Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Watch Double Academy Award-Nominated 1948 Docu-Drama 'The Quiet One' (Emotionally-Scarred Black Boy Rehabilitated) Watch Double Academy Award-Nominated 1948 Docu-Drama 'The Quiet One' (Emotionally-Scarred Black Boy Rehabilitated) Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend Jamie Foxx Will Play Little John to Taron Egerton's Robin Hood in "Progressive" Take on the Legend James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Nigerian Director Jeta Amata Currently Shooting $15mill Toussaint l'Ouverture Film In Haiti (Details)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act February 5, 2013 at 9:50PM

There I was catching up on several news items I tagged earlier today, so I would remember to return to them, when I read that Nigerian director Jeta Amata, is currently in Haiti, where he has been named a Goodwill Ambassador, by Haiti President Michel Martelly (photo above).
5
Haiti’s President Martelly Names Nigerian Director Jeta Amata Goodwill Ambassador, Feb 4, 2013
Haiti’s President Martelly Names Nigerian Director Jeta Amata Goodwill Ambassador, Feb 4, 2013

There I was catching up on several news items I tagged earlier today, so I would remember to return to them, when I read that Nigerian director Jeta Amata, is currently in Haiti, where he has been named a Goodwill Ambassador, by Haiti President Michel Martelly (photo above).

The ceremony took place yesterday, Monday, February 4, in Port-au-Prince, in the presence of, among others, Haiti Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin, Foreign Minister Pierre Richard Casimir and Culture Minister Josette Darguste.

The question that came to me immediately, was, why Nollywood director Amata was being honored with this specific position...

Further digging and reading revealed that Amata was named a Goodwill Ambassador because he's currently shooting a feature film on the life of Toussaint Louverture

That's right! I don't know how we missed this. We're usually on-top of this kind of major news, but it just slipped by us. However, now you know.

Here's what I can add, based on the research I did:

- The film is titled Emperor: The Story of Toussaint l'Ouverture

- Its listed budget is $15 million, which is being financed by mostly private equity.

- It's based on an original screenplay by Kyra Pahlen. I looked up Kyra's credits to find that this will be her first job. But I also learned that she's the daughter of the late producer Victor Pahlen, who, along with Errol Flynn, was co-owner of a movie theatre in Havana (Cuba) during Fidel Castro's revolution - this was in 1959. So both Pahlen and Flynn took to the streets with cameras to document history as it happened, at ground zero. And what resulted was a feature documentary of Castro's uprising, hosted by Flynn, featuring footage of the conflict and Castro himself. That documentary would eventually be titled Cuban Story. It's listed on IMDB as The Truth About Fidel Castro's RevolutionThe film premiered at the Moscow Film Festival in 1960, and then disappeared until it was resurrected this century by (bringing it all back around), Victor Pahlen's daughter, Kyra Pahlen - who's now the writer of Emperor: The Story of Toussaint l'Ouverture.

- The only synopsis I could find reads: The film chronicles the life, loves and battles of Toussaint l’Ouverture, who founded the world’s first independent black republic in Haiti by ousting both the Spaniards and Napoleon’s French army. In an unprecedented war of wills, the film follows the clash between Catholicism and Voodoo, inspired warfare, international politics, the eternal love triangle and the conflict between every shade of color in the small Caribbean nation.

- I couldn't find anything on who's been cast in the film, which is strange; unless it's all being kept under-wraps. But I did learn that an unknown is playing the lead role, selected after what the filmmakers call an international search for new talent, last year. They also said that this new face playing Toussaint, will be surrounded by familiar talent.

- The film is being shot mostly in Haiti, with other locations in Mauritius, Brazil and France. 

In the press statement Haiti President Michel Martelly released, it is mentioned that some proceeds from the film's profits will be used to fund restoration of historic sites in Haiti that were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.

- At the event, Amata, one of Nollywood's most famous directors today, told the President and other dignitaries in attendance, "I will not disappoint you."

- The film will be scored by George Acogny (who also worked on Blood Diamond, and Rabbit Foot Fence).

- The film is currently scheduled for an August release.

So, by all accounts, given all available data, this is a project to definitely pay attention to from here-on, and we'll be doing just that.

Jeta Amata belongs to a group/movement of Nigerian filmmakers (Kunle Afolayan, Tony Abulu and others) who want to seemingly break free of Nollywood-style filmmaking, and create work that's able to compete on the international cinema stage, and give a new face to Nigerian filmmaking.

His last feature, the political corruption drama about the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, titled Black Gold, was a Hollywood/Nollywood collaboration, and starred Mickey Rourke, Kim BassingerAnne Heche, Billy ZaneTom SizemoreVivica FoxSarah Wayne CalliesMbong AmataHakeem Kae Kazim and several others. It was re-released in Nigeria in December, after Amata re-thought and reshot parts of the film, to make it more current.

I saw the first version of Black Gold, later titled Black November, and, let's just say that I wasn't at all impressed.

But we'll see what Amata does with Toussaint l'Ouverture.

Recall last year's Toussaint l'Ouverture film, directed by Philippe Niang, which traveled the international film festival circuit (and continues to travel). It stars Jimmy Jean-Louis as the title character in what really was a 2-part TV-movie, made for French television. It still hasn't received a proper release here in the USA (or really, anywhere outside of France).

There's also Danny Glover's project which, as of today, is still in Limbo, with no indication that it'll ever become a reality.

So... now we wait for Jeta Amata's $15 million Toussaint film. Until then, I hope that we're able to get more information on the project.

This article is related to: Jeta Amata


Shadow & ActNewsletter