Directors & Producers

Nigerian film-maker Jeta Amata to shoot $15 million movie in Haiti

by NMN (Staff) / 1,540 Views

International Nigerian film-maker, Jeta Amata, is currently shooting a $15million USD movie in Haiti, Nigeria Movie Network have gathered. The feature film is dedicated to the life of Toussaint Louverture and is titled "Emperor: The Story of Toussaint l'Ouverture".

Haiti President Michel Martelly and Jeta Amata 

It is imperative to note that Haiti President Michel Martelly has also named Jeta Amata a Goodwill Ambassador of the country. The naming ceremony took place recently on February 4, in Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city of the Caribbean country of Haiti.

In a press statement released by the Haitian President Michel Martelly; it mentioned that some proceeds from the film's profits will be used to fund restoration of historic sites in Haiti that were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.

The film chronicles the life, loves and battles of Toussaint l’Ouverture, who founded the world’s first independent black republic in Haiti by ousting both the Spaniards and Napoleon’s French army. In an unprecedented war of wills, the film follows the clash between Catholicism and Voodoo, inspired warfare, international politics, the eternal love triangle and the conflict between every shade of color in the small Caribbean nation.

Some of the Nigerian movies Jeta Amata directed and produced are Black
Gold, Black November, Inale, Queen, Last Game, Ultimate Crisis; just to name a few. He is the ideal messiah in Nollywood when it comes to film-making. Jeta Amata is no doubt the best movie director to come out of Nigeria; his amazing work speaks for him.

The Haitian movie titled "Emperor: The Story of Toussaint l'Ouverture" that Jeta Amata is working on, is currently in pre-production as at the time Nigeria Movie Network wrote about it, and is now listed on IMDB (The Internet Movie Database).

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by NMN (Staff) / 15,622 Views


Born October 10, 1975 in Nigeria, Tchidi Chikere is a consummate filmmaker and one of the leading producers in Nollywood. Learn more about Tchidi Chikere biography below. 

Tchidi is a graduate of the University of Calabar with over 50 films to his credit. Tchidi who hails from Mbaise Imo State, is also a musician. He has had duets with Marvellous Benji, OJB Jezreel and Pat Attah.

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Nollywood producer set to release Nigerian gay movie

by NMN (Staff) / 1,554 Views

A Nollywood producer and director, Dickson Iroegbu is getting ready to release his latest movie called 'Law 58', a movie about homosexuality in Nigeria and its consequences. The movie features Kanayo O Kanayo, Clarion Chukwurah, Halima Abubakar etc and will be released next month.

Dickson Iroegbu, Nollywood Producer
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Teco Benson - Nollywood Director

by NMN (Staff) / 2,060 Views

Teco Benson has maintained a very strong track record in the Nigerian movie industry since 1997 when his directing career began. Originally a civil servant, Teco Benson came into the movie industry in 1994 as an actor.

Teco Benson (Nollywood Director)
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Mirror for the resurgence of Nollywood -Obi Emelonye

by NMN (Staff) / 1,711 Views

Director Obi Emenloye has been talking up the uniqueness of his film, ‘The Mirror Boy’ which premieres in Nigeria on August 5. Starring Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme, Ugandan Edward Kagutuzi and Gambian Fatima Jabbe amongst others, the movie has beenshown to appreciative audiences in the UK, Gambia and Ghana.

An adventure movie, ‘The Mirror Boy’ is about a London boy taken back to The Gambia, his mother’s country, as punishment for getting involved in a street fight. He gets lost in a forest in the West African country while following a mystery boy first sighted in a mirror and later in a crowded market in Banjul.

For the young
The London-based director, who was in town recently to promote the movie, said he made the film to cater to a section of Nollywood often overlooked in productions. “First, it is not often that you see Nollywood stories told from the point of view of a young person. I wanted to tell a story from the point of view of a young person to see if you can capture a younger audience for Nollywood. We wanted to see if we can appeal to them because they are the future of the industry. The second was observing my son who is seven in the UK trying to balance his dual nationality. At school he is a British boy; at home he is a Nigerian boy.

For some people it’s very confusing, especially if there is no father-figure to help them cope. So, I tried to explore the disconnect between first generation Africans and maybe first and second generation children born in the Diaspora. We are trying to tell those children, including the ones in Africa, that Africa might not be perfect but this is where you are from. At the end, our protagonist fell in love with Africa in spite of all the problems he encountered. He discovered who he was.”

Going to Gambia
Though Nigerian filmmakers shoot at locations in the West and parts of Africa, Emenloye scored a first by shooting a significant part of ‘The Mirror Boy’ in The Gambia and the remaining scenes in the UK. The Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who also studied and practised Law in the UK, originally wanted to shoot the movie at the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State. He had earlier met the state’s commissioner for tourism and written a proposal requesting logistic support. Things didn’t work out when Cross River lost some of its oil wells to Akwa Ibom and thus could not support his venture. Luckily, the actress Fatima Jabbe facilitated shooting in The Gambia.

“She said why don’t you come to Gambia? She said, ‘Give me a list of what you want and I will make it happen.’ The next day she called me and I spoke to the president. He said we don’t have money but we will give you what we have. In fact, they did more than they promised. A lot of people said they gave us money, there was no money but what they gave us was more than money. We are very grateful to the president of Gambia and we hope that other African leaders can emulate that to help midwife a new emergence in African cinema.”

Shooting the movie in the tiny, tourism-driven West African country, the director disclosed, was stress-free. “80 percent of the film was shot in Gambia with the support of the president so that reduced our stress. I live in the UK and the bulk of the crew came from the UK. It was Genevieve and some few others that came to London for the London bit. We shot 10 days in Gambia and three days in London.”

New resurgence
Emenloye, who played professional football with Rangers and Julius Berger and had trials with Charlton Athletics and West Ham United in the UK before committing himself fully to filmmaking, is happy with what he has achieved with ‘The Mirror Boy’ so far. Earlier this year, Kagutuzi won a statuette at the AMAA Awards for Best Young Actor while Genevieve Nnaji recently won Best Breakthrough Artist at the Monaco Film Festival. The movie’s run at the cinema in the UK and its potential impact also gladdens the director’s heart.

“Nollywood has stagnated a little bit but there is a new resurgence and I’m happy that ‘The Mirror Boy’ has taken this resurgence to a broader audience, especially with what we have done in the UK where we have been in the cinema for three weeks. We had a premiere in Ghana and it went very well. We have another coming up in Kenya, South Africa and the US.

We are trying to take this film around because we want people to see it. It’s a good spiritual journey and for children who have not been opportune to come to Africa, it shows them what it is like. It is not a perfect picture but it is a beautiful place and it shows who we are. This is where we have connection. We mention umbilical cord a lot in the movie and it is because we are connected to our land by that umbilical cord. Whether it is beautiful, hot, cold or unsafe, this is where we are from and it’s a beautiful place.”

Top cast
The director also discloses the motivation behind his casting. According to him, “Genevieve is a very committed actress and has shown herself to be at the top of her game. When I was writing the script, I knew that barring contractual and scheduling difficulties, she was going to play the role and she delivered with aplomb. I wrote the role for Osita. There was a temptation to bring Aki and Pawpaw together but I felt they would bring a lot of baggage from their past so I needed to separate them and use Osita because of the way he looks. I wanted a cheeky mischievous face on this mystical character.

“Edward Kagutuzi was the most difficult to cast because we were looking for a 12-year-old boy who can carry the film. It was very difficult, we had two auditions and weren’t any closer until an agent sent us Edward’s photograph. Edward was 19 at the time but looked 12. He was in first year at the university and as soon as we saw him, we felt he would bring certain level of interpretation to what is a child’s role.”

On why the film is premiering in Nigeria last, the director, whose next movie is going to be shot on 3D in Tinapa, Cross River State, said, “We chose Nigeria last because this is our biggest constituency. Everything we have done in Ghana and the UK is in preparation for this because we learnt from those experiences.”

Written by Akintayo Abodunrin Read more »

Emem Isong’s Rise To Stardom, Nollywood producer

by NMN (Staff) / 3,191 Views

For her, writing scripts and producing movies is the core of film production. She has been doing these for over a decade, with recognitions from both home and abroad. She equally made some Nollywood stars that have become part of the most sought after in the industry today. SEGUN ADEBAYO, in this piece, takes a look at the rise to stardom of Emem Isong, who dumped Banking for movie production.

NOT many female producers and scriptwriters in the movie industry come close to Emem when it comes to movie production. She has used her beauty and poise to endear herself into the hearts of many film lovers. She is no doubt, a film maker with a distinct. To her, the passion she had when she was in school studying Theatre Arts was influential to the height she has attained so far as a movie producer cum script writer.

Since she broke into the industry in 1994, Emem has written and produced over 25 movies, some of which have left praises on the lips of her ever increasing fans, both home and abroad. Emem's movies have brought her to an enviable position among her contemporaries. Her movies have, for many years, won her awards both nationally and internationally. She has written scripts that got many scampering for her productions.

Few weeks ago, Emem marked her 15th year anniversary celebration, an event that had the big wigs in the movie industry in attendance. They came in large numbers to shower encomiums on her for her continued role in taking the industry to another level.

Monalisa Chinda described Emem as a woman of substance who is ready to do everything to get her to a meaningful level. “Emem Isong is a producer that every artists would want to work with, she is a wonderful woman who has given a lot to this industry. The little we are doing today is just to show our appreciation to a woman of vision, we are proud of her that is why we are throwing our weight behind her”.

Aside turning an outstanding movie producer, Emem equally writes scripts.“I am a very determined person, I will never take no for an answer, no matter how hard the situation may present itself. When you challenge me by telling me this is not feasible or I can't do it that is when I begin to tick”, she said.

With awards and recognition trickling in, Emem said she was not losing sleep over all these and averred that “It tells me that I have to keep on working hard because it pays. I have to keep at it so that I will remain on top of my game”.

Emem had always been fascinated by the movie making business for a long time. She studied Theartre Arts at the University of Calabar.

Even when many of her contemporaries in the industry had left, owing to challenges and circumstances which they described as unbecoming, Emem Isong has worked greatly and paid her dues when the industry was not booming like it is now. She recalls that “film making is a new industry in Nigeria and people did not take it seriously then, but now they are beginning to see that the industry is becoming bigger and booming.

“You can see what all these corporate organisastions are doing to encourage us. In fact, evidence is President Goodluck Jonathan's largesse towards enriching and appreciating what we are doing”.

Speaking on her turbulent moments, Emem described the period as being difficult, she reminisced that she would never forget how she pounded the streets looking for sponsors.

“I had no car then. One day, exhausted, broke and disappointed by a prospective sponsor, I went to see a cousin of mine who was living in Ikoyi.

I wanted to collect some money from him for transport fare and other things. When I got there, I found out he had traveled. It was at this point that I sat on his doorstep and began to wail.

“Its funny now, but it was no laughing matter then. I managed somehow to get back to my house and crawled under the bedcovers where I started weeping again. I was so tired, depressed and fed-up.It was then that my kid sister, Uduak Isong-Oguamanam, who was on holidays from in University, suggested that I ask my parents for the money. I didn't think that was a good idea as they were retired civil servants and didn't think they could sponsor the film. She insisted that I called them. I did, weeping and recounting my tales of woe. To my surprise, my parents said they would give me N60,000 as contribution towards the shooting of my film”.

She denied rumours making rounds about her closeness with Desmond Eliot. The actor has co-produced a number of films with Emem, some of which have won many awards. A development that has got many talking. “He's always in most of my films because he is an actor I respect very much. We have been friends for a long time, so what is wrong if we do movies together? “As a matter of fact I don't like responding to unnecessary gossip,” she stated.

Emem who combines the rich cultural roots of the Ibibio people and her degree in Theater arts to churn out good scripts describes herself as '' a dramatic. I love dramatic events and I don't want a situation where you predict what will happen next.''

''I also love dialogue and I pay a lot of attention to detail, I expect viewers to be thrilled,'' she says, continuing: `If you watch all my movies, you will see what I am saying.

Describing her success, Emem says it was ''Hit and Run” that made people notice what I could do. But the one that made me happiest was “Emotional Crack”, which took me to festivals outside the country, particularly the African Film Festival in New York. I was invited and there, I met a lot of film-makers. That is the one that gave me the break that I needed.''

On how she selects artists out of the increasing numbers flooding the industry on a daily basis, she admits that poor economic growth is no doubt taking its toll on the industry, but they have a body looking at that. “That is one of the reasons youths in the country see showbiz as a quick means to become famous and rich, but we are trying to contain them. You can't blame these people, they want to survive and make ends meet.

Even the government has noticed this expansion and they are doing everything to ensure that things get better.

On her storylines that have made her famous she said, “When I first started, I did my movies myself. I guess it's a gift from God. I also worked with other people. I may think up a story and someone else does the scripting and vice-versa.”

On why she dumped banking for movie, Emem revealed that: “After 'Living in Bondage' was produced, I caught the bug and resigned my job in the bank after which I wrote my first script titled 'Jezebel'. Then, Nigerian films were shot in Ibo and this was no exception. I teamed up with late Francis Agu and he produced it for me. It did well in the market so I wrote my second script, titled 'Inheritance”.

With the year already starting on a good note for Emem, she promised to produce movies that will promote the culture and heritage of Africa in a positive manner. ''I will do new movies that will touch the lives of an average Nigerian on the street and that would also reflect the travails of an ordinary man.

-Nigeria Movie Network! Read more »