INI-EDO.jpg and Uti Nwachukwu.
By Ada Igboanugo
Since its inception, Nollywood has to an extent, transformed what has been the stagnant state of the movie industry. Recycled storylines and mediocre manuscripts took an overturn for the good on a 50 percent level. Nigerians were entertained on much more varieties other than the traditional ones we were used to and getting tired of watching.
The next step the Nollywood took was to give veteran actors a chance to take the bull by the horn in the direction of movie flicks. Now movies are once again, to an extent, properly directed even in most, with some futuristic elements, that arguably, Nigeria isn’t ready for.
Despite its rising success, Nollywood as an industry means different things to different people. Some say it’s a hotbed of substandard productions and talentless actors, others say it should be encouraged as a self-sufficient sector that keeps creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for an ever burgeoning socio-economic class. Does all of this sound a tad too serious? Probably! Bottom line is that, hate it or love it, Nollywood, in all its full resplendent glory has come to stay; with its calibre of actors, standard of production and choice of movies.
Nollywood seems to have reached a saturation stage, where every movie is like the other – no difference, no newness, same old stories, same old actors and definitely, the same old reaction from its steadily disenchanted audience. But there comes a time when a few bright sparks, blaze the trail and leave their other contemporaries choking in a cloud of dust. There comes a time, when some Nollywood productions actually make the audience collectively gasp and say “Great Movie!”
Movies like Amazing Grace, Figurine, Tango with Me, Alero’s Symphony, Phone Swap, Ties that Bind and others show that Nollywood has the capacity to deliver big-budget movies that compete favourably with their contemporaries on the international scene.
Delivering big-budget movies though, is not enough. Does the audience connect with movie? Do they understand what goes on? Are they able to relate to certain themes that the movie speaks about? Does the movie have unforgettable characters, characters that transcend individual and cultural boundaries? This is perhaps how a successful movie is judged. Do people in Sierra Leone for example, love a movie that was produced by a Nigerian? And vice versa. Herein lays the question.
But some thrive in the disparity of sheer brilliance. Making it to stand out amongst the others. Notable ones like Desmond Elliot’s “In the Cupboard” Co-Executively Produced with former actress, Caroline Danjuma, amongst a few others in its ilk, is a great example of how a movie transcends national boundaries; but yet still resonates with its indigenous audience.
In the Cupboard is a story that revolves around the lives of six siblings born into the rich, aristocratic De Souza family; a name synonymous with wealth and power. Everything seems perfect in their lives until their father dies unexpectedly and all of them gather together from different parts of the world to be with their mother, the elegant matriarch Veronica “Ronnie” DeSouza played by legendary actress, Biola Williams. What ensues is a series of events that threatens to shake the family to its very foundations.
Why does the movie stand from others? Asides stellar acting by most of the cast – Ini Edo, Uti Nwachukwu, winner BBA, Ghanaian Actress, Lydia Forson, Biola Williams, Alex Ekubo, and others, the movie tackles subjects that are hitherto perceived as profanity in the Nigerian context. Issues like Lesbianism, drug use and adoption receive the full beam of the Producer and somehow make those subjects more believable and relatable.
It also thrives in diversity. The inclusion of actors from Ghana and Senegal adds a true African authenticity that is becoming more prevalent as time goes on; and this definitely signals a positive development and perception for movies that come out of Africa.
Perhaps as a nod to the exceptional nature of “In the Cupboard”, the movie has received five awards since its release in August – for a newly debuted flick. It won Best drama, Best Original Story, Best New Actor and Best Supporting Actress at the 2012 GIAMA Awards in the USA. It also won the Most Promising Actor at the 2012 Best of Nollywood Awards.
Not stopping to rest on its laurels, Producer of the Movie, Desmond Elliot and co-Producer, Caroline Danjuma, took it a notch higher by releasing the movie on DVD
Marketed under the Denziot Productions brand, the movie was produced and directed by Desmond Elliot and Co-Produced by Caroline Danjuma.