BY OLU-YOMI OSOSANYA
There is something exciting about discovering the work of young talent in filmmaking. The energy and zeal, matched by vision and skill; a talent whose career would be very interesting to watch as they grow over the years.
The 1st quarter of 2017 is over, and so far, much content has been released in Nigeria; but the work of these three young local lions, all under the age of 25, caught my eye.
“Through Her eyes”
Through Her Eyes – Dir Nadine Ibrahim (23 years old)
In her short film, Ibrahim tackles a story very relevant to what’s been happening in Nigeria since the emergence of Boko Haram in 2009, and does so in a very capable manner that we haven’t seen from many Nigerian directors with years of experience more.
Through Her Eyes is one of those slow-burn films that’s worth the wait through the very final frame. Touching on the topic of terrorism, it’s seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl from the North. It holds up a mirror to society, giving a voice to those often ignored. You don’t see the end coming, and it’s an indication of a storyteller who knows how to dole out just the right amount of information to her audience and how much to withhold, setting them up for an unexpected finale.
Bariga Sugar – Dir Ifeoma Chukwuogo (24 years old)
Her film delves into the world of sex trade, set in a brothel and seen through the eyes of a young girl, the daughter of one of the pleasure vendors. A coming-of-age story of life and friendship, the filmmaker draws nice performances from her prepubescent leads. This world has been visited numerous times over since the inception of Nollywood, but none quite like this. If this were Hollywood and we plugged into the remake machine, director Chukwuogo would be a perfect fit to helm millennial updates on Nollywood classics, Glamour Girls or Domitilla.
Ojukokoro (Greed) – Dir Dare Olaitan (25 years old)
His feature debut had its premiere in November 2016 at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and was theatrically released in Nigeria in March 2017. From its 1st public screening, it became one of the most anticipated films of 2017 as those at the festival couldn’t stop raving about it; not bad for a feature debut.
Ojukokoro, translated from Yoruba as “Greed,” is a crime caper peppered with Tarantino and Guy Ritchie influences; ensemble cast, witty dialogue, multiple storylines, crazy underworld characters, all after one prize; cue hijinks. The film has its weaknesses but its strengths more than make up for them, as you will be laughing your head off all the way, and eager to see who makes it to the end.
Ojukokoro shows a director with a lot of gumption and promise, who knows what he wants and can execute it.
I look forward to the future work of these three skilled Nigerian filmmakers who I can see significantly contributing to the diversity of films we see from Nollywood over the next few years.
Olu Yomi is film culturist, screenwriter & director with a Masters in Creative & Cultural Industries. He has written for television; drama, sitcoms, web series & telenovelas. Short films which he has directed or written have screened at the BFI, Cannes, AFRIFF and other film festivals. He has worked on talk shows, talent hunts and documentaries.