Yinka Olatunbosun reports on the Lagos to Ilorin road trip with Niran Adedokun, the author of Ladies Calling The Shots to Kwara State University
Destination was Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete- a convergence point for film students, movie makers and enthusiasts when the author of the book, Ladies Calling The Shots, Niran Adedokun was received warmly at the Department of Film and Film Production at the University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts for a special interactive session.
In three hours and some minutes, the non-stop smooth ride through Ibadan, Oyo and Ogbomosho allowed for a close-up with two of the listed 17 directors in the book, Ema Edosioand Adeola Osunkojo who were joined the next day by another film maker, Ronke Macaulay.
With a clapperboard cover design, the 251-page book written by the seasoned journalist and lawyer articulates the creative efforts of select female directors in Nigeria’s movie industry and becomes an instant hit with some of the lecturers at the department. Hence, to mark its first edition of “Nollywood’s Town Meets Gown’’, the Co-ordinator, Centre for Nollywood and New Media in Africa (CiNNeMA), KWASU, Elizabeth Olayiwola teamed up with the author to have three of the directors discussed in the book engage with the film students.
Flash back through the event revealed in attendance the Vice Chancellor, KWASU, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah whose unwavering commitment to the development of film studies at the university gave birth to the construction of a building to curate film studies and production and a culture of interactive sessions with key players in the Nigerian film industry and film scholarship. He expressed his satisfaction at seeing the author of Ladies Calling The Shots alongside three of the 17 directors highlighted in the literary effort.
Dissolving into film screening sessions, which was moderated by Dr. Joe Odedina, the audience saw for the first time the 90-minute movie titled, “Kasala” directed and produced by EmaEdosio. ‘Kasala’ had been screened at several international film festivals across the globe despite its rejection by some cinemas in Nigeria. The movie tells the story of the four resilient young men from a less-privileged community who are bound by their ambition in music as a career. The fast-paced suspenseful drama which lasted one day is a true Nigerian story that provoked laughter and excitement as its existential themes resonated with the youthful audience.
Macaulay’s “Green Passport in the Rainbow Nation’’ was the second movie to be screened at the event. The 30-min documentary movie focuses on the lives of Nigerians in South Africa. It featured interviews with the Nigerian Consular General, Mrs. Uche Ajulu-Okeke, Nigerian students at South African University, Nigerian entrepreneurs and others. The documentary-an expose on the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa- tells of the cases of some criminals who steal Nigerian identity and the peculiarities of being a Nigerian in South Africa.
For Osunkojo, the screening of her work titled, “The Life of a Nigerian Couple’’ was a first a thrill and then a puzzle to the audience with a careful deployment of new media techniques in film making to tell the story of a young couple whose marriage is experiencing teething problems.
Macaulay, Edosio and Osunkojo had an interactive session with the students after their movies were screened. They spoke about their collective challenges of funding and distribution. Edosio encouraged the students to make movies regardless of the limited funding while Osunkojo mirrored the same sentiment when she advised the students to manage available resources such as mobile phones to make videos.
In his remarks, the author, Adedokun explained the rationale behind bringing the book and the subjects in it to the university.
“When I saw the stories of the women in the book, I saw that the book is really an inspirational material especially in these days that models are rare. The young ones are bereft of ideas and the kind of people they should follow. You see the get rich quick idea of life is everywhere. These ladies are where they are today because they have passed through all sorts of stages. We thought it could be a good way to inspire girls and even young men who are aspiring to be in the film business or actually want to become anything significant in life,’’ he said.
Dr Odedina who gave credit to Mrs. Olayiwola for this brilliant initiative said the event had been planned since December but shifted after the Christmas and New Year holidays to give a rousing start to the year. He said these interactive sessions had been supported by the VC since the centre had been founded.
“The VC is a very passionate man about any kind of education. If you see the way he responds to engineering matters, you will think he is an engineer. He was the one who invited me to KWASU to teach film productions,’’ said the lecturer who spent three decades in the US before returning to Nigeria for his PhD.
The event was attended by hundreds of students some of whom expressed their gratitude for this rare encounter with female directors from Nigerian movie industry. Copies of the book were sold at the venue at subsidized rate.