Saturday, 6 February 2010

From Glo, Style Nokia 97... Loaded year for Rita

IT’S a busy year for Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic Nwaturocha, who is currently the Glo Ambassador and new face of the stylish Nokia 97 series phone. Rita admits that it will be a loaded year for her, saying: “Besides acting and endorsements, I will be working on my biography. It will be a fun book to read and I hope, it will motivate younger people to go for their dreams. I am writing it with Joy Bewaji and we are hoping to attract and encourage Nollywood fans to read it.” She continues, “the writing phase is taking longer than I anticipated, but I am hopeful that it will turn out great.” The University of Port Harcourt theatre arts graduate reviewed her works in 2009 with a plan to formerly launch her production outfit. The Imo-born Rita, however, stressed that she will not be distracted by some unnamed persons, who circulated damaging text messages about her person late last year.

2009 productions:

It was a busy period for me, even though I shot lesser films than I used to do. Anyway as you know, for two years now, I have been trying hard to do more challenging works. So getting the Globacom deal last year helped me more not to accept shoddy and uninspired scripts. Glo flew us to South Africa for a week to shoot a major television advert with all the West African Glo Ambassadors. Throughout last year, I worked for Glo on several events and photo shoots. That kept me and has continued to keep me busy. I also visited beautiful Malawi courtesy of DSTV within the year, which was another boost for my acting career.
Nollywood is massive in so many parts of Africa, but it is so frustrating that our government does not see this as a source of revenue, re-branding and job creation.
Anyway towards the end of last year, Nokia made me a brand ambassador for the stylish Nokia N97 and I had to attend promotional events for them. I starred in a couple of movies last year. I shot movies for Izu Ojukwu, Tchidi Chikere, Ifeanyi Onyeabor, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, Donald Okoli, Kingsley Okereke and Iyke Odife, but only Tchidi’s was released. I know Ifeanyi Onyeabor’s Fulani was premiered towards the end of year, but I am not sure if it has been released to the market. My fans should look out for me in 2010 as I have a few projects to do in the year.

Why she named her production outfit after Audrey Hepburn and Joke Silva
My business partners and I wanted to name the company after people who have excelled in their movie careers, and still embodied values that can be emulated. Aunty Joke came up, so, did Meryl Streep and Audrey Hepburn. We settled on Auntie Joke and Audrey, which is why we called it The Audrey Silva Company. We are still going through registrations and we should be launching out pretty soon. We have five scripts we are considering and it has been so tedious deciding, which two to shoot. There is a fantastic story by Dionne Jemide, but we have to partner with some Hollywood special effects people, so, we have shifted it to year end.

To my detractors

I truly had a fantastic December in spite of some people threatening to kill me and writing all sorts of malicious stories via sms texts. The only thing that bothered me was the threat to physically injure me outside getting the numbers of some of my fans that called me. It is still being investigated, so, I do not want to talk about it. I don’t know the perpetrators, but for they not threatening me three years ago, shows I must be doing something good that have attracted the attention of some people. I hope they are ready for 2010 because God has not finished with me. I wish phone companies would start registering sim cards like they used to, when GSM phones just came out. It will reduce these deadly games people play with them.

Why I’m always on Izu Ojukwu’s set
I made it a rule a long time ago to work with only directors and producers, who take movie making seriously. So, if you find me working with Izu Ojukwu severally, then it is because he takes movie making seriously and I am happy working for him. Though, he is not the only director I admire his works. I love Tchidi Chikere’s works, too. I shot Be Not Afraid with him and it is out in the market now. I would love to work with Tunde Kelani because I love his works. In February, I am going on set to shoot for Adonai Productions. Izu Ojukwu is directing it and Ramsey and Chidi are supposed to be starring as well.

Stop acting?
No, I can never stop acting. The Glo deal was in February and Nokia came in September. Acting and endorsements complement each other, when it is done right. It is nice to know that corporate Nigerians are beginning to understand the power of using known faces to help sell their product. I am very serious about working for the products.

Around and about Nollywood...

For Black History Month, Izoya offers ‘Love in Berlin’
Love in Berlin, the story of love without borders, directed by Lancelot Imaseun for Ehizoya Golden Entertainment, run by the Berlin-based, but Nigeria-born show promoter Isaac Izoya will show this February in Berlin to commemorate the Black History month. The special screening of the multi-cultural film titled The Meeting Point will hold at Hoftheatre, Naunynstr. 63 Berlin. In Love in Berlin, Coolio, a black boy and Tanja, a white girl falls for each other in spite of their colour and background. They are both from backgrounds that hate intercultural marriages. Coolio’s mother has a deep rooted hatred for Europeans, while Tanja’s mother had once tasted love with a black American, who abandoned her when Tanja was just a baby. Both women have strong reasons for their children not to unite and Coolio has the urgent task of uniting their mothers as his mother has been appointed to visit Berlin on an Integration tour for a global war against racism. The question is, how to bell the cat?

Celluloid movie ‘IJE’ previews in Jos
The film Ije, a 35mm cine production by a US- based young Nigerian, Chineze Anyaene, had a sneak preview in Jos, the Plateau State capital, drawing commendations from the Nigerian Film Corporation boss Mr. Afolabi Adesanya for a job well done. The film, which featured two of top best female actors, Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Ekehinde, drew a large number of film enthusiasts to National Film Institute (NFI), Jos, venue of the preview. Betraying much emotions and satisfaction for the outcome of the premiere, Anyaene said she was grateful to the corporation for its support during the shooting of the film. She praised the NFC for providing the needed industry support for filmmakers. The film was partly shot in the United States and in Nigeria. Adesanya commended Anyaene for having the courage to embark on the production, assuring that the NFC will not shy away from its responsibility of supporting/assisting filmmakers whose work(s) stand not only to boost the nation’s profile as a film production country, but also to aid the nation’s economy.

Gov Sylva to host AMAA 2010 sponsors evening
As part of the move to stage a successful edition ofthe 2010 African Movie Academy Awards, Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Timipre Sylva, will host leaders of corporate Nigeria on Sunday February 7, 2010 at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The Sponsors evening, organised jointly by the state government and the Africa Film Academy will be an avenue for Sylva to market the AMAA brand to existing and prospective sponsors. Bayelsa State Director General of Tourism and Publicity Bureau, Mr. Nathan Egba in a statement said, the last five years of AMAA have opened up the state to tourists. Egba also noted that the State Governor will also use the evening to brief business leaders of the many opportunities in the state and how the business community can tap into AMAA for branding and marketing initiatives.

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

We can’t reach Genevieve
Someone should please help us get to Genevieve, the pikin of Nnaji. We need to talk to her over a number of issues. We have drop words by text, tried to call and by email, but no reply yet. We understand that she has finally made up with Omo Sexy (Omotola Ekeinde) or that Omotola has finally made up with her (whichever sha), but we are not interested in that. We just want to deliver a letter we brought from her biggest fan, Madam Ophral Winfrey, the daughter of Opara who was originally named Winifred. The letter mistakenly landed in our box and we thought we should deliver it personally. Please, tell Mama Nadia to believe this, if she has not believed anything before.

Yemi Blaq won celebrity best dancer, Stella’s Fan still uncomfortble
Kai, people love this Stella Damasus Nzeribe so much. They have not allowed our email box and phone to enjoy deserved rest since curtains drew on the celebrity take 2 dance reality show programme organised by Pastor Segun Lawal, Spirit of David dance company and sponsored by Skye Bank. They say they think that the organisers did ‘Ooojoro’ like Omo Sexy alleged last year. They said it was their Stella who deserved to win and not ‘the stiff body Yemi Blaq’. When they discovered that they couldn’t convince waka pass enough to support their view, they hissed and hinged Sista Stella’s inability to win the coveted prize on the fact that she was mourning. Recall that it was about that time that Stella’s dad passed on. Anyway, the event don pass and na Yemi Blaq win. Nothing fit change am, otherwise una go see ‘stiff’ protest from Yemi’s fans both at home, Bariga and Abroad!

Reason one guild head was not in Port Harcourt
Those who think they can do things behind and waka pass will not see them are joking. Not as far as Nollywood is concerned. Well we now know why one particular guild/association head refused to travel to Port Harcourt to be a part of one international festival that was held there last year. We stepped on some emails and text exchanges that confirmed the reason. We deduced from the text messages and email exchanges that as preparations for the festival heightened, our dear guild/association head wanted more than to be a honoured guest at the festival. Our guild/association head, who is very boisterous desired to add one of the female organisers to his already expanding harem. Hmmm! Anyway we understand that the guild/association head turned a spoiler as soon as that ambition failed. Waka pass has detailed emissaries to confront him with the messages and until we get positive feed back, please believe the report that ‘Nollywood was absent at that festival because the organizers didn’t carry the industry along’.

Remmy Ohianjanya bad phone manners
Some waka pass think we should call the one time chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) Chief Remmy Ohajianya to order. They say the manner he screams whenever he is talking to someone on phone is becoming unbecoming. One waka pass hinted that he spotted and ran into the teacher turned actor on his way into one of the cinema halls of the National Theatre. The waka pass said Ohajianya, who acts as a chief in most movies startled him when he screamed as he answered a caller. Not only was he screaming, far above his voice, the waka pass said he ‘phoneographed’ him punctuating all his responses with gesticulations. The waka pass said he got all of them who were drawn to his loud phone conversation laughing out loud when he waved as soon as he told the caller ‘bye-bye’. Kai! The thing reach to laugh and to caution the chief, who is a chief in real life.

Zik Zulu is an intimidator
If anyone has any alias for the prolific producer and writer Zik Zulu Okafor, it should not be far from ‘small but mighty’. The future ‘Governor of Delta State’ (ala his very close friends) likes to terrorize — but wait, it’s not in the Mutalab styleeee oo. The small but mighty man in brain, oratory and pocket, sha likes big things. One waka pass who confessed to be following his progress say the writer and first class graduate never likes to be seen in small toys (what waka pass like us who reside in Ajegunle call motor). ‘He always likes to drive in big and unique cars’ reported one waka pass. Well one waka pass said he saw the imposing and magnificent red toy that oga Zik parked in front of the National Theatre, the other day the National Troupe staged Arnold Udoka’s Long Walk to a dream. The waka pass said as soon as he was told that the car (he said it looked like a bullion van) was parked by a top artiste, he concluded that it must be oga Zik and behold it was him. Anyway before these banks start approaching him for the use of the bullion like car, let us just clear that it is not a bullion van oooo. It’s the latest version of the BMW 3 series. The amount? Dem say you need a national distributor to sell about one million copies of your film, even at seven naira per copy, for you to to approach the dealers. If your one plus one na two, den my own na three. To God be the Glory!

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