BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
Nse Ikpe-Etim, the Nollywood actress who is best known for putting up an engaging performance in Emem Isong’s Reloaded is in Berlin, Germany for the Berlin International Film Festival, which is in its 60th edition. ‘I came on my own, sponsored myself so as to gain exposure as well as to network,’ Nse spoke with Moviedom, over coffee in the snack lounge of Mode One Hotel, South of Berlin. The hotel around the Wittenpbergplatz area was home to a number of other filmmakers including the couple Daniel and Doris Ademinokan. ‘I think we all need this kind of exposure as there is nothing like getting out to see what new things people are trying their hands on,’ Nse remarked, sipping intermittently from a cup of steaming hot coffee. Outside it was freezing. Ice, not snow, was what was dropping that evening and so no one wanted to ask Nse why she was on her second cup of coffee within a space of an hour. ‘You need this to stay warm. This is Ice Cold and snowy Berlin. A lot of people have mentioned that it never used to be this severe’ she explained adding ‘I will be back next year to make comparison myself’. Nse, star of another of Emem Isong’s recent hit Guilty Pleasures spoke to Moviedom….
Mission to Berlinale
I just finished a movie with Emem Isong, the title was Spell Bound. It is quite an interesting work. As soon as I finished, I had a chance to be here as part of the Berlinale and I decided to come, just to check it out and see what is there for me to experience and I am glad I made it here. Honestly, I am happy to be here.
Beyond the exposure, it is an adventure for me
Apart from the fact that I am an actor, I am also a writer and I am particularly quite adventurous. So for me, it was a way of getting to be familiar with film festivals and what happens there. The only one I have attended is Sithengi in South Africa and that was some years back. I decided that I am going to attend as many festivals as I can, if I want to improve myself, criticize myself as an actor and as a writer and see what kind of marriages, artistic marriages that is, that I can consummate. I have been talking to people, and people have been talking to me too. I met this Turkish director who wants us to talk and funny enough, I have been meeting so many Nigerian filmmakers whom I have not had the chance of meeting back home. I mean it was here that I met Kunle Afolayan, Mr. Femi Odugbemi and even Mr. Afolabi Adesanya of the Film Corporation. I know them as practitioners but we never met. So this is part of what you gain when you come to a festival. You network and meet people.
I took a short break after Reloaded
I don’t think I stayed away too long after Reloaded, even though I want to admit that I took a short break. Maybe it appears long because we produce movies almost every other month in Nigeria, but I don’t think it was long. I think my having not to do so many works after Reloaded was deliberate. For some of us, we come out the way we are meant to come out, so that people don’t get tired of us easily. Now that I am done with Guilty Pleasures, I can take another good job, then another one and another… It is better when you are through with one and then you take on another. So it’s one at a time for me.
Playing the disadvantage wife in Guilty Pleasures again
Well, I think, maybe the producer or whoever did the casting, at a point, wanted to see me play such a role all out. Maybe they wanted to stretch me further and see me really cry because apparently I didn’t cry in Reloaded. I think they wanted to see me do something slightly deeper than Re-loaded, where I had to share the space with other women. Although the roles (Reloaded and Guilty Pleasures) were almost alike, they were different in interpretation. And I think that in all fairness, all my roles have been challenging. I was not all alone in Guilty Pleasures. There were other actors and another story that was also told. It was challenging but it was made easy because I had good people to work with again. I am happy with my effort in the movie and will leave the audience to judge. It is for them to tell, if I did well.
I am happy I am taking something back from Berlinale
Well I hope not to go back with the cold. But seriously, I hope to go back with the fact that a lot of people are looking at in-roads into Africa, which is amazing and good for Nollywood. The report about Nollywood has really gotten around. People are looking at conquering Asian market and looking for in-road into the Nigerian market, not even African market, but the unexplored Nigeria market. One filmmaker was talking to me the other day and he said something like ‘it’s like there is something big happening there that we don’t know about’ and I was enthralled because he promised to look in and seek areas of collaboration. That’s what we need now, really. I mean everyone is crazy about our country. They want to come in and see if it is possible to do business with us. It is left for those in authority to reach out to them. We, I mean those of us who have been attending meetings here have been doing the best we can to promote the industry; and honestly, I will make it a policy to be attending festivals from now on. There is so much it adds to what you already know. I am already working on attending the Cannes Film festival this year.
As a celebrity, I have tried to live above board
I have lost my privacy. I have to be careful about the things I do. I can’t do certain things as much as I want to. Even the things I say. Sometime, I am careful not to hurt anyone’s feeling so they don’t think one is puffing or something. But people should realize that we have our own life. We are human and should be accommodated as such. It is hard but we have been trying to live above board.
The biggest rumour I have heard about myself
The biggest untruth about me is the supposed affair they said I am having with Fred Amata. I think that, that is so untrue and so unfair to Fred. I mean, I have nothing to lose because I am single, but the man you are linking me with is a family man. So if you link me with any man, you are on your own, because I have got nothing to lose. Yes, I do share a friendship with the Amatas — as in from Brother Zack Amata to his granddaughter, which is Jeta Amata’s daughter. We are family friends. So it hurts when people now link me with a member of the family. It hurts. But I will like to say that it is nice if they verify stories first. Verification is very important. It is not fair when you run people down because these have families and have people who look up to them. Some of us still want to hide. But it is all good. I guess it comes with the terrain and; the job.
Around and about Nollywood...
Pitch @ BOBTV 2010… share in N250m fund
FILMMAKERS and content providers who intend to benefit from the N250 million naira production fund to be injected by three multi-media platforms as a way of reinvigorating the film and television programmes industry must forward by registered Post or courier service, the synopsis and production plan of their programmes idea.
Amaka Igwe, Festival Director of BoBTV, Nigeria’s leading film and television programmes market, who announced the provision of the production fund, recently stated that both the production plan and the synopsis must reach the organizers of BoBTV on or before March 7. However, Igwe disclosed that the pitch documents will be opened at the BoBTV event, which holds between March 16 and 18 at the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.
Last week, the BoBTV press office announced that over N250 million is available for all manner of programme production from a DTH company, a TV station and a reputable production House. Also, two of the multi-media companies collaborating with BOBTV will release their briefs pre-BoBTV and host the pitching and commissioning for the projects at BoBTV 2010. The third company will release its own brief at BoBTV and hold its pitching and commissioning at a later date. Projects to be pitched for include films, television soap operas and series, television magazine programmes, documentaries and other audio-visual content, both in English and local languages.
According to BOBTV Festival Director, Amaka Igwe, “These are the types of collaborations I have been advocating for a long time. We need this at the moment, probably more than at any other time. We all know what situation the industry is in now, so I am really excited that this is happening”. All interested content producers, marketers and individuals should contact the organizers for more information. BoBTV provides a platform for acquisition and exchange of programmes and movies across Africa and valuable alliances for Television Stations and industry professionals. BoBTV also presents a practical arena for new ideas and concepts in television and programmes development and for experiencing the theatrical, communications, business and policy realities of the Nigerian and African audiovisual content industries. This year’s African Film and TV Programmes Market, BoBTV 2010 is scheduled to hold from March 16th through18 at the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.
…And time to honour the ‘Best of the Best’
THE Chairman and Founder of Galaxy Television, Chief Steve Ojo, producer, director Chief Zebulum Ejiro, OON, producer and humour merchant, Opa Williams and producer, writer Emem Isong are among those to be honoured for outstanding contribution to development of the television and film sector at the BoBTV event next month. While Ojo will be recognized as a producer, director, entrepreneur and broadcaster, who has grown and positioned Galaxy as a station of note in local content, Ejiro will be honoured for his pioneering work in the Nollywood as well as his enduring work on TV. The organizers of BoBTV stated and rightly too, that Ejiro deserves to be saluted for his vision, and support, particularly in the discovery and mentoring of new talents.
Indeed Ejiro’s passion for breeding talents in Nigeria has culminated in the establishment of the magnificent Training Institution at Ozorom which is accredited by the Federal Government. Also to be honoured at the event is the man acclaimed mentor of a number of today’s stand-up comedians, Opa Williams. The veteran producer and head of Virgin Productions will be honoured for his outstanding service to the television and movie sector and for his work in the development of Comedy and Comedians in Nigeria, especially with his popular annual event, A Nite of a Thousand Laughs. It is widely believed that his immense contributions turned Comedy to big business in Nigeria. Emem Isong the University of Calabar choreography major will also be honoured for her work in the shooting of indigenous language films, particularly the Efik and Ibibio work.
Isong, who just released Guilty Pleasures, is noted as one of the few practitioners, who have forged and worked in partnership. Of particular note is her recent entrepreneurial spirit that seeks to originate works and distribute them; thus becoming one of the few “Script to Store” organizations in Nollywood today. Only an actor featured in the honours list; and that is Sam Achibi Dede. Sam will receive the BOBTV 2010 crest in recognition of his deep talent and skill. Sam will also be honoured for his dedication to the craft and also pride in his career. Particularly, Sam will be rewarded for his passion in the training of young Artistes. A statement from the organizers say the awardees follow a long tradition of practitioners who have received such rewards since 2006.
Every year, BoBTV recognises hardworking professionals, who over time, have contributed to the growth of the Movie and Television industry in Nigeria. The comic actor Nkem Owoh, the legendary Sam Loco Efe and the prolific director Andy Amenechi are some of those who have been inducted into the BoBTV hall of awardees.
Galleria hosts Jungle Ride on Feb. 28
Jungle Ride; Lilian Amah-Aluko and Ajua Dickson’s new movie on love, luck and the increasing and alarming cases of unemployment among the youths will be screened to a quality crowd in a special premiere at the Silverbird Galleria in the Victoria Island of Lagos on Sunday February 28. A cocktail bash will precede the premiere of the movie, which the organizers say is strictly by invitation. Written by Segun Michaels and directed by Kingsley Omoefe, Amah, an actress and writer hinted that the movie will begin its runs in major cinemas across Nigeria, immediately after Sunday’s premiere. Amah expressed optimism that the movie which stars well-rated Nollywood actors like Bimbo Manuel, Femi Brainard, Ngozi Nwosu, Chidi Ukwu, Omoni Oboli, Emma Ayalogu and Joseph Benjamin will make a huge impact on the society, especially the youths. Amah, a first and second degree graduate of English from the University of Lagos and current Vice President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), said: ‘young people often have dreams of suitable white collar jobs immediately after leaving school. Some find this extremely important and others don’t. This is the world of Jungle Ride, the ever desperate search for a piece of your own greenery’.
Producer- Amebo A. Amebo
Director- Mr. Gossip
Actors- Nollywood Celebrities
The Ademinokan’s had their valentine bash in Berlin
FILMMAKING couple Doris and Daniel Ademinokan took time out on valentine’s Day to show some members of the Nigerian delegation to the on-going Berlin International Film Festival that theirs was not just ‘naira love’. They showed their colleagues practical love (apologies Isaac Izoya) when they took themselves out for dinner in a choice restaurant in Berlin just to commemorate St. Valentine’s Day. Waka pass was not invited sha oo, but the only person (an actress) that was asked to join them, so that three can be a company, hinted that food and drinks flowed so much that one waka pass observed that Sister Doris was just blushing and smiling from post to post all through their stay in the restaurant. And the question we asked was if Daniel, who is popular as Bishop, did not position any camera in the restaurant. Well, we asked because we will not be surprised if we see posters of a new movie titled ‘Valentine in Berlin’ from the stable of the filmmaking couple when they return.
Ofiafuluagu Mbaka was in Berlin
THE actor and Chairman of Enugu State chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) was in Berlin. He arrived on Sunday morning with a delegation that was sponsored by the African Movie Academy (AMAA) to attend the Berlin International Film Festival and to run a short training programme at the Prague Film School. Mbaka obviously spent days monitoring the Berlin weather before he set forth from Enugu. The tall, well-built came prepared. He covered every part of his body and just left a portion of his face for people to still know that he is the same ‘Ofia’ as he is simply called. The only problem Ofia had with the weather was that it made him sleep earlier than he would normally do. So Ofia, according to one waka pass, missed out on some of the late night events at the Berlinale. But actress Nse Ikpe-Etim was everywhere and whenever. So for Kunle Afolayan, whose good morning, good afternoon and good evening to anyone who cared to listen was, ‘I have a film to sell and I am looking for an agent or distributor’. Both Nse and Kunle came prepared for Berlin. They never complained of cold. But Nse did one evening after the Nigeria-born but Berlin-based entertainment promoter, Isaac Izoya, spoilt some members of the delegation a little with a full meal of Ise Ewu at a restaurant called Ebeano and run by a chap called Nnamani. Before waka pass could spelt out Nse, the Akwa Ibom-born actress was already under her sheets in the hotel. Not even the assurance that she will have a word with Will Smith if she makes it out again, could get her off her sheets. But sis, wetin come happen that evening? I think say you been dey show? Abi na send dem be send that particular cold? To God be the Glory!