Sunday, 1 November 2009

Their television days…

As Nigeria marks 50 years of television, some notable Nollywood personalities relieve their experiences as players in some of the evergreen television productions like Sparks, Ripples and Mirror in the Sun…

Fred Amata: Ripples et al
At that time, what was most important was the novelty of independent production. It was almost impossible for an independent producer to have a programme running on television. Before Ripples, the last person I knew of was Lola Fani-Kayode who was directing Mirror in the Sun and then Jab Adu. Uncle Tunde Oloyede was still working with the NTA. So Zeb Ejiro, had gone for this course and when he returned and got us to do Ripples, we were all excited. It was the novelty itself and the fact that we were at the forefront of championing that and realizing the dream of having another independent production. It was a huge challenge and it created a lot of excitement for us all. I was happy to be part of that era and I’m glad that we had television then, because for television, we would have spent more time training the crop of actors who just crossed easily to home video because of the experience they garnered on television. I am happy that television is 50 and has come of age. We deserve to clink glasses.

Francis Onwochei: Ripples et al
For me, my very first contact with television was way back in 1985 or even before 85 actually. I was a young man, just coming fresh from stage, and television for us was really, really big and very interesting environment because we had a lot of people we could call our icons that we were looking forward to being like them. I am talking about people like Solomon Anyaghere, people like Sam Loco Efe and even Lari Williams and the rest of them. They were all people who acted like icons to us. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on television because I was privilege to be in soaps like Village Headmaster, Ripples, Checkmate, Legacy and Assets. These were series that gripped, especially Legacy and Assets and Village Headmaster and we had good directors like Yomi Layinka, Tade Ogidan and the rest of them. A lot of us had this background, which generally introduced us into the mainstream acting and allowed us to have a proper cross; especially when the motion picture environment was taking over by Nollywood. As for whether Nollywood has killed acting on television, I cannot agree absolutely. But you see it has probably taken away some attention but it may not have killed acting there. There is still some substantial acting there. Only recently, there has been a reinvigoration of these soaps on television at least in the last two years. And that will be as a result of the fact that Nollywood has also come down in terms of output in recent time. So somehow I can agree that Nollywood took a lot of attention from television for very obvious reasons, which will take time to enumerate. So here is a toast to television at 50.

Around and about Nollywood...
Garden City is ready for ION Film Festival 2009
Port Harcourt otherwise called the Garden City, is sure ready to host the ION International Film Festival between December 9 and 12, 2009. The organizers said they have been meeting with the host government and other stakeholders and everything seems set for the touring festival, which moves every year to a new location around the globe in an effort to promote global awareness on peace and unity. The festival is making its debut in Africa with this edition. Meanwhile, Caterina Bortolussi, Creative Director Omcomm, has announced the opening of entries for the workshop series scheduled for the festival. The workshops will focus on Screen-writing, Digital Cinematography + Lighting, Sound Composition, Budgeting + Networking + Financing. Attendees will learn amongst others how to develop story from an idea and shape into screenplay, the basic techniques of digital cinematography and lighting, the role of art director, the function of music in film in creating an atmosphere; examining the step-by-step on how to create a budget, and how to develop a strategy to obtain finances for their films. The workshop according to Caterina is a 3-day programme with an average of six hours meeting per day per workshop with two scheduled session of morning and afternoon. In the spirit of promoting intellectual development and participations of young talents, the organizers waive the course fee while interested participants are expected to pay a token of N2, 500 as registration fee for the workshop. Among facilitators of the workshops are Julie Dash, John Demps, Kennard Ramsey and Brenda Doby-Flewellyn as facilitators. Details on registration and participation can be sourced from (

AMAA now accepts entries for the 2010 premier African Film award
The Africa Film Academy invites filmmakers to submit their Feature, Short, and Documentary works for consideration by the 6th AMAA, the prime Africa film Awards event. Each completed entry form must be accompanied by all the supporting materials listed on the submission forms, including the synopsis of the film, the list of credits, marketing stills of the film, filmographies of the directors and producers, 10 DVD copies of the film and proof of the right to submit. Only films produced and released between December 2008 and December 2009 would be entered for the 2009 celebration of African Cinema to be held in 2010. All films must indicate year of copyright. The Academy, says it will not accept any film that exceeds the 120 min run as a feature or a short film that is longer than 50 minutes. The awards two major categories are short films and animation. This year the Academy announces a category for the Best Africa Film in the Diaspora and the Best Diaspora Short Film Awards. The deadline for all submissions is December 30, 2009; a late entry deadline is January 7, 2010. Nominations will be announced in Ghana in February 2010. The AMAA will hold on the April 10, 2010 and will be televised across the world. Submission forms are downloadable from the AMA-Awards website. For further information, contact AMAA at email

Nollywood Outstanding Personality Award (NOPA) holds December 4
The Association of Movie Journalists (AMJ) have concluded plans to hold the third edition of the annual Nollywood Outstanding Personality Award (NOPA). The award according to a statement signed by the association’s President, Stanley Okoronkwo will hold on December 4 at Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island in Lagos. Okoronkwo disclosed that awards will be presented to some Nollywood personalities who have distinguished themselves in their different beats. Publisher of Today’s Choice magazine and Chairman Advisory Council of the association, Chief F. Onita Coker and Chief Walter Ibekwe Ofonogaro are expected as special guests at the award ceremony. The chair for the evening will be Dr. Peter Igho, MFR while His Royal Majesty Eze Dr. I. A Ikonne will grace be Royal Father of the day.

It’s time for the 24th Fribourg International Film Festival
The organizers of the 24th edition of the Fribourg International Film Festival (Switzerland) have announced that the film feast will hold from March 13 to 20th, 2010. The festival promotes quality films with the objective of contributing to cinematographic and cultural diversity in Switzerland and in Europe. The Festival selects films primarily from Asia, Africa and Latin America. To encourage the distribution of the films selected, distributors, cinema owners and film critics are invited to attend the Festival. The official selection includes a competition open to feature films both fiction and documentaries. The Festival organises as well non-competitive sections focusing on films that have rarely or never been shown in Switzerland (fiction and documentaries or animation, be they short, medium or full-length). They must be presented as Swiss premiere (priority will be given to European premiere for the competition). The Festival proposes also a programme intended for schools and universities and publishes a catalogue with full details. Encounters and debates are organised between filmmakers, the audience, journalists, and professionals. In order to be eligible for selection, films must be submitted no later than December 5th, 2009. To submit a film to the selection, check out the regulations and fill in the online entry-form via the website Those wishing to participate or to submit entries can also contact the FIFF directly at:

Waka pass…
Producer- Amebo A. Amebo
Director- Mr. Gossip
Actors- Nollywood Celebrities

All hail Barrister Kenneth Okonkwo
How come no one told us that the actor of Living in Bondage fame, Kenneth Okonkwo, aka Andy, had returned to read law after the two degrees he bagged from the University of Lagos? Ha, these actors are trying oooo. Was it not yesterday that Richard Mofe Damijo was called to bar after he returned to join law to the theatre degree he bagged from the University of Benin? Ha. Well, we felt elated this morning when we got a text (not sure it was directly from Andy) requesting us to join the former husband of the daughter of a man of God in singing halleluyah because he will soon be called to the Nigerian Bar. In fact, we gathered that Andy will be known and cited as Actor Barrister Kenneth Okonkwo as from November 6, when the Call to Bar ceremony will be held in Abuja. The waka pass who sold the gist to us also informs that there will be a special ceremony at a hotel in Wuse and that those coming with gifts should come with three packs because the party will also be used to mark his birthday (they didn’t say how old) and for his Best African Actor award. Those wishing to attend the call to bar jam should see us outside this page…but abeg don’t tell Andy that we invited you oooo and don’t also tell him that you read here that somebody who knows someone we knows told us the real reason Andy went to read law. Hear what we heard: ‘na so dat e go fit defend himself for the impending marriage suit wey him get since no discount for law again as Gani no dey again’. Shoooooooooooooe. Not to we talk am ooooo

Stella Damascus Nzeribe breezes back
Sterling actress Stella Damascus Nzeribe is back from the short break she took to rest her voice and body. The actress buzzed all her friends and fans on facebook as soon she returned. It showed from the tone of her short message that she missed home and her fans. Anyway, welcome back, our dear Stella. You fans said we should find out when you will hit the turf again. They say they would be available even at short notice if you need them to talk to oga Nzeribe to excuse you from, hear them: ‘dis una honeymoon wey no wan end’. Not to we talk ooooo.
No unproductive calls, please — Mahmood
Filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun may have left a directive with his office assistants not to transfer any call they consider unproductive to him. Reason: we gathered that the director of the MNet short film, A Place Called Home, is neck deep in pre-production meeting of his new film ‘Tango..’ . We were not there ooo, but someone who was there hinted that the director left a subtle instruction that he will only take calls that will add monetary or professional substance to his production. Now we understand why he dropped the call on one waka pass, who wanted him to comment on the raging AGN controversy. Anyway, all is set for the commencement of shoot. Location will be mainly in Victoria Island and Ikoyi and the foreign crew will be on ground as from today. We understand that most members of the crew have lost so much weight because of the intense nature of the recee they have done on the production. So if you see our brother Francis Onwochei looking like Lepa Shandy, just know that he is on the crew of Tango…as a line producer!

For an actor whose name and surname begin with an ‘L’ and ‘F’
No one sent us ooo, but one waka pass has been begging that we must let this actor who was once married to a top acting celebrity and who shares same surname with a notable Lagos Lawyer, know that there is a clothier that is blowing hot over a deal turn sour between dem both. Someone, who is close to someone who is close to the clothier in question, said he saw her recruiting body builders to confront the actor who is originally based in London, anytime soon. We gathered that the lady alleged that the tall and dark actor owes her monies fit for her to travel to Abuja and back thrice on economy ticket. The monies, according to the waka pass, equaled the amount the clothier charged for clothes she either made for the actor or that the actor was supposed to help her sell in London. Anyway, this was why we thought the actor must hear this: the body builders have been given photographs of the clothes in question and they are to begin a ‘pull am from him body show’ anytime soon. Oga, na so that we no go jam you dey waka naked na him we say make we make you know oooooooooo. To God be the Glory .

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