Saturday, 19 September 2009
BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
Popular actor, Chidi Mokeme, was a visible part of last Sunday’s première of Stephanie Okereke’s new movie, Through the Glass. Moviedom cornered the trendy actor, event manager and show host, who maintained that he is not missing in action contrary to popular opinion.
Many believe that you are missing in action, is this so?
Well, they have a right to their opinions. I am very much around. But I know that I am not missing in action. I have been around and am still around. If because people have not been seeing me in every movie that is the reason they are suggesting that I have been missing in action, then they are missing the point. I don’t have to be in every movie. I should be able to do a few works in a year, rest and return to pick up more scripts. Those who know me, know that from the outset I have always selected movies I do and in my head, I would agree that I would only do so and so number. Once I reach my target, I take a break, do other things and return. So, I am very much around.
So what is next...?
Well, I have scripts lined up. Some I have made up my mind and others I am still considering. So I should be on set of a movie shortly and it is going to be one after the other. I have never jumped from set to set because it is unprofessional. It’s one job at a time.
There is nothing so special about how I dress and it’s not about spending a fortune as you are suggesting. It is just about looking good and putting on what is right and what fits. I don’t dress to impress anyone, but simply to look good. Don’t forget that I am in a profession that demands that I must look good all the time.
What’s on your radar next?
Where I am headed? Everywhere. I will just keep being me and doing my work. I am not one who is easily distracted and that is because I try to be focused. Once I keep my mind locked on something and I am sure I am on the right lane, nothing distracts. So I will just keep being me.
Around and about Nollywood..
STEPHANIE Okereke’s debut movie as a writer, producer and director, Through the Glass. The 140 minutes movie was premiered before a quality crowd last Sunday at the Silverbird Galleria, Lagos. The movie will remain opened to the public till this weekend and will show in other movie theatres across Lagos before it is released to cable stations and then as home video.
New date for Abuja Film Festival
A NEW date has been announced for the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF). It is October 27 to 30, 2009. The organisers had earlier announced September 22 and 25. No reasons have been given for the change in date. But an inside source said it was moved forward because of the ‘sallah’ holidays. When it eventually holds, the late Muyideen Alade Aromire, one of the pioneers of the phenomenon referred to as Nollywood, will be honored for his Ekun, which was shot and released in 1987. The release of this film, according to Fidelis Duker, Festival Director, AIFF, signaled the beginning of the era of films being made on video formats. Also to be honoured is Iyawo Alhaji, the first home video film to be classified by the National Film and Video Censors Board.
Akunyili debunks ‘fraud’ rumour at NFC
MINISTER of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, has debunked the fraud story making the rounds at the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC). The minister paid a visit to NFC Headquarters, Jos, to assess the extent of damage caused by a minor fire incident, which occurred on the second floor of the corporation’s office blocks recently; she maintained that the reversed order on transfer of staff to Abuja was in order and that directives for the affected staff to refund their transfer allowances were also in order and fell within statutory public service procedures. Akunyili, who was in Jos for the rebranding Nigeria campaign in the North Central zone of the country implored staff of the corporation to be committed in the rebranding drive, stressing, “it touches our everyday lives and most especially our national integrity.” The minister said the role of the corporation is crucial in the rebranding programme of the government and directed that the NFC Should henceforth brace up to the challenges inhibiting the monitoring and bringing to the attention of the government to any local or international publications, especially motion picture productions, that portray the image of the nation and her citizens in bad light.
Abu Dhabi’s Festival releases award shortlist
THE Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) today unveiled the line-up of the feature-length narratives and documentaries that would compete for Black Pearl Awards worth over $1 million during the upcoming festival. Presented by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, this year’s MEIFF will run from October 8 to 17. Peter Scarlet, the festival’s new executive director said, “a film festival’s competition selections are the heart of its program, and we’re extremely proud to have assembled such a strong slate, especially with half these competing titles coming from the Middle East and North Africa, and the filmmakers who made them having an opportunity to have their work judged alongside work from the rest of the world. It’s also extremely encouraging that eleven films in each of these competitions are by filmmakers making their first or second work.” Scarlet, Teresa Cavina, Kellen Quinn, Rasha Salti and Intishal al-Timimi made the festival’s selections, supported by a group of international programme consultants. MEIFF’s Narrative Feature Competition comprises 18 films, including two World Premieres, Son of Babylon (Ibn Babil) by Mohamed al-Daradji (Iraq) and True colours (Bil Awan Al Tabiyya) by Oussama Fawzi (Egypt), and one international premiere (screening for the first time outside its country of production), Cooking with Stella by Dilip Mehta (Canada). Another film in the narrative competition, The Traveler (Al Mosafer), a debut film written and directed by Ahmed Maher, and starring Omar Sharif, Khaled El Nabawy and Lebanese singing star Celine Abdel Nour in her first major film role, will be screened as the Opening Night Gala. Most of the 14 other titles screening in the Narrative Feature Competition are being shown for the first time in the Middle East.
IONIFF Port Harcourt 2009 Closes Sept 30
WORKS by the Nigerian Committee of the 6th edition of ION International Film Festival scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt between December 9 and 12, 2009 has commenced. Entries for the festival began in April 2009. The committee is tasked with the responsibility of selecting five movies for a Nigerian retrospective series. They also have to identify 20 movies that will be considered for the official selection in competition, in addition to screening and pre-selecting Nigeria’s public submissions for the official selection in competition, which will then be finalized between Paris and Los Angeles. Bond Emeruwa (President, Directors Guild of Nigeria); Sani Mu’Azu (President, Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria); Emmanuel Isikaku (President, Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association); Jahman Anikulapo and Sewedo Nupowaku for Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) and Shaibu Husseini, film journalist; are members of the committee. Chris David of Shout Studio established the ION International Film Festival in 2004, and in 2007, the Farmani Group acquired it. The Farmani Group is the founder of several charities and art-related business and organisation, including the award-winning VUE magazine, The Lucie Award (the Oscars of photography), Design Awards, Green Dot Awards, Hospitality Awards, and the International Photography Awards. The film festival is dedicated to promoting independent films, documentaries, animation, music videos and student films. Each year, the festival is held in a different location in an effort to promote global awareness and unity. In 2007, Hollywood hosted the event, while 2008 host was Dubai. Istanbul will host in 2010. Submissions of enteries closes on September 30. For information visit www.omcomm.org.
Berlinale Co-Production Market seeks Co-Production Partners.
THE Berlinale Co-Production Market has said that it is seeking promising feature film projects, which it will assist to find co-production and co-financing partners at the Berlinale 2010. Until October 29, experienced producers may submit projects that have budgets between ?2 and 10 million; at least 30 per cent of the funding has to be in place. The projects must also be suited to international co-production. At the 7th Berlinale Co-Production Market (February 14 to 16, 2010), the producers of the ca.35 projects will meet with potential co-producers, financiers, sales agents, and international distributors. The Berlinale Co-Production Market team will put together a personalised schedule of meetings for each of the 450 participants, a schedule that not only coordinates when each party is available, but above all makes sure the projects and partners found for each other are a good fit. Over 80 films have been released since the market was launched in 2004. In other words, 40 per cent of the projects envisioned have already been completed. They include Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008; Alexandr Sokurov’s The Sun; as well as the crossover success, Lemon Tree, by Eran Riklis, which was shown in the Berlinale Panorama in 2008 and has since been screened in over 20 countries. Main partners of the Berlinale Co-Production Market have been the MDM – Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (since 2004) and the MEDIA-Programme of the European Union (since 2005). The project submission forms and selection criteria for 2010 are available at: www.efm-berlinale.de/en/copromarket/participation/project_submission/project-submission.php
Producer- Amebo A. Amebo
Director- Mr. Gossip
Actors- Nollywood Celebrities
Oby Edozie was too hot to handle
WE don’t know what the one we call GQ, but you call Chidi Mokeme, meant by the ‘you are too hot to handle’ he dropped on popular actress, Oby Edozie, at last Sunday’s premiere of Through the Glass. Soon as the former host of the Gulder Ultimate Search reality show sighted Oby, who wore a white blouse on red hot stretch trousers, the only audible remark he made as he walked out of the red carpet stop point was ‘hey gel (that’s to Oby o) you are too hot to handle’. That one-liner got Oby winking to the waka pass that accompanied her to the premiere as if saying ‘what is too hot about me?’ Anyway, to be sure GQ was not just putting the pretty Oby on the spot, we stretched our neck to confirm what could have made GQ -- who we know appreciates ‘good things’ -- to make such a remark and we too found the slit that revealed a bit of the upper section of Oby’s chest too hot to handle. And by the way, didn’t Oby get an invite to the premiere. She was held up at the entrance of the movie theatre for minutes. A waka pass said somebody had to slip a card out of the hall to enable her enter the movie theatre. Come sister Oby c’est true? O blind me…na de only French I sabi be that!
… So, was that ‘Mr. Cool’ we saw in Monalisa’s convoy? SINGLE’ woman (ala one waka pass) Monalisa Dejo-Richards nee Chinda was also one of the popular faces who made it to the premiere of the film. The other faces waka pass was able to rankzerox included another ‘single woman’ Fathia Balogun, Kanayo O. Kanayo, yet another ‘single woman’ Eucharia Anunobi, Tchidi Chikere, Dickson Iroegbu and Ayo Badmus. But Monalisa didn’t make it there during the red carpet reception. She came few minutes to the start of the movie and a convoy of six people — five ladies and a guy who looked a lot like the two album star, ‘Mr. Cool’, trailed her. We tried to confirm if indeed the fellow was the artiste whose stage name was ‘Mr. Cool’ but we couldn’t because light went off for the movie. But one waka pass sitting next to moviedom swore that the fellow was ‘Mr. Cool’. Well, we didn’t want to argue, so we kept our cool. But from nowhere came this unsolicited reply: ‘may be Mona hired Mr. Cool to cool her mind from all she has been reading about her embattled relationship with her husband’ shuoooooooooooooo. This linkage get as e be. We no know book oooooo. To God be the Glory!