was done in a local language; sentiments, politics and ethnic nuances will kill its potential patronage no matter how great the film is in terms of theme, interpretation, value and impact,’’ he said.

He saidd that the committee that nominated “Lionheart’’ did not want an opportunity to slip by.

“The gamble did not fly; now, we should learn from it.

“At least, thousands of filmmakers who lampooned some of us for not aiming for Oscar will now see the reason.

“King of Boys’’, “Trip to Jamaica’’, “Wedding Party’’ and others that made huge profits as we gathered, would not have made it to Oscar because they were not shot in Yoruba or Igbo language and then
subtitled in English,’’ he said.

He noted that some years back at a seminar organised Directors Guild of Nigeria, the issue of nomination for Oscar came up.

“I told everyone who nursed that idea to do that in indigenous language. You see it now.

“Only one category is reserved for films made outside Hollywood, and to be qualified to win Oscar, the language must be indigenous.

“It could be Spanish, Portuguese, Igbo, Efik, Mandarin, Yoruba, etc., targeting at least 60-65 per cent indigenous language.’’ he said.

READ ALSO: Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ is Nigeria’s submission for the Oscar

Okere said that filmmakers working toward entrance for Oscar would have no choice than to use non-English language.

Use your local language; shooting a film with American or British Language will not get you a nomination,’’ he said.

Okereke, however, said that a film shot in English Language could make it to Oscar if co-produced with a Hollywood producer.

“The lesson from “Lionheart’’ disqualification is: Take your language serious; follow the rules. Hollywood takes film production as a serious business and protects it with its award system.

“There has to be collaborative efforts from filmmakers in Nigeria by putting the elements needed to win at the big stage – from story to language options and to value and marketing.

“Filmmakers have to go back to the drawing board and get it right.

“If we neglect this facts, we miss billions in not keying into global film business,’’ he said.

(NAN)

Related posts

Nollywood: Gov. Ayade, NFVCB Boss honoured at AIFF 2019

Agency Reporter

Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers and Mr Adedayo Thomas, the Chief Executive, National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) have been honoured for their contributions to the development of the Nigerian movie industry.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that they were given the Special Recognition Award in the non-competitive category at the 2019 Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) on Friday night at the closing ceremony and awards night of the festival.

Mr Allen Onyema, the Managing Director of Air peace, was also honoured in the non-competitive category of the AIFF awards.

Presenting the awards, Mr Fidelis Duker, the Founder of AIFF said the recipients were selected in recognition of their support and contributions to the growth and development of the Nigerian movie industry.

He noted that the NFVCB Chief Executive had repositioned the film and video regulatory body and provided a friendly environment for filmmakers.

“The Censors board under his watch is doing a great job by providing a better regulatory environment for filmmakers to strive.”

Read Also: Dino Melaye joins Nollywood hours after losing in court

In his remark, the NFVCB chief who was present to receive the award, appreciated the organisers on behalf of other recipients.

Thomas, appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 to head the NFVCB, expressed delight that the award was an indication that the society was interested in whatever one did.

“This recognition clearly shows that people are concerned and are watching how we do our work in building the industry.

“I want to assure filmmakers that we are set to do more for the industry, as we sanitise the market of all uncensored and unclassified films.

“As stakeholders, we need their cooperation and support for us to serve them better as government agency,” he said.

NAN reports that the awards in the competitive category include Outstanding Actor and the Outstanding Actress, First Time Director Award, Outstanding Feature Film – (foreign and Nigeria), and the Outstanding Film In Directing.

Others are Outstanding Short Film (Foreign and Nigeria), Outstanding Music Score Nominee, Outstanding Animation film and Outstanding Student Film Nominee, among others.

Now in its 16th Edition, Abuja International Film Festival is a fiesta that showcases films, actors, producers within and outside Nigeria to foster interactions for co-production, distribution and investments.

The 2019 edition was held from Oct. 22 to Oc. 25 at the Silverbird Galleria (NAN).

Related posts

Filmmaker tells IBB’s story in biopic film, ‘Badamosi’

By Agency Reporter

The story of former Nigerian military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida popularly known as IBB, has been documented in a new biopic, ‘Badamosi: Portrait of a General’.

The film, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Obi Emelonye, explores Babangida’s story from childhood up to his run as the Head of State, also touching several key history points in Nigeria’s history.

Babangida was Head of State from Aug. 27, 1985 to Aug. 26, 1993. He previously served as the Chief of Army Staff from January 1984 to August 1985.

Wikipedia, the online dictionary describes him as a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985) and notably moved the seat of power from Lagos to Abuja in 1991.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, the filmmaker explained the inspiration behind the film and its importance in modern-day Nigeria.

Emelonye said: “I decided to use the IBB story to explore our history and our political consciousness.

“In a film, what creates drama is conflict. If you are such an easy-going, quiet person, nobody would want to make a film about you, which explains the hundreds of films made about Hitler.

“It tells you that the more complex a character, the better their stories will be for film.

“So we started looking for stories of Nigerian leaders that can be used to explore our history. The story of Babangida stood out,” he said.

Emelonye also said that it was important to get Babangida’s authorisation and perspective while making the film to increase its authenticity.

He said: “I wanted to make it authorised. I wanted his participation because that is what will make it more interesting.

“This is because most stories are already in the public domain and there will be no point to make a film about it.

“The only thing missing is his personal perspective, which we don’t have. For me, his participation was the determining and distinguishing factor,” he added.

On the portrayal of Babangida in the film, Emelonye noted that in history, perspectives differ hence the need to document from Babangida’s perspective.

He said: “Whatever came out as a persona of Babangida was a function of the information from news outlets.

“What I did with this film was to dig deeper into the psyche of the man himself, to find his perspective to the things we already know in the public domain,” Emelonye said.

Read Also: Nollywood Stars pop-up channel returns to DStv, Gotv

NAN reports that the trailer of the film, starring Eyinna Nwigwe in the lead titular role, has been sparking several conversations on social media as the premiere draws close.

Some of the social media reactions to the trailer go thus: @Baudex said, “I hope they get the story right. Many of us still know how it all went and most of us who don’t have our parents to tell us. Getting the story right will determine the extent the film will go. This is portraying IBB as a hero.

@Daisy said, “Finally we are telling our own stories and documenting our own history.

@Stitchesandstones said, “This is welcome. If they remove history from the curriculum, art will help us remember.

@Olabanle said, “Nollywood is finally listening and I am excited. There are stories in Nigerian history that need screen time and I applaud Obi Emelonye.

Related posts