I find the beginnings of any write up very hard so forgive me if this doesn't start out very nice.
As many of you may know, Niyi Akinmolayan( he said I should always refer to him as hot and sexy, so you may add these adjectives before his name) and I made a film two years ago. FALLING.
It didn't hit in the cinemas. I remember when I got the first report, I wanted to cry. Actually the first shocker is usually when you see your schedule. You know immediately that the distributors don't believe in your film but you talk yourself out of distress; tell yourself there were after all very few screens when Ije made over 50m, remind yourself of all the positive thinking messages you listened to. Usually, you'd be wrong and your movie would fail. Falling did but fortunately only in cinemas. Our film went on to be a big hit everywhere else. It produced the best actress for that year and my aggregator admits that it is one of his best performing films. I'm sure all the people who worked on the project will agree that it's done a lot for their career. I know it has for me. So maybe I should say, with some arrogance, that the cinema audience did not understand us. (picture a tongue out emoticon here)
It hasn't stopped there. Last year I was commissioned by Africa Magic to make three movies for them. Our very first conversation on the subject was based on FALLING.
The point of my post is to encourage young filmmakers(I feel so old saying that) to stay true to themselves. A good movie will always find home. That home may just not be at the cinemas. There's been a lot of talk about the audience preferring comedies and so producers feel obliged to make movies of this genre. I don't know that this is true. Nollywood didn't happen today and the audience has always been varied. But I would agree that some films may be easier to sell than others. So if you're ready to throw a lot of weight into marketing, I'd say do you. The cinema is only one platform. There's the internet, cable and more. Sadly we seem to have lost the DVD market.
The time to make money is now, and the opportunities exist. Don't make a film that will fly above everyone's head simply because you want to prove a point. When you're 60, wearing unironed adire without a dime in your pensions fund, no one will care that once upon a time you were the ish. People only care about the present ish so make an effort to stay relevant.
Most of my movies have recorded commercial successes but this is never my primary intention. I try to make films that people will remember, that will outlive me. That said, I make an effort to include what I hope will be some commercial value because what's the point if no one watches your film?
I've been largely lucky in Nollywood perhaps because my sister came before me so she suffered
enough for two of us(hehehehe) but there's definitely a place for hard work and consistency. Keep at it, learn from your mistakes, tomorrow will definitely be better. Lost in London, directed by Sunkanmi Adebayo, made more than the entire gross of Falling, in its opening weekend. We had learnt a few things. We still didn't meet our target but it was progress. It is our hope that our next film, GETTING OVER HIM, directed by Desmond Elliot (I'm an ashawo when it comes to directors) will beat LOST IN LONDON's record. I like to say that I am only in competition with myself. So don't be discouraged, keep trying.
The second point of this post is to tell you that our third film for Africa Magic; AMERICAN BOY will air on Africa Magic Urban 153 on November 3 by 10pm. Do not miss it. American Boy is directed by Sunkanmi Adebayo.