Editi Effiong Takes Banky W, Adesuwa, KOK, Akin Lewis ‘Up North’

A must-watch movie this Christmas season, with a sterling cast of seasoned thespians is “Up North”. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports

There’s this feeling of some sorts that permeates the cinematic work of the upcoming movie called Up North, especially from the trailer. This stems from major highlights of the movie from its teasers and buzz that hearten interests and make it a must watch movie to hit the cinemas December 28. One, it is a movie directed by multi-award winning filmmaker, Tope Oshin Ogun who lately has been engaged in both the film and TV circuits.

Another being that it is the first Nollywood production starring a sitting governor, Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State, and an emir, making it a big one for Nollywood.

The film’s producer, Editi Effiong said: “Not only did Governor Abubakar volunteer to star in the movie, he committed to making it a success from day one. The governor offered his convoy when the crew had difficulties finding cars for a scene, offered Yankari Reserves as the crew could not get a hotel, and got the crew permission to shoot at the Emir’s place.”

In addition, the movie is exciting as it partly swaps the over-used, cosmopolitan Third Mainland Bridge, The Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge and the Lagos landscape for the very unfamiliar views of Bauchi where the film is set.

And more so drawn from its sterling cast of seasoned actors befitting of a movie of this nature are veterans of the industry like Rekia Attah, Akin Lewis, Hilda Dokuboh and Kanayo O Kanayo, all with enriching bilingual experience to their credits. Also starring are R&B music star, Bankole Wellington (Banky W) alongside his actress wife, Adesuwa Etomi, the movie also features Nollywood newbies Ibrahim Suleiman, BBN TBoss, Michelle Dede and Kannywood princess, Rahama Sadau.

Up North is an epic Northern-Nigeria story inspired by Editi Effiong’s journey around the country, listening to people’s stories, and realising we hardly tell Nigerian stories outside Lagos. Editi, who has been writing since he was 12, decided to make movies about the different stories he heard. The movie explores love, friendship and family politics, all of which collide, creating memories to last a lifetime.

It tells the story of a young rebellious heir (Banky W) who gets sent to Bauchi for his NYSC assignment as a punishment for defying his father.

Up North is a collaboration betwewen Anakle, a digital agency founded by techpreneur Editi Effiong and Inkblot Productions, producers of The Wedding Party, The Arbitration, Out of Luck, Department and New Money. Anakle has a track record of creating unforgettable digital experiences and some of their previous works are the creation of The Bridge Price app that went viral in 2014, and the Wikipedia ad with child comic, Emmanuella.

Back in June, during the movie’s production in Bauchi, Anakle boss, Editi Effiong wrote about how he met the Bauchi Governor on a plane while returning home from a research visit to the state in 2017. Effiong said the governor has been supportive since the movie was in pre-production, apparently keen on bringing more production companies to his state. “I’m trying to diversify my state economy, and I’ve been begging Nollywood people to come and make films here. I have to support you guys, so you can go tell others. Also, you’re employing a lot of Bauchi people,” the governor was quoted to have said.

The governor’s explanation makes sense. Shooting a movie in Bauchi is more like marketing the state to Nigerians who do not know about the many attractions of the state and exploring its tourism potential. Also, Nollywood can help with the diversification the Nigerian economy needs and for her to really blossom, she needs the Nigerian Government’s support. Suffice is the brief profile of some the movie’s lead cast:

Akin Lewis was born in Zaria Kaduna State. He began his acting career in 1973, the same year he joined a drama group led by Professor Bode Sowande, a writer and dramatist. He came into limelight when he played the lead role in Madam Dearest, a 2005 Nigerian film produced and directed by Tade Ogidan. Over the years, he had featured, produced and directed several films.

Anayo Modestus Onyekwere (popularly known as Kanayo O. Kanayo, was born March 1, 1962 in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria). In 2006, he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Kanayo is one of the active pioneer actors of Nollywood. In 1992, he made his debut film appearance in the film Living in Bondage. Kanayo has starred in over 100 films. He is currently a United Nations ambassador and bears the title of MFR.

Rahama Sadau is an actress, dancer and producer. She is the winner of Best Actress (Kannywood) at the City People Entertainment Awards in 2014 and 2015. She won Best African Actress at the 19th African Film Awards in 2015 by African Voice. The Business Administration graduate of Kaduna Polytechnic joined the Hausa film industry, Kannywood in 2013 and is one of the few Hausa on-screen characters who speaks both English and Hindi languages fluently.

Olubankole Wellington (born 27 March 1981), known under the stage name Banky W, and credited in film as Banky Wellington, is a singer, rapper and actor. He made his acting debut in 2016 featuring in the block buster movie, The Wedding Party. Most of his music videos depicts movie like scenes, and exploring the best of cinematic appeal.

Adesuwa Etomi was born Tolulope Adesuwa Etomi in Owerri, Imo State to a soldier father and an engineer mother. Etomi is the youngest of three siblings. She is a native of Esan in Edo State and her mother is Yoruba. Her film credits include Falling; a performance in Falling earned her the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Best Actress in A Drama Award.

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