Monday, December 1, 2014




Airing schedule on Television Continental, TVC...
00:30 – 01:00am
07:30 – 08:00am
15:30 – 16:00pm
02:30 – 03:00am
12:30 – 13:00pm

ADELUGBA, Adedapo (Dapo) Abayomi Olorunfemi
March 9, 1939 --November 23, 2014
BORN on March 9, 1939, Professor Dapo Adelugba had his education at the University College, Ibadan where he studied English. While at the university, apart from taking part in a lot of productions such as Wole Soyinka's Swamp Dwellers, where he acted as the Blindman, he was president of University College, Ibadan Dramatic Society, where he adapted Moliere's Les Fourberies de Scapin (The Trickeries of Scapin) to That Scoundrel Suberu. In 1964, he submitted his Master's degree dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he wrote on Nationalism and the Irish Theatre. He later joined the teaching services of the University of Ibadan, where he retired in 2004. He spent his last teaching years as Emeritus Professor at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, from where he retired finally two years ago. Thousands of Theatre Arts graduates and practitioners on the Nigerian stage (and screen) and beyond owe him a debt of gratitude for his mentorship and fatherly counselling on their studies and professional career. He will be celebrated always....
Wednesday 10th - Friday 12th December, 2014.
(i) Evening of Tributes: 5.00 - 7.00pm
(Faculty of Arts Quadrangle, University of Ibadan).
(i) Service of Songs: 500 - 7.00pm
(Department of Theatre Arts Premises)
(ii) Artistes' Nite: 8.00 - 10:30pm
(Arts Theatre, University of Ibadan).
(i) Lying-in-State: 8:00am
(Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan).
(ii) Commendation Service: 9:00am
(Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan).
(iii) Interment: to be announced by the Family
Released by Teniayo Adelugba 
(On behalf of the family).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SODIQ... for iREP Monthly Screening; 7pm Saturday Sept 20; Freedom Park, Lagos Island 3 Oguntona Crescent, Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos Nigeria. P.O. Box 36 Surulere. T: +234 803 425 1963, +234 802 201 6495, +234 803 403 0646 E:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Almajirai State Of Mind

(culled from THE GUARDIAN SUNDAY, 29 APRIL 2012 )

THE decision by the Federal Government to deliver a conventional learning environment for the infamous Almajirai has met with conflicting reactions. Of 400 model Almajirai schools proposed by the FG, the first set was recently commissioned in Sokoto State on April 10,   and the likelihood of the project succeeding has been both contested and anticipated.
Many are in support of what they call a “wise” move toward curbing the illiteracy and religious radicalism latent within the Almajirai. Many more judge the schools a cosmetic approach to what is considered a breeding ground for extremists and a “waste of public funds” that should have been channelled towards improving decaying federal structures. One word that has frequently appeared is the description of the entire project as another “white elephant.”
In its own way, President Jonathan’s administration believes the schools will take the estimated 9.5 million Almajirai off the streets of Northern Nigeria and provide a conducive atmosphere for combining Qu’ranic and Western education. Facilities at the schools include language labs, hostels, clinics, staff quarters and recitation halls. Ironically, much of the criticism of these schools has emanated from the North, but there are others, who are of the view that proper communication and awareness about the benefits of the Almajirai schools will win opposing voices to the government’s camp.
While the different opinions from the ‘experts’ grace the pages of newspapers, the Almajirai have hardly had a chance to put a word in. Widely considered a ‘nuisance’ within and outside Northern Nigeria, it is no wonder that many believe placing them in a ‘normal’ learning institution is a waste not just of taxpayers’ money but possibly, a waste of everyone’s time as well. This notion might however be dismissed as biased and uninformed once these young students of the Qur’an get the chance to personally tell their stories.

Sixty-nine minutes might not have captured the entire essence of their existence, but the message of Duniya Juyi Juyi, a docu-drama about Almajirai is no less effective in voicing “the perspectives and concerns” of the boys. The film, which screened at this year’s iREP International Documentary Film Festival, is largely believable considering the main cast and crew comprise nine real-life Almajirai. The young men — Ikira Mukhtar, Buhari Murtala, Anas Ali, Sadisu Salisu, Abdullahi Yahaya Sa’ad, Auwalu Mahamud, Isma’il Abdullahi, Muhammad Naziru Usman, Kabiru Idris — were trained to act, write and direct their own stories as members of this mostly-neglected arm of society.
Aminu (Ikira Mukhtar) is one of these real-life Oliver Twists and his story along with that of other students from a Qur’anic school in Kano is the pivot for relating the becoming of an Almajirai, the upsides and the down. Meeting Aminu, we discover a respectful young boy, whose father believes it is near impossible for any child to successfully become a religious scholar if he remains under the guidance or tutelage of his parents. Like many other parents, who share a similar belief, Aminu’s father (Sani Garba SK) hands his son over to a Malam (Husaini Sule Koki) at a school in a neighbouring town. Upon his graduation, Aminu is expected to return home. Bitter encounters that jolt the unwitting Aminu fill the time between study and graduation, leaving him convinced that life as an Almajirai is not the best.
He has to struggle for a place to sleep or to have his bath plus try to overcome the taunts and bullying of an older student (Auwalu Mahamud). When the Almajirai are not studying, they produce handicrafts, clean private homes and beg for food and money depending on their ages. On Aminu’s first day out with his begging bowl, someone “kindly” gives him some rotten food warranting a complaint about people giving beggars what belongs in the dustbin. “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” moans the hungry Aminu, an important lesson in life’s generally unwritten rules.
 Aminu later succeeds in finding work as a housekeeper, but his employer (Lubabatu Madaki) will not stop raining insults on him and his parents for abandoning him to a life of begging. When she fires Aminu for being a disturbance, Aminu philosophically concludes that she cares about him “only for my labour, not as a person.” But the blame is not hers alone as Aminu also takes a shot at federal leadership for not “recognising” Almajirai as “citizens of the nation.” The parents are not excluded from the blame especially as some of Aminu’s mates appear to have been dumped for good at the Qur’anic schools, clearly flouting the Malam’s admonition that parents should pay regular visits to their offspring. Oddly enough, Aminu has only a few if mostly good words for the Malam. Many in the older public however believe the Ulamas or Malams are largely responsible for making beggars and extremists of the young boys due to their own ineptitude as religious scholars.
When all hope seems lost for Aminu however, life at the ‘camp’ takes a turn for the better and our young protagonist finds himself on a comfortable plane. But the question remains whether all Almajirai are as lucky as Aminu and what point there is, if any, in thrusting a child into such a harsh and thankless life.

Duniya Juyi Juyi, which means ‘how life goes’ is a much-needed intervention for improving the Almajirai cause. As the young men themselves point out; what they want from the public is not pity, but an opportunity to prove their intelligence. The nine Almajirai, who act in and produce this film prove this point on intelligence beyond any doubt. It is difficult to fault anything in the production besides the sometimes conscious acting and the fact that the Malam does not fulfil his threat to “shackle and cane” Aminu if he attempts to escape a second time. Aminu not only tries to escape a second time, but succeeds on his third try, yet no shackling and caning.
Apart from this though, the documentary —  a joint project of the Goethe Institut Kano and the Child Almajirai Empowerment Support Initiative — is a job well done; training and equipping the Almajirai is commendable. The trainer and Script Consultant was Nasiru Bappah Muhammad.
However to state the obvious, 9 out of 9.5 million Almajirai is infinitesimal, so maybe the Model schools can handle the deficit. Maybe. Given that there is a considerable number of ‘bad’ Almajirai for every Aminu-like boy, the film itself thus becomes a communicative tool for behavioural change, making it essential that the film be screened to other Almajirai as well as the public.
Similarly, 400 concrete spaces will not support what many consider an attempt at scoring cheap political points by President Jonathan. Asides the buildings, many ask, what kind of knowledge will be cloaked under the guise of Western and religious education? Whatever the government’s motive - especially its claims of reducing the threat to national security - there is little doubt that the Almajirai, if left unattended can bloom into the menace may already fear that they are.
For those who consider the Almajirai a disturbing bunch of useless urchins and beggars with no parents or loved ones, the message of this film is simple: “Speak good about us or keep quiet,” as one of the Almajirai declares. The choice, of course, is yours. 3 Oguntona Crescent, Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos Nigeria. P.O. Box 36 Surulere. T: +234 803 425 1963, +234 802 201 6495, +234 803 403 0646 E:

Djo Munga: The Art of Pushing Boundaries in African Cinema

Interview by Belinda Otas
Culled from

“In Kinshasa, every day is a struggle and every night is a party. In a city where everything is for sale, Riva has something everyone wants.” – Djo Tunda wa Munga’s debut feature film, Viva Riva! had cinema buffs the world over in awe. Set in Kinshasa, DRC, the film depicts the country’s tumultuous existence as it chronicles the life of Riva, an ambitious mobster in the making, who returns home after spending a decade in Angola, only to find the country in dire straits as a result of fuel shortages.  What unravels is an enthralling story of frank realism that includes crime, violence, disorder, corruption and sexuality, revealing the myriad complexities ofKinshasa and its citizens. In his own words, Djo Munga and the art of pushing boundaries in African cinema. 

Belinda: Why was it important to tell the story of Viva Riva the way you did?
Djo: This was the first film in 26 years in Congo. When you realise there is no film industry in your country and you are producing the first film in 26 years, you really want to do something different and make a great film. At the same time, you want what you have to say to be personal and important and for people to understand it. In that sense I wanted to talk about the city of Kinshasa because that’s my hometown and many people can relate to it. In the global sense, it was really important to try and describe the city in a way it has never been described.  You talk about night life, the problems that we have and it is important to address certain issues and I also wanted to explore the last 13 years of the city, the war, violence and the change, you know, the new Congo, the crisis and shortage of (fuel) petrol/gas because the shortage did happen in 2001, among the other important elements that was vital to this story.
Belinda: What significant impact has it had in terms of shaping different narratives about the DRC since it was released?
Djo: We had a couple of screenings in Congo, and had close to 300/400 people and of course, we were nervous and not sure. But the response was like wow, this is us and it was like have something where you can recognise yourself. The film opened at the Durban film festival (2011) which was the official African premiere and it was the same. It was a really, really big success and people took ownership of that and the young people were saying how proud they were to have a film about themselves. Also, I think this is the first time, they may see a film where the people look like them and at the same time, it is like an art house movie – it has entertainment and is directed by an African director, with the same level/standard of an international film. The reception has been great.

Belinda: Why the name Viva Riva!? 

Djo: (Laughs) the salsa bit is very important in Congo and the term Viva, Viva La Monica, which is a popular band in theCongo and it’s a reference to Salsa. So I picked the name Viva because it is a way of praising the sense of freedom.

Belinda: I understand you come from a documentary background. I think it is fair to ask how you were able to marry a documentary background, art house and entertainment. Was it very challenging to approach the issues you bring to the fore in the film?
Djo: It was a challenge because for me, when we look at the Congo, we don’t have a cinema, we have a high level of illiteracy in the country and making a film, you want to focus on the issues and elements for the art house and at the same time, you want it to be accessible. That was the reason why I chose the genre of the film. To achieve the art house vision, it was important for it to be close to a documentary. So, it is like a thriller but in a documentary context. So we shot in Kinshasa in the mode of a documentary/style. We went on location and shot the city based on how it was. It was really delicate to balance. It was kind of a film noir vision and at the same time, an approach/take on reality.

Belinda: Viva Riva! has been described as “a tough, sturdy thriller, centred around a small-time hustler called Riva (Patsha Bay), who shows up in the fuel-starved big city with a truck of petrol he’s liberated from his Angolan gangster employers” why did you want to use the metaphor of fuel/petroleum, the lack of it and huge hunger that people have for it as the basis of your film?
Djo: Wow! That’s a question no one has ever asked me. (Laughter) I mean, there was a shortage of gas in Kinshasa in 2001, and there was also one in Zimbabwe. When there is a shortage of gas, everybody is affected because they feel trapped and when you have fuel, you can go anywhere.  So, you are kind of like in a prison in your own country. And certainly, Gas is so important that I would compare it to drug addicts. If they don’t have it, suddenly, that hunger you are talking about becomes some sort of a crisis. This is also the way to link all the stories together because everybody is kind of in the same problem. When you talk about a city and when a city is functional…not having gas can show how dysfunctional the city can be and on a bigger scale, it will show you how people can get greedy and fight for the same thing. (Hunger in society for gas could also be a hunger for change)
Belinda: It has also been described as a “gory, fast-paced gangster movie that gives a unique insight into Kinshasa’s ruthless criminal underworld.” We know about war and the reign of terror dished out by rebels on innocent civilians but we often don’t hear the narrative of violence within the scope of ongoing day-to-day life in Kinshasa. What was it about the violence and pain that we as human beings inflict on each other that you wanted to examine?

Djo: In addition to the gas story, I wanted to explore the effects of capitalism and the violence that happens in Kinshasa and in the Congo. It is a violence which is directly driven by a greed for minerals. In the civil war, for example, like the uprising that you have seen in the Arab world, it is about internal and external forces fighting against the west. In that sense, what I wanted to say about Kinshasa in the story – my tone and intention was ultimately to say Congo has a negative image. It is time to make something different and tell a different story. I want to talk about reality. So what I did was to go to the people’s level and talk about them. People have a life in Congo, every aspect of life and the life goes on and they manage to survive. But also, the violence is a way to depict… I mean…if people think capitalism is good, go to Congo, go and see the effect.
Belinda: What authenticity were you aiming to bring to the screen about ordinary life on the streets of Kinshasa?
Djo: I wanted to emphasise how people manage top cope with everything.  The film also has humour and you can see that people have desires and go about on a day to day basis and deal with all of that.

Belinda: Now you also have one scene where an Angolan is looking down on a Congolese.  Now this is one topic we as Africans are uncomfortable talking about. We will gladly talk about western colonisers but we don’t talk about the fact that we also look down on each other. Why did you want to address that issue?

Djo: Well, because we don’t talk about it and we don’t talk about ourselves and to be honest, it is very important to raise these issues. In my country where I see the UN mission, which also has many Africans, the attitude there and hierarchy is also questioning what it means to be a Pan-Africanist and be African. There is a racist attitude that we see elsewhere with white people and it is worse because they are Africans and I think all that is part of underdevelopment. The racism that we have among ourselves, the lack of empathy that we have among ourselves and the lack of everything. It is also a question of society. The film is not just about entertainment. It is also a mirror on what the society is.

Belinda: Is it too early to say that with the work you are now doing on the ground that a cultural renaissance is on the horizon?

Djo: Oh that’s too early because it is currently on the individual level and to talk about a renaissance you need to have different elements that are coming together and people coming together and pushing it… but I would love to have a renaissance but let’s see realistically if that will happen.

Belinda: When it comes to breaking barriers, especially on the issue of filming sex and sexuality in African cinema, how far did you want to push that boundary and why did you want to go there with one or two of the sex films in Viva Riva!?
Djo: I wanted to push as far as possible and what you see in the film, we are not making a porn film. Look at most African films, there is a night life and sex is part of the life of people…we have doctored ourselves for so long, it was important to me that we push and see…for example, we know that in Kinshasa, the problem of prostitution is quite huge and we have a city that is sexy in the sense that all the relationships between men and women and their sexuality is kind of rich.  So, it was okay to say we must have this in the film but the point is not around that. It was not a point about being na├»ve but about looking at Africa and saying this is now and today. And it is also a genre film and together, it worked well.
Belinda: I understand you trained everyone involved in the film. Was this because there were no trained actors and crew members and what does this say about the current state of the Congolese film industry? Or was it a case whereby you wanted an organic end product?
Djo: We have no film school or institutions, nothing. We have people who have talent but that talent is not enough. We needed to teach people how to use that talent for the camera and then it became an organic work. We had to train the actors, the technicians and that’s the way things were across the film, Viva Riva!

Belinda: You show us a busy and bustling night life despite the fact that the news media would have us believe, people are locked away in their homes as a result of fear, the raping and looting we hear so much about in the news. What do you hope your film adds to the narratives of DRC and Africa as it is today?

Djo: Well, when people ask and many people write to me and say we are really proud that you have made that film. It is also the fact that people question Nollywood and you have a lot of journalists saying this is what Nollywood should do. I think it is a sign that I brought something new. Maybe like a new direction and the fact that the film is a success and has opened in these different and many countries, US, UK, Australia and South Africa. It is also a sign that first, as an African director, we have something to say to the world and the world is ready to listen to it and Africans are also ready to listen to it. And people enjoy the film. And in terms of identity, we are building our confidence.

Belinda: Let’s talk about Africa’s famous film industry, Nollywood, why do you think it has been so successful and what do you think, it will take to show African cinema beyond Nollywood because there are other film industries  taking shape, from Ghana to Liberia?
Djo: Nollywood has been successful in terms of its ability to respond to the need of African audiences to have their own imagery on screen. That was I believe, the moment when people dreamt of Africans in the scripts even if the stories were not good, at least it was some kind of their imagery, which if you compare to certain cinema, certain art house cinema for example, they are well directed but people just don’t follow.  African cinema just didn’t have that then, it was like they failed to represent the people and so Nollywood was an answer, in order to fill a void. At the same time, Nollywood is a reduced form of quality and in that sense that didn’t work and that’s why I think Viva Riva! did so well and to so many people, it was an answer in terms of telling an African story. It is telling a story with modern entertainment, quality and imagery. I think the film was answering to that.
Belinda: The film has created a new narrative about Kinshasa. are you now under pressure for your next film to deliver?
Djo: (Laughs) no, I feel more confident in terms of wanting to push further and I am more eager to do better and put more elements. But first I feel more pressure to raise the money and to be able to make the film. It is not because there is an interest that you do it. All the elements have to come together. I feel pressured to have all the elements together.
Belinda: Will the lack of funding will be an issue for your filmmakers who will see what you have done and want to emulate you?
Djo: Of course, it is terrible that African filmmakers have to go to western countries to find money. And that is a problem and a really big problem. And I hope that at some appoint, the government of the different African countries will be able to change the attitude to funding?

Belinda: Are you working on anything at present and when should we expect another film from you?
Djo: I am working on a Chinese/Congolese story, a gangster movie also set in Kinshasa and. It is also a look at what is Africa today?

Judy Kibinge: African Filmmakers Don’t Have to Be Followers, We Can Be Leaders!

Judy Kibinge is an award-winning Kenya writer and filmmaker. With a background in advertising, Kibinge is the founder of Seven, a production outfit based in Nairobi. Her films include The Aftermath and Dangerous Affair, which has been described as ‘one of the most important films in Kenya’s film history’. She has also produced a number of documentaries, including A Voice In The Dark and Bless This Land. In our interview, Kibinge tells me why she thinks African filmmakers need to be leaders and not followers.

Belinda: How would you describe the current state of African cinema?

Judy Kibinge: Like many African filmmakers, I make both documentary and narrative films, and whilst initially better known for my narrative work, thanks to films like Dangerous Affair in 2002, which really redefined for aspiring Kenyan filmmakers the kinds of stories, we were “free” to tell. I have been recognised a lot in the last four or five years for films like Peace Wanted Alive, Coming of Age and Headlines in History, which are all documentary films. I find it difficult to generally talk about African Cinema because conditions are different in different countries. What’s happening in Nigeria isn’t what’s happening in South Africa, Egyptian Cinema is worlds away from Kenyan cinema, and to try and summarise it like that is to really simplify a fairly complex market. In Nigeria, I think what is beginning to happen may be the model for the future: Nollywood began as a frenzy of low budget videos, created by businessmen more than filmmakers, and now I feel that a very competitive market has begun to demand better quality and you see very well crafted and shot films beginning to emerge like Kunle Afolayan’s The Figurine. Producers are beginning to really understand the need to do better.  The old Francophone begging bowl model is unsustainable even though the films that come from that region are beautiful, and artistic, whose eye and whose tastes do they pander from?  Who’s paying for those “high art” Francophone films?  Who’s watching them?  I think that filmmakers are beginning to really think about the stories they want to tell, how they are going to sustainably finance their creation, and so on. I’d therefore beware of a forced generalisation but would say and see this stage of African as a period of TRUE AWAKENING. Or maybe I’m just trying to sound romantic.

Belinda: And how you describe the current state of the film industry in Kenya?

Judy Kibinge: It’s very exciting.  There are different kinds of filmmakers and different kinds of films are being made, which is great. I’ve begun to see a lot more people experimenting with shorts, more documentaries and more features.  Ten years ago, we were lucky if one feature got made every four or five year.  Now, there are a few each year, of varying production values. Riverwood, which is Kenyans answer to Nollywood is very vibrant and like Nollywood driven by the businessmen.  They have pretty much cracked the distribution system for vernacular films in particular. They understand their market and have come up with methods to tackle piracy and somehow have their audiences understanding that they need to buy originals – and originals are available. These films are made for lower budgets and successful ones like The Race have had real and constant returns. On the other hand, there are the bigger budget films that the press writes about, films that do the festival rounds – From a Whisper by Wanuri Kahiu, Soul Boy by Hawa Essuman, Togetherness Supreme by Nathan Collette, Ndoto za Elbidi by Nick & Kamau wa Ndungu.  These films aspire to be shown on the big screen, are shot more cinematically, have high production values, but the filmmakers really don’t understand their markets or have a distribution systems they can plug into.  I include myself in that bracket of filmmakers.

Belinda: Is the international film market/industry now more open to narratives from the continent by Africans and on their terms?

Judy Kibinge: I think the international film market is always interested in new narratives be they from Africa, Asia, India, Korea, and Eastern Europe or wherever. I don’t think Africa is a special case. It’s the African filmmaker who has to start producing these films consistently so that we hit a critical mass of films that get our own local audiences used to buying and supporting and looking forward to our films.  We can’t build an industry by solely focusing on satisfying an international itch, as gratifying as receiving global recognition and accolades is. I felt Viva Riva was and is a great film in that it has made the west sit up and will probably allow the filmmaker greater ease in accessing his next funding, and its also woken up international interest in African film. But can Viva Riva make back its money in its own region or continent?  That is the question that really matters.  A great case in point is the Oscar Winning film Tsotsi that reputedly did not achieve high ticket sales in South Africa, whereas Ralph Zimman’s Jerusalema, which didn’t get an Oscar managed to cover the cost of its production within its own market.  Kunle Afolyan’s The Figurine made half of its $400,000 budget back within its own market, Nigeria in just a few weeks.  When such film go onto DVD, the filmmaker can realistically look forward to asking a few million dollars back, because Nigerians love their own movies AND have a huge population and in the diaspora that will buy the film.

Belinda: Funding and distribution are still two very challenging areas for African filmmakers, why and how can this be corrected?

Judy Kibinge: Riverwood handling it very well, but larger budget films struggle, caught between the dream of cinema audiences and dwindling audiences, and the price competition when they go straight to DVD. Funding, South Africa has shown us all how a strong film commission is vital to the health of a strong film industry.  Their mandate includes funding and training and South African filmmakers have multiple opportunities open to them thanks to a commission and industry that has lobbied government and I believe also private sector banks to look at films as investments with possibilities of huge returns.  When you watch award winning independent features and shorts from Europe, America and Canada you are immediately aware of how many funds are available to filmmakers in their own countries, even those countries with vibrant industries.  So government without a doubt has a role to play and will do that more once they realise what a huge economic opportunity a vibrant film sector is for the country and exchequer too.  When we DO receive film funds they aren’t exclusive to our own countries, we are competing with the world for them.  For instance, we applied to and didn’t get funding from last year’s Jan Vrieman documentary fund, with what we felt was an incredibly strong treatment, one which recently won the East African ZIFF documentary pitch.  But when they wrote back explaining that only six percent of all applications manage to get selected, you realise that it might not be your skills as a filmmaker, but the opportunities for funding available to you. But let’s also examine ourselves and what WE can do. We too, as filmmakers have a role to play by joining and supporting our film associations and thus having strong bodies with which to advocate for the kinds of support we need.  Our governments here in Africa are changing from the sleepy bearcats to occasionally open-minded ones.  We need to take advantage too of the huge IT leaps being made in Africa and draw confidence from these huge leaps and realise we don’t have to always be followers, we can be leaders too. Maybe the answer to distribution will come from mobile phone content providers.  After all, this continent uses its phones in the most innovative ways on the planet – Kenya invented the first mobile phone banking system, for instance, and that model is now being exported to the Western world.  We just need and therefore use technology differently.  So lets be open minded – the solutions are somewhere out there.

Belinda: How has setting up your own film company helped you to establish yourself as a filmmaker within Kenya and gain international recognition for your work?

Judy Kibinge: I freelanced for six years and have run a film company for five. The first five years were spent in a complete daze, totally traumatised by new terms like audited accounts and balance sheets and company secretary and all the things that you don’t have to deal with either as an employee or a freelancer. After the fourth year, you emerge, dazed, feel your hands, face, body to make sure your limbs have not been wrenched off you in the spiral through the 1000 days it takes to determine whether a business will sink or swim. I kid you not:  it’s hard to be a filmmaker AND run your own production company; there are bills, rent, salaries and expenses.  But on the other hand you are able to begin to build a credible brand and also begin to own your own work, shape your own projects and products.  I think you can do this as a freelancer too, but having an office allows you to be able to bring in some of the corporate jobs that keep you going when you are not working on a creative film – which sadly, is most of the time.  I am not sure if having a film company enables dreams or erects obstacles in front of them.  The jury is out on that one!  I think to be truly successful, my company would need to be home to a larger, but still select group of producer’s directors and editors who call it home and within it find a space to innovate and grow in, and also contribute to company overheads. Having a film company hasn’t helped, aided or prevented international recognition, but it’s been a place to get up and go to dream and plan and work from everyday and that can’t be a bad thing.  I think sometimes, freelance filmmakers can waste a lot of time dreaming because there’s no fear of survival keeping them going. When you have a company, you have to justify your existence and so you keep producing so not a year goes by, ever, without having something to show for that year. You also feel a sense of pride that the thing you are building is something slightly larger than yourself. But I think you can achieve just as much far more even, without a company.  In the end it all boils down to the films you make.

Belinda: What more can African filmmakers do to up their game?

Judy Kibinge: We as African filmmakers aren’t exposed to enough wonderful global independent films.  They are hard to see or find.  I have been very fortunate in last two years to have had some opportunity for the first time in my filmmaking career to see really see great art house films, and this will influence my next films I am certain. Sometimes there’s snobbery amongst African filmmakers who feel “we must find our own voice, we don’t have to watch other people’s thing”.  I think that’s bollocks.  Some of the best read people in the world are writers and novelists, and as African filmmakers, maybe we need to form small friendly film clubs and exchange the few DVDs we have amongst us so we begin to enjoy talking to each other about films and global film trends, so we become part of a larger brotherhood and sisterhood of filmmakers. We need to read more too.  I think that reading informs so many things – films, structure and so on. We also need to be more aware of the world around us, the uniqueness of our stories.  I have been watching Eastern European films lately and for instance watched a short Polish film about Killing.  The landscape and the characters, I was totally glued.  No wonder it won so many awards.  But in our own backyards we have stories and backdrops and characters that would enthral not only our home-grown audiences, but the world. We need to have confidence in or surroundings to up our game.

Culled from 3 Oguntona Crescent, Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos Nigeria. P.O. Box 36 Surulere. T: +234 803 425 1963, +234 802 201 6495, +234 803 403 0646 E:

ICS Hosts 2012 Africa World Documentary Film Festival

The Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University is hosting
this year’s “Africa World Documentary Festival” from 2nd to the 5th May,

The event will be formally declared open by the Vice Chancellor,
Prof. Bamitale Omole at 11:00 a. m on Wednesday 2nd of May  at the Pit

Thereafter, the screening of  films continue at the Pit Theatreand Seminar Room of the Institute of Cultural Studies each day.
In all, about 30 Documentary Films on different aspects of African life,
ancient and contemporary, have been listed for exhibition.  The Festival
is being organized in collaboration with the Centre for International
Studies, University of Missouri, Saint Louis, U.S.A.  

 Apart from its  recreational and educational benefits to staff and students, it will
afford scholars and film makers in Nigeria an opportunity to reflect on
different issues of African existence and essence, being raised in the
films, ranging from politics to religion, environment, gender, arts,
culture and so on.
The Institute is, therefore, soliciting for the participation of all and
sundry in this innovative programme.

Gbemisola Adeoti (Ph.D)
Ag. Director
Institute of Cultural Studies
Obafemi Awolowo University
Ile Ife. 3 Oguntona Crescent, Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos Nigeria. P.O. Box 36 Surulere. T: +234 803 425 1963, +234 802 201 6495, +234 803 403 0646 E:

Friday, April 27, 2012

IRONEATERS screens tomorrow at old Film unit, Lagos; 3pm. FREE Entry

We cordially invite you to the Film-Club Screening of 'IRONEATERS', directed by Shaheen Dill-Riaz, 2009, Germany. Duration: 85 min (OV with English subtitles)

 DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2012,

 TIME: 3 pm

 VENUE: Nigerian Film Corporation Lagos Branch, Old Film Unit, opp. Ikoyi Cemetery, Ikoyi, Lagos

 Free entrance!

 It is the continuation of the Monthly Screening collaboration between the iREP Documentary Film Forum and Goethe Institut, Lagos.

 About the Film:
 Every year, the ebb and flow of the Ganges floodplain leaves farmers in northern Bangladesh in need of employment to help them survive the yearly droughts. Many of them travel hundreds of miles south to the shores of Chittagong to labor in one of Bangladesh's most prosperous industries, dismantling colossal ships and tankers — the discards of the developed world — for scrap iron. Director Shaheen Dill-Riaz's documentary confronts us with an elaborate system of exploitation and dependence. Especially the ones that do the most dangerous and hardest work, got into a hopeless debt trap, that only few can escape.

 We hope to see you there! 
 Kind regards,  

Kim Docter 
Intern Programme Department
Goethe-Institut NigeriaGerman Cultural Centre Lagos
City Hall, Catholic Mission Street opposite Holy Cross Cathedral
Lagos IslandLagos
+234 (0)1 7746888Mobile: +234(0)8026618287 

Lanre OluponaIREP13, Oguntona Street, Gbagada Phase 11, Lagos
08051702004 (sms only) 3 Oguntona Crescent, Gbagada Phase 1, Lagos Nigeria. P.O. Box 36 Surulere. T: +234 803 425 1963, +234 802 201 6495, +234 803 403 0646 E: