Mr Tunde Kelani isn’t just an ordinary Nigerian Film-maker, he is a living legend. It’s safe to say Mr Tunde Kelani is part of the generation that created the firm foundation ‘NOLLYWOOD’ is built on today. Mr Kelani worked as Director, Producer or Cinematographer on some of the finest films in produced in Nigeria to date Ireke Onibudo; Efunsetan Aniwura; Anikura; Ogun Ajaye; Iya Ni Wura; Taxi Driver; Iwa, Fopomoyo, Ti Oluwa Nile(Series); Ayo Ni Mo Fe; Koseegbe, Oleku and most recently, Campus Queen, Abeni (1&2) and Maami (features Funke Akindele as the lead).
In a build up to the LIGHTS, CAMERA, AFRICA!!!! 2012 FILM FESTIVAL(kicks of Friday, 28th of September and ends 1st of October), 360NoBS has taken the rare opportunity to ask Nigeria’s foremost cinematographer a few questions. Mr TUNDE KELANI, would be teaching a Master-class in Cinematography as part of LCA!!! 2012’s arts education initiative. The FREE workshop holds on Sunday 30th September 2012 at the British Council at 3.45pm. READ MORE ABOUT LCAFilm 2012 here.
Mr Tunde Kelani: You’ll be giving a workshop on Cinematography at the LCA2012. How does it make you feel to be acknowledged as one of Africa’s greatest directors?
360NoBS: Firstly, I don’t see myself as a director but as a total film-maker. My training at the London Film School a long time ago, discouraged specialisation at the onset which emphasised acquisition of many skills in the complex process of film making. My roles on a film project easily overlaps and clearly extend beyond creative control on or around any film project. I initiate, find funds, produce, manage, supervise, collaborate with writers, production designers, technicians etc., direct, indirect distribution as well as take the film on the road by my mobile cinema model.
Mr Tunde Kelani: How do you see the Nigerian Movie Industry in comparison to other major world industries like Hollywood and India’s Bollywood?
360NoBS: The Nigerian Movie Industry is relatively young in comparison to American Hollywood or Indian Bollywood which started one hundred years ago. Both examples have massive infrastructure and great institutions. The Nigerian example is not properly structured or organised and currently faces challenges from negative forces like piracy. The industry needs far-reaching solutions to achieve maximum potentials.
Mr Tunde Kelani: What do you wish you could change about Nollywood?
360NoBS: I wish I could change the name Nollywood because it didn’t sound original at first but it is too late. It is just like trying to change the name of our country, and Nigeria after 52 years! I googled the name and I got 1.7m listing in 0.16sec! This is awesome! The word Nollywood is now a brand. Brands sell. We have all earned it, and so let’s use it.
Mr Tunde Kelani: Which of your movies do you consider to be your best?
360NoBS: It is difficult for me to judge which of the films is best. They are all experimental and they equally provided challenges based on available resources at the time of production. But clearly, there is a progression from film to film and I could only suspect that the last film, Maami qualified as the best so far,
Mr Tunde Kelani: Are you currently working on any projects/movies?
360NoBS: I am currently working on four films hoping to get funding to go into production. Sometimes, I have been desperate and have been tempted to jump in with very limited resources. I want to make films all the time but it is so frustrating in a hostile environment like Nigeria.
Mr Tunde Kelani: What is your advice to up-and-coming directors who want to be like yourself?
360NoBS: I don’t think any aspiring filmmaker should want to be like me. I don’t think this is possible because I sacrificed a lot. Besides, I think they should aim higher to surpass me. But new generation filmmakers should be smart, get a good education, get skilled, and develop great passion for the profession and be ready to defend it with everything they can get.
Questions by Mayowa’Wana’ George
On Saturday, 29 September, 2012 at Southern Sun Hotel, Kingsway Road, Ikoyi @ 1.30pm, A Tunde Kelani film feature SAWOROIDE(released 1999) would be showing as part of the Lights, Camera, Africa 2012 Film Festival. Below is the synopsis of the 98min film feature.
Lapite, a crowned prince of Jogbo, has eliminated all opposition to ensure he ascends the throne and becomes rich. After the mysterious death of his main rival, Adebomi the new king starts to help himself to the enormous resources of forest trees in his kingdom. His people’s protests are ruthlessly suppressed, but as their resolve to depose their self-serving king grows, Lapite finds himself struggling to secure not only his wealth, but also his power and relationships in a beautifully written allegory for modern times.
Check out the festival website – www.lightscameraafrica.com