BY DEOYE FALADE
Since she made the infamous comparison between Nollywood and Hitler, Ghanaian-American producer/director, Leila Djansi has practically become someone Nigerian movie lovers and industry enthusiasts would simply love to hate. Of course, we can ‘diss’ our movie industry as much as we like but a foreigner; how dare she?
The Sinking Sands producer is no stranger to controversy; in fact, she seems to court such situations like a magnet. I’m tempted to believe she would give any of our ‘troublesome’ actresses a run for their money in this regard. I decided to read up on her beyond Wikipedia and IMDB and it got really interesting. Here are five controversies Leila Djansi has been involved in before the most recent salvo on Nollywood.
Frank Artus vs. Leila
In 2013, Leila Djansi was alleged to have posted on Facebook that Ghanaian actor Frank Artus was one of the worst things that had happened to the movie sector and asked that he quit acting to secure another job or go back to school.
“There are some Ghana actors who should not be acting. Tomorrow, I might name some. But seriously, anyone who loves the actor Frank Artus should tell him to get another job. This is not fair. Some people try way too hard at it.“
Frank replied by saying, “Honestly, I don’t know Leila. I have no idea who she is. I personally have no idea what she does. I have not seen her movies before and I don’t know how her movies look like. The only thing I know is a few movie people mention her name, so it will be hard to comment on someone whom I don’t know… If she’s the one saying that, then she might be an attention seeker.”
Leila vs. AMAA
Sometime ago, the Chairman of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) Screening Committee, Shaibu Hussein remarked about the movie, Ties that Bind, that in weighing the roles played by each character, it was obvious that Ama K Abrebrese played the lead role while Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and others, including Ebbe Bassey assisted in advancing her story.
Leila of course disagreed, saying that the first story she developed for Ties That Bind was the story of Rose Adobea Onyomena, played by Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. All the other characters were woven around her and in the books of Turning Point Pictures and its affiliates; Omotola is the lead actress of Ties That Bind alongside Kimberly Elise, and Ama K Abebrese. They were supported by David Dontoh, Ebbe Bassey, John Dumelo and Randall Batinkoff.
Leila vs. President Mahama
In the wake of a bus branding scandal, Leila Afua Djansi took to Facebook to express her regret in campaigning for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and President John Mahama in the 2012 elections, revealing some of the challenges she faced when she publicly worked in an organized and active way towards the goal of NDC to canvass votes for the party.
Leila vs. Akofa Edjeani Asiedu
These two seem to always be at each other’s throats and in June 2015, they reignited their beef, with Leila taking legal action against Edjeani. This was because the latter claimed on Starr Chat on Starr 103.5FM that she financed the production of the contentious movie I Sing of a Well, but did not make any profit.
Leila Djansi however countered that it was treacherous for Akofa to either claim she did not “make a dime” from the film or that she financed it on her own, providing receipts as evidence. Djansi added that while she was “toiling to get the film completed in the US, Akorfa was busy planning a private screening to raise funds and making TV appearances” without her knowledge and that neither the premiere nor the fundraising monies were ever accounted to her even though she made available to Akorfa records of all monies earned from ticket sales.
Leila vs. Nollywood (2013)
No this isn’t the Nollywood Hitler ‘diss’; apparently, Leila has been at it for some time. And it seems she has no joy for some Ghanaian actors as well. In 2013 she took a swipe at Nollywood and Ghollywood stars, describing them as being materialistic, having awkward diction and that they embark on needless vacation just to cover their insecurity. She even advised Nadia Buari to desist from “Americanizing” her English, told Luckie Lawson to “fix her accent”, and slammed Akofa Asiedu, advising her to go back to the basics and get some “major voice training for herself.”
This isn’t all, there’s a long list of disses and clap backs but these rank really high. Besides, we wouldn’t want you to be greedy *wink*.