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Award winning film maker speaks on Nollywood, content, others




Abuja, April 15, 2019 Nollywood for some time now has been creating buzz in the global entertainment scene with films such as ‘The Lion Heart,’ King of Boys’, `The Wedding Party’ and `Up North’ getting positive ratings.

In spite of this feat, some players in the industry believe more needs to be done in terms of contents and productions for further global acceptance.

One of such players is Imoh Umoren, an award winning filmmaker known for his socially conscious work, especially producing the first black and white silent film in Nollywood ‘Hard Times’ which won an Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) in 2015.

Umoren, whose latest work ‘Lagos: Sex, Lies and Traffic’ x-rays the life of an average Lagosians amidst the running story of a political poster boy, had a chat with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

He maintained that the Nollywood audience wanted better films and expressed his joy at the new crop of film makers coming up to fill the quality gap.

Nigerian filmmaker, Imoh Umoren

Below are excerpts:

Your films are very socially conscious and deal with tough issues, what inspired this?

I am inspired by real life. I observe life and I have gone through a lot of heartache, losing my parents, my siblings.I have had a sad life. I once even lost my dog when I was off to school and my cousin’s girlfriend poisoned it. It broke my heart.

So yeah, going through so much pain myself has opened me to the feelings of others and what they go through. So I make films that relate to our humanity.

My characters are usually vulnerable people struggling with their confidence and with life. I mean I don’t set out to make movies with a social message or things like that. I just write them based on experiences I have been through or observed.

I have also made some bland comedies I must confess mostly TV shows with one-dimensional characters because sometimes people just need a bunch of clowns on TV running around doing absolutely nothing.

I used to disdain people that make it. I still do but sometimes the people need to be entertained and not worry about an incompetent government or lack of electricity. But primarily, I tell deep stories because that’s what I am here for mostly.

Do you think Nigerians are as interested in your kind of edgy conscious works compared to other genres?

Nigerians are bored with the films we offer them lets be honest. We have well shot bare stories of people sitting on the couch and talking to each other; everyone gets tired of that.

Our viewers are very sophisticated now. We watch Game of Thrones and horror movies, you should know we want more.

I am glad there are lots of good filmmakers in Nollywood now, so though we had envisioned a quick revolution, I guess we will settle for slow and steady but the business is moving. Better films are coming out daily.

Tell us about Lagos: Sex, Lies and Traffic; the inspiration and message in the film?

Last year Mnet approached me to pitch a couple of film Ideas to them. I had developed the film three years ago really. So I sent them a bunch of ideas and they loved that and we agreed to make it into a film.

I don’t know if there’s a message behind the film as much as it is an expository. And basically, you can sum up Lagos in those three words Sex,Lies and Traffic.

People have sex with such intensity around here you will think mankind is about to go extinct and we are trying to repopulate, we are lied to by preachers, presidents and Ponzi schemes and in all of this you are stuck in traffic.

Lagos:Sex,Lies and Traffic is a parallel story of the lives of people from different backgrounds that eventually merged.

A poster boy politician gets his mistress pregnant and they have to cover it up or his political ambition is in jeopardy.

So in this film we have drug dealers, prostitutes, politicians, area boys, corrupt police men, taxi drivers; essentially everyone you will meet in Lagos.

But there’s a lot of political undertones in the film. I hope it doesn’t go over the people’s heads.

How was the production process like – challenges and smooth sails?

Making a film is easy. Know what else is easy? open heart surgery. Films are difficult to make even bad ones but I started out by getting a co-writer for the script Gbemisola Afolabi.

I realised I wanted to make a film that touched all aspects of the city and I didn’t want to write it solely from my own point of view and amazingly she brought angles that I didn’t even think of (if you watch the scene in the hairdresser salon you’ll understand).

Storywise, I think Lagos:Sex,Lies and Traffic will be one of the best ones this year.

How does this project differ from your other works?

Lagos:Sex,Lies and Traffic is different because I have stories that run concurrently through the film.

My typical style is usually one primary thread from top to bottom because I never want viewers to be let off the intensity of a character by offering subplots that softens it.

So the subplots of those ones lead right back to the line of fire. It is also my second film I’ve collaborated on in terms of writing. I also did that with club.

I don’t want to be the agony uncle of Nollywood. I have people still trying to kill me off ‘The Happyness Limited’ and ‘Children of Mud’ so if you follow my work you will see the difference.

As an Indie director, what has the experience been working in the Nigerian industry?

The film industry around here has a low entry threshold and that’s why we have a lot of mediocrity. And that has been my problem.

Everybody and their grandfathers want to make films and so we are sometimes looped into the same category you hear comments like “You Nollywood people no dey try” because for every good film there are 1000 mediocre films.

So setting myself apart has been a challenge and it’s unnecessary because if there’s a standard then you don’t have to do anything over the top to stand out.

We are still grappling over the basics and that’s what hurts. I sometimes get tired of working in an entry-level business

If there is anything you can change in the movie industry, what would that be and why?

Distributors not taking any financial risks. The filmmaker takes all the risks, sources money, makes the film, pays the actors and crew, secures distribution, spends a lot of money pushing the film and if that film tanks then it’s all on you and not the distributor.

People reserving the juicy dates for their film releases of films they haven’t even shot. It’s tragic.


BBNaija (S4): Khafi wins N7.6m car



Housemate, Khafi Kareem has won a 7.6 million Naira IVM Fox car in the ongoing BBNaija season four.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Khafi won the car prize during the ‘Proudly Nigerian’ challenge on Saturday.

The challenge, sponsored by Nigerian brand, Innosson Motors, tasked housemates to present their Nigerian stories and highlight the beauty of being Nigerian.

During the first round, housemates gave passioned presentations on their Nigerian story, however, Khafi’s Excellent and inspiring presentation got viewers emotional.

At the end of the first round, housemates were asked to pull ribbons attached to the Innosson car. Those who dropped the ribbons were disqualified.

After some housemates were distracted by Pizza and noise, Khafi, Mercy, Cindy and Jackye were the last ones standing.

reports that the other women eventually dropped their ribbon, leaving Khafi to win the coveted prize.

Reacting to her win, Khafi said she loved the red colour and the car would be her first.

Fans have taken to social media to congratulate her and pass remarks about her moving speech.

@Juliet_ said, “Congrats Khafi, a win well deserved. Proudly Nigerian indeed.”

@Miracle tweeted, “She was the first that entered into that car and blow the horn of the car,she had one of the best speech,she is the deserving winner,kudus baby girl,I am happy u won.”

@Tessyme said, “She waz Determined from start.. And thanked God for her first car even before wining it. Am happy for her.”

@Chanty4 said, “Salute to the Nigerian spirit. Salute to Khafi. Congratulations to the last four. #BBNaijia #BBNaijaPepperDem.”


Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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Mr Nigeria bags 5 talent awards at the grand finale of Mr World in Philippines



The 24-year-old  Mr Nigeria, Nelson Enwerem, late on Friday in Manila  in the Philippines  won  five talent awards in the  just concluded Mr World pageant. .

A correspondent  of the Nigeria News Agency correspondent, who monitored the contest on cable network  from Lagos, also reports that Jack Heslewood of England emerged the new Mr World 2019.

Heslewood defeated  71 other candidates during the grand  finale to become the 10th Mr World.

NAN reports that the  27-year-old model  also won  an award for his  impressive drumming, had now  succeeded India’s 29-year-old, Rohit Khandelwal, who had just completed his three-year-old reign

Enwerem, a model and fashion designer, who won the talent award of  being the best in graceful contemporary dance, told NAN from the  Philippines that he was grateful to Nigerians and his sponsors.

“I just want to say a very big thank you to everyone who supported my journey. God bless everyone, I tried my best to represent our country which I’m very sure I did extremely well.

“Unfortunately,  I didn’t win but everyone who watched the show or was at the event and everyone who competed with us is very aware that the results ain’t fair,” he said.

According to him, all I can say right now is that I’m thankful to God, Silverbird organization, my family and friends and every Nigerian out there for making this experience worth it for me.

NAN reports that though Mr Nigeria did not make the list of  the first five  topmost contestants, but Fezile Mkhize, (black) from South Africa did.

Mkhize emerged  the first runner up and won the  Mr World Africa title.

The biennial event, which was held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, Aug. 23, had Mexico’s Brian Faugier, as  the second runner up.

Bet Saliva  from the Philippines went away  with  Mr World Asia title.

The five countries that made it to the finals were:  Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, South Africa and current champion, England.

NAN also reports that Enwerem was one of the 13 young men that represented Africa at the Mr World competition in the  Philippines.

The other African countries with that featured participants are:  Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Ethiopia, Guinea Bisau, Kenya, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan and Nigeria.

This 2019 edition of Mr World held in the Philippines is the 10th.

The global  title holder is expected to travel around  the world as a charity  ambassador.

The Mr World  competition is a biennial  event  and the male beauty pageant sponsored by the Miss World Organisation.The competition was  founded in 1996 .

Edited by Abiemwense Moru

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BBNaija (S4): ‘Omashola TV’ steals the show



Omashola Oburoh, a housemate in the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality show, has stunned fans with his creative project, ‘Omashola TV’.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Omashola’s makeshift television was part of the wager presentation by his group, ‘The Icons’.

Video Source; Dstv

Omashola designed the television entirely from scrap, waste material in line with the theme of the wager task.

The innovation earned him praise from other housemates, especially Mike who specially congratulated him.

Fans also shared their thoughts on Twitter.

@Halimasucre said, “Omashola’s Box Tv Dey burst my brain.He creatively thought out of the Box totally!

“We #TeamOmashola never saw this coming! I Re Stan my Stanship! I’m Very Proud of You Omashola! Go Icons #theicons.”

@Rainebe tweeted, “That is a strong exhibition of a true winner who is fighting so hard to win a deserving tittle and Price.

“It takes only people with genuine judgement to see how necessary it is to root, support and sponsor Omashola to win.”

@Egedec said, “Well Deserved victory icons. Very creative items ( ready to buy) omashola’s TV great prototype bill board for every shop in the streets. I learnt a lot. Items, presentation and good spirit. #BBNaija”

@MissBarosi wrote, “Omashola’s tv was mind blowing,unexpected. The fact that it changed channels, that was a Bomb.”

NAN reports that Ike’s handmade chess board was another highlight of the wager presentation.

He collaborated with Cindy and Khafi to paint and make chess miniatures from waste materials.

The team had their third win in a row on Thursday, following their last wager and nomination task win.


Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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19-year-old Nigerian visual artist showcases Fela’s ‘Beast of No Nation’



19-year-old artist, Emediong Uko has turned Fela’s acclaimed ‘Beast of no Nation’ song into an expressive painting.

‘Beast of No Nation’ is the first song Fela wrote in 1986, after he was liberated from prison—serving two years from a five year prison sentence for trumped-up foreign currency violation charges.

In May, Emediong’s painting of music legend, ‘Lagbaja’ became the first African work to be displayed at the Cyprus Modern Art Museum.

The Akwa Ibom born artist is the youngest and only African artist to have her work exhibited at the museum, which is the largest in the Mediterranean region.

At her recent exhibition, Emediong also unveiled another Fela-inspired work, ‘Shuffering and Smiling’ to celebrate the strength of Nigerians.

In an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday, she said the painting is aimed at drawing attention to leadership lapses that need to be fixed in the country, while retaining Fela’s earlier message.

She said, “I decided to depict the essence of the song. It spoke about the leaders and how they need to do better at leadership.

“I did the painting in about a week this summer, 2019. I want the painting to spark conversations and I hope it inspires people.”

Emediong is known for using musical influences in her art and revealed that she loves every music genre with a message.

On Fela’s influence on new wave musicians, she noted that they are Fela-inspired in a way, from their sounds to lyrics.

She said, “These artists are Fela inspired in a way, especially Burna boy. His piece on the Beyonce album has some Fela-infused vibes.

“We are creating Africa and we are the ones reaching out. In this post colonial times, we are creating ourselves by ourselves.”

NAN reports that Emediong recently auctioned 17 paintings with themes on motherhood, music and nature.


Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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NIBCARD designs `Wan Wan Touch’ board game on street football



Mr Kenechukwu Ogbuagu, Creative Director NIBCARD says the team has designed a new board game titled, `Wan Wan Touch” as part of the awareness campaign for street football in the Country.

Ogbuagu gained acclaim, in 2018, for leading the campaign and eventually, opening Nigeria’s first board games cafe with his team NIBCARD.

In an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday, he noted that the street football game titled ‘Wan Wan Touch’ was designed to help adults revisit their childhood memories.

“It can be played by two to four players and takes between 30-60 minutes to play and is suitable for anyone from the age of seven years and above.

“The game idea came up during a board game hangout we hosted. One of the players jokingly talked about the football game we usually played on the street when we were still younger.

“The process has brought back a lot of feelings from the past – memories I thought were forgotten. Also, this game has been a force for better design and production from everyone in the team.

“This is also our first 3D board game. And we are really excited about it. Really excited,” he said.

According to him, he wants the world to appreciate the growing board game community in Nigeria, especially through the ‘Wan Wan Touch’ game.

On the reason for setting up a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo, Ogbuagu said that he wanted backers to expand the Nigerian board game industry.

He said, “These successes has helped us introduced over 15,000 people to Tabletop Gaming directly and even much more through our online activities (and in different countries too).

“We have also handmade and distributed more than 7,000 games since 2016.

“With their backing, we hope to make better tabletop games and inspire more people in Nigeria to join the hobby, we can never do it alone,” he said.

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