Although the Nollywood film industry is one of the fastest-growing film markets around, it still contends with a "poor quality films" perception often attached in describing the industry but filmmaker Obi Emelonye hopes to change that with his new big-budget thriller.
His hit film The Mirror Boy was a huge success, critically and financially, in the UK and throughout Africa last year. His latest production, Last Flight To Abuja, is the first-ever Nollywood disaster film and, with a budget of $500,000, will become one of the most expensive Nollywood films made.
He realizes there's skepticism but thinks that can change telling The Voice..."I know there is a little bit of doubt about how would we compare in terms of quality of production values and storyline to Hollywood. But that argument is being won right now. Film-makers like myself are trying to use the conventions, the visual narrative style and the technology of the West in a very unique African way, to tell our own stories.”
Last Flight To Abuja is inspired by real events that took place in 2006 when the country’s civil aviation authority was rocked by a series of incidents that left hundreds dead. The film will premiere this March in London followed by UK-wide release.
Despite expanding his market base, Emelonye has no plans of compromising his artistic integrity just to appeal to the west. “I won’t change my philosophy to go mainstream. If five percent of black people in the UK go out and see the film it will be number one. We don’t have to remake what we do to become mainstream," he said.
(h/t Ashley Akunna)