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Yinka Olatunbosun’s article “Searchlight on Intellectual Property” in This Day newspaper (Oct 14, 2012) describes a recent meeting on the issue of intellectual property rights held by the Nigerian Copyright Commission, academics, and apparently filmmakers (not questioned or quoted, but pictured on the website). Distinguished Professor of intellectual property law Adebamo Adewopo “observed that the effort of NCC in ridding the industry of piracy at Alaba, Onitsha and other parts of the country has invariably giving way to the new digital market online where indiscriminate downloads of songs, videos, pictures and other creative works now thrive. This development, he said,’requires a sound copyright law and a well focused enforcement strategy to reflect the current dynamics that rely on copyright system.’”

The challenge of re-writing the law to reflect the needs of Nigerian filmmakers and that of enforcing the law is a monumental one. What this article fails to note is that enforcement of copyright protection can aslo stifle Nollywood professionals. Does anyone remember the Censors Board’s hologram solution by which every video sold would require a hologram stamp from the Censors Board verifying its authenticity. Of course, each stamp costs the producers a fee.

Changing the law is one matter, but changing the delivery systems for Nigerian films is another promising path to follow. Filmmakers I have recently been speaking with seem more interested in the development of small-scale cinemas within Lagos. The solution is localized to Lagos State, but having the infrastructure in place could benefit all filmmakers seeking to recuperate their production costs.

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I finally have the time and the bandwidth to upload a few behind-the-scenes videos of the Ma’ami shoot in October 2010. Please view them below and click here to read my behind-the-scenes coverage of the shoot.


Above: Tunde Kelani directs Funke Akindele during a scene in Lafenwa Market in Abeokuta. © Bic Leu and FindingNollywood.com, 2009-2011


Above: Yinka Davies & Gani Kayode-Balogun, Jr. perform a rendition of Owo, a song by the late Fuji maestro Ayinde Barrister, during a restaurant scene in Lagos. © Bic Leu and FindingNollywood.com, 2009-2011


Above: Tunde Kelani directs a masquerade scene featuring Wole Ojo and Tamilore Kuboye on the last day of shooting in Abeokuta. © Bic Leu and FindingNollywood.com, 2009-2011

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Above is the trailer for the Da Grin biopic directed by Daniel Ademinokan. The film is scheduled to be released in theaters in April to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the rapper’s untimely demise. Click here for my behind-the-scenes coverage of the shoot

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Daniel Ademinokan (Director). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

I arrived on the Ghetto Dreamz set this morning and found it almost empty. Daniel Ademinokan (Director) explained that the cast and crew had been shooting Da Grin’s death bed scene in a local hospital until 2AM the night before. Thus he wanted to give everyone some extra time to rest–especially since today’s shooting schedule would be equally hectic. Yemi Awoponle (Director of Photography) explained that he plans to capture the pivotal car crash scene tonight on an Ikeja expressway using ropes, a tractor trailer, and two cars–including Da Grin’s own damaged vehicle.

Titilayo Akinode (Make-up) preps Trybson (as Da Grin). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Doris S. Ademinokan (as Chi Chi) in the make-up chair. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

By noon, everyone was ready to resume work. We shot a restaurant scene with Da Grin and Chi Chi, his girlfriend, in which the rapper reveals a softer side. Per Trybson (as Da Grin), he has recorded a single, Life in the Ghetto, which will be released on the movie soundtrack by Stingomania Records. (Stingomania Records is owned by Executive Producer Ope Banwo).

Doris S. Ademinokan (as Chi Chi) and Trybson (as Da Grin). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Ademinokan expects to finish shooting by Friday, after which he will spend two weeks in post-production to complete a cut by mid-March. The film is scheduled to premiere around the April 22 anniversary of Da Grin’s death.

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Daniel Ademinokan (Director) and Saheed A. Abolaji (Assistant Director/Continuity) oversee the script reading with Trybson (as Da Grin), Slip P (as Henry Hope) and Soji Jacobs (as Leo). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Today, I visited the set on the sixth day of shooting of the much-anticipated Da Grin biopic, Ghetto Dreamz: Story of Da Grin. Executive producer Ope Banwo of  Stingomania Entertainment recruited Daniel Ademinokan (Guilty Pleasures, Bursting Out) to direct and to write the script. Stingomania Records recording artist Trybson plays the title role.

Trybson (as Da Grin), Slip P (as Henry Hope) and Soji Jacobs (as Leo). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Saheed A. Abolaji (Assistant Director/Continuity) marks another take. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Yemi Awoponle (Director of Photography) and Daniel Ademinokan (Director). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

The movie chronicles the meteoric rise and tragic death of the 23 year-old rapper. The production schedule covers 133 scenes in 14 days. Ghetto Dreamz is scheduled to be released in theaters in Nigeria, US, UK, and Canada in April 2011 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Da Grin’s untimely death.

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Above is the music video for I am waiting by Bantu feat. Nneka, the first song on the soundtrack for Andy Amadi Okoroafor‘s upcoming Relentless.

Based on the video, I am very excited to see the visual treatment of Lagos in this film. Many thanks to Bola Belo (Art Director, Relentless) for the heads-up.

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Ma'ami screenplay

 

Nollywood sets its own time.  Less than two weeks after arriving in Lagos, Prof. Onookome Okome introduced me to legendary director Tunde Kelani at his Mainframe Productions studio in Oshodi. The very next day, I joined Kelani and his 25-person crew on the set of Ma’ami to observe the first day of shooting. The story revolves around Kashimawo (played by Wole Ojo), a successful footballer who, in the period leading to the 2010 World Cup, reminisces about his hardscrabble childhood in the southern Nigerian town of Abeokuta.  Ma’ami will be Kelani’s 16th feature-length film in his two-decades-long career.

 

Lighting set-up

 

 

Make-up

 

 

Kelani reviews the shooting schedule

 

8:00am–10:00am: Cast and crew arrived on set at the Taalo Salo Salon in Ikeja, Lagos. All were involved in setting up the lighting and the RED ONE camera (which I’m told is the best high-end HD camcorder on the market), script revisions, and make-up.

 

Bukky Ogunnote (as Dolapo) leads the prayer before shooting commences

 

 

Kelani advises Wole Ojo (as Kashimawo) and Titilola Ogundipe (as Make-up Artist)

 

 

Scene 24, Take 1

 

 

The Ma'ami slate

 

10:00am: After a group prayer, shooting commenced for Scenes 24 and 25, in which Kashimawo prepares for his appearance on a television program. It took more than 20 takes for Kelani, a meticulous director, to be satisfied with the results.

 

Gani Kayode-Balogun, Jr., Yinka Davies, Tunde Kelani, and Toun Kelani on set at Sparkles

 

 

1:00pm: Cast and crew arrived on set at Sparkles Banquet Hall, Ikeja for the final location of the day, where Kashimawo’s personal assistant surprises him with a birthday party. In true guerrilla film-making fashion, Kelani used his wife’s 40th birthday party as the backdrop.

 

Yinka Davies

Gani Kayode-Balogun, Jr. performing

Biodun Kupoluyi, Fatai Rolling Dollar, and Gani Kayode-Balogun, Jr.

 

 

3:00pm: Yinka Davies and Gani Kayode-Balogun, Jr. gave a rousing performance while filming their cameos as the party entertainment. Meanwhile, adoring fans surrounded highlife legend Fatai Rolling Dollar while he waited for his turn on the stage.

7:00pm: Shooting ended after the production was denied access to the bar area.  Undeterred, Kelani rescheduled shooting and encouraged the cast and crew to join his wife’s on-going birthday party.

On Wednesday, the production will move to Abeokuta (approx. 120km outside of Lagos) and will remain there for the next 12–15 days. Abeokuta is also Kelani’s childhood home and the primary set will be his family’s compound.

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