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(Exclusive) The Arbitration: “It’s A Little Hard To Deal With Rape” – Niyi Akinmolayan


In 2009, Niyi Akinmolayan set out to make a futuristic science-fiction movie, Kajola. It was heavy with special effects and even though it didn’t do well commercially or live up to its hype, it paved the way for other young filmmakers to go the special effects way. It was a game changer.

Make a Move, Out of Luck, Falling are some of the other memorable films helmed by the Founder and Creative Director of Anthill Productions.

The Yaba College of Technology product spoke to TNS about his latest work, The Arbitration which has been generating a lot of buzz in the build up to its August 12, 2016 release, Nigerian film distribution,  and his thoughts on the Kano film school controversy.

Why did you make The Arbitration?

I made the movie because it was a very good story and also because it threw me a new challenge: How to keep the audience engaged in scenes with 6 people sitting around a big table and talking non-stop. It’s also a “grey area” type of story meaning it was written to draw the audience in and let them have their opinions about some of the ideas in the movie. I love stories that make the audience feel like they are a part of it.

Do you think the Nigerian society (including the judicial system) is doing enough to beat rape to its barest minimum?

While the story is more than just a rape story (rape is a criminal offense handled in courts), it’s set to remind us of the subtle definitions that constitute what we call rape. The Nigerian society is still having a struggle with this definition so it’s a little hard to deal with rape issues as opposed to other straightforward crimes. This is what the film hopes to archive. We hope to get you asking those questions about definitions.

Adesua Etomi and OC Ukeje is an interesting combination on several levels. Why did go for this combo?

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I went for Adesua first because I had worked with her before and I knew she had exactly what I wanted. The story required an intelligent actress because of the subtle nuances I wanted to work with. Adesua is one of those actresses, a director’s delight. Also, she’s one of the fastest rising stars out there. OC Ukeje had a great frame for the character and when we invited him for a read and discussed the character ideas with him, he blew us away with his insight into some of the things we wanted for the film. He’s also one of the finest actors out there in terms of delivery and personality. I bond with cast a lot for my projects. It’s important I work with the right people especially people with nothing but deep passion for their craft

What’s your take on the Kano film village saga? Do you think the fears expressed by the clerics are valid?

I don’t have a take on this. I really desist from getting involved in anything religious. I have a science background and approach many things from that angle.

Is the government right in shelving its plans for the film village?

A film village anywhere is a great idea and it has to happen soon. I don’t know the details of the Kano film village so I don’t have an opinion.

In your opinion, are the film distribution chains (cinemas & VODs) in the country fair to filmmakers in their current sharing formula regimes?

I think they’re doing the best that they can under the circumstances. They are in it for the business as well so it’s understandable that they must ensure that it’s profitable for them. The industry is growing, the audience is growing and I believe that this growth will lead to a better experience for all concerned.

One reason why people should go and see The Arbitration as soon as it gets out?

Go see The Arbitration because it’s a good film. I know it’s a good film because I make good films!

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