BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Thank God 2017 is strolling to an end. And we won’t get to hear about many of the horrible features we witnessed this year ever again. Amen.
When Nollywood took over the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year, the thinking was that 2017 would witness an unprecedented number of quality films. On the back of seeing films like ‘76, 93 Days, The Arbitration, Green White Green and Ojukokoro, one would be forgiven for thinking we would get blown away by quality this year.
And to be fair to those who still tried to do laudible work – Eric Aghimien with Slow Country, Jadesola Osiberu with Isoken, BB Sasore with Banana Island Ghost (the story was awful but let’s include it in this category because of the special effects which was brilliantly done), Oluseyi Asurf with Hakkunde and Hell or High Water, Ifeoma Nkiruka Chukwuogo with Bariga Sugar, Walt Banger’s Catch.er and Nadine Ibrahim with Through Her Eyes, 2017 wasn’t all that horrible a film year. Even though some of the films mentioned above just about scraped average.
However, there were a lot of better-to-have-not-been-made films this year. And considering the trash we have had, it isn’t the worst thing that The Wedding Party 2 is closing the year. No matter how bad that film turns out to be to you or me, at least it takes us to Dubai and shows us a lot of flashy people, dresses, things and oyinbos.
2017 gave us Alter Ego which Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde should be pretty ashamed of, it gave us Kunle Afolayan’s painful-to-watch trilogy (Omugwo, ROTI & The Tribunal), it gave us the totally appaling Celebrity Marriage, the ridiculously bad Accidental Spy, Ufuoma McDermott’s disasterclass Christmas Is Coming, Omoni Oboli’s unsurprising Okafor’s Law, AY Makun’s predictable flick 10 Days in Sun City. Even Stanlee Ohikhuare’s expensive biopic on the great Benin preacher, The Trials of Idahosa, was a massive mistake right from the writing. The project seemed bigger than he could cope with at the time he made the film.
This year, many of those who are brilliant filmmakers are busy bulging their bank accounts by working as directors-for-hire on TV shows, series and others in which they have little or no say in the major creative process. Now, I haven’t said them working on these projects is bad – the vacations, diapers, school fees, flats in Lekki and big jeeps won’t pay for themselves but what this means is that people who have no business making films are the ones who have flooded 2017 with their crap and have made too much noise about it.
One is even now forced to ask if Kunle Afolayan isn’t simply just going the Olamide way: do brilliant work, become respected, make some money then begin to do crap as long as the money continues to roll in. For the likes of Omoni Oboli and AY Makun, you cannot give out what you never had. Ufuoma McDermott is a very good actress. She could make an amazing producer too but she needs to stay as far away from directing as Jupiter is from the sun.
Will 2018 be better? Maybe. There’s the promise of Izu Ojukwu’s Amina to look forward to. But before you pump the air with your fist, there is a possibility (a huge one at that) of there being a Wedding Party 3 next year too.