BY OLU-YOMI OSOSANYA
The Wedding Party has become THE highest grossing film in Nigerian box office short history, making over over N200m under three weeks. It has been a clear winner with Nigerian audiences with its very relatable story in which audiences can see themselves, experiences, friends and family. It’s also a shining example of the power of collaboration and the benefit of bringing resources together.
The combined power of Ebony Life + Film One + Koga Studios + Ink Blot brought this film together and arguably, it probably wouldn’t have been the same film if one person had decided to go it alone.
I think there is a lot all filmmakers in Nollywood can learn from this collaboration. Each studio brought something to the table and their collective strength enabled it to go very far. At this stage in the industry we need a lot more collaboration than competition. At this stage, any success is a collective success. Right now, we are still in a battle to win the sceptics who still have reservations about seeing our films in the cinema. The people who see 5 -6 films every month, but are hesitant to make any of those choices a Nollywood film. These are the people we need to win as they spend more money than everyone else.
While different filmmakers have different visions and ambitions, sometimes, going it alone is a disadvantage and spreading the investment, risk and reach takes it just that much further.
Mission Impossible is one of the biggest franchises in film. The most recent film MI:ROGUE NATION was the collaboration of several productions companies, Bad Robot, Sky Dance, China Movie Channel, Ali Baba Pictures and Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Individually each of those companies already have tremendous success in their various endeavours, doing millions and billions in annual revenue, but they came together to make that film happen, and it was successful with the next film already in the pipeline. There are many other examples of this as a film needs, Conception, Creation, Financing, Production and Distribution with each company bringing something beneficial to the table.
There needs to be more collaboration and not only by the bigger companies. The “little” guys need to do this and maybe even need to do this more than the bigger, more liquid companies. I’m sure you can think of some films from the last 4 years which with a little more financing could have elevated what they are able to do and how far they could have travelled. How much could have been put into marketing and distribution. Films which were under-seen because the producers were only able to raise enough money to make the film, but not enough to market it to get as many asses in seats as the film deserved. There were only able to do social media, but no billboards, very little radio and probably no TV at all. No matter how fantastic your film, if people don’t know it’s out there, they won’t see it.
Not everyone would be a good fitting. Not everyone can work together. Not everyone wants to tell the same story. There will always be creative conflict and creative differences. The key would be in finding a vision you can lock into in which everyone involved brings value for a collective win.
Clearly, the ELFIKE Collective believed in the vision of The Wedding Party and it has paid off. For some people it’s the first Nigerian film they have watched in the cinema in years, many declare it as the best they have ever seen. Others have praised the production values and scale as the difference. Each of the companies released individual films between 2014-2016, none of their film’s box office total, comes close to how fast TWP made so much money and received such good word of mouth.
This is not to say EVERY film released has to be a collaboration and not every collaboration has to be on the grand scale of TWP; even smaller stories can benefit from collective resources and passion. As the saying goes “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”
This feature was first published on the author’s blog.