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Clap of Thunder

Discussion in 'Nollywood Movies & TV Shows' started by Sola, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Sola

    Sola Administrator Staff Member

    By NEXT

    Soon to join the swelling ranks of Nollywood movies at cinemas is ‘Clap of Thunder’, an epic film directed by Emeka Jonathan. Jonathan is no rookie to the profession, as he has directed over 40 films in the last eight years. He unveils himself and the new movie in this interview.

    Tell us about ‘Clap of Thunder’?

    I don’t want to give too much away. However, it was produced by Peace Egwu and is her first. It features Enebeli Elebuwa, Ebube Nwagbo, and a host of others. The innovation is you premiere your movie first and then release it at the cinemas. We hope to do that with this movie. It will premiere in March in Calabar. We are also going to release it in cinemas afterwards.

    We are looking at bringing new talents, good storylines into the filmmaking business. That’s the best way. We have a lot of talent, let’s discover them. We can use maybe one or two stars but let’s also give room for fresh talent. I am a part of that change. You’ll see new faces in this movie.

    Is this another Nollywood movie or should we expect more?

    You cannot take a low quality film to the cinema because it will be scrutinised for picture quality, sound, and storyline before they put it on. So, this movie has a lot to offer. It’s an epic film in English but set in the Igbo cultural background. The storyline is different and it’s got suspense. The settings and the costume are also different. If you shoot a movie in Asaba or Enugu or any of the usual locations, people can easily tell. We don’t create time to scout for choice locations for our movies.

    However, ‘Clap of Thunder’ was shot in a very different location. It was shot in a serene location called Akpabio which is about 30 minutes drive to Calabar. I think government’s intervention is also necessary in this area. The industry needs a film village.

    What about Tinapa?

    We shot a few scenes in Tinapa. It is not a film village in the actual sense of the word. Though you can get some production equipment there, it’s more of a fun place, a rendezvous for people to go and relax.

    When did the interest in directing begin?

    I’ve always had the zeal. However, my first interest in filmmaking began between 1991 and 1992. This was the period I featured in the popular soap, ‘Ripples’. I was in my first year in the university at the time. My godfather, Alex Usifo, who was also in the soap, contributed to my getting the role. It was a minor role. The first project I directed was a soap opera, ‘Sweet Angel’. It aired between 2004 and 2007. I actually produced and directed the soap and it used to also run on Africa Magic alongside other soaps like ‘Treasures’. Then I moved into movies. The first movie I directed was ‘Godmother’ which was released in 2006. So far, I have done ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Wise Choice’, ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Dancing Hall’ and many others. ‘Desperate Housewives’ won Best Picture and Best Directing awards at the Nigerian Movie Awards last year.

    What is your take on the Nigerian movie industry?

    The industry is moving forward. President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposed loan to support the entertainment industry is also a good thing. We’ve been praying for this kind of support from the government for a long time.

    However, the industry needs to be restructured. Before, we used to produce movies indiscriminately but now the tempo is coming down because we keep recycling stories. You don’t rush your movies. Now, people are looking at the cinema so we need to produce quality films so that people can get value for their money. You cannot spend N1, 500 to go see a worthless movie. I don’t mind shooting two or three quality films in a year than 20 which are of low quality.

    What do you make of the newly released movies making waves at the big screens?

    It’s a good thing. I think it helps professionalism. Like the movie ‘Ije’, the lady who produced it did a good job. There is a lot involved in making a good movie. Sometimes, investors are scared of investing in a movie because there are miscreants who take all of the money and then use a small part of it for the actual production while they spend the rest on themselves.

    However, God is reshuffling the industry and is bringing out the greats, those who have prospects. Video clubs are not helping issues. Internationally when you shoot a movie, you premiere first then you take it to the cinema before you release into the market, which is the last resort. So, a movie can be put on CD four years after its release date. For instance, ‘Ije’ is not in the market, it’s in the cinemas. You just don’t shoot a film, release it into the market and next people are renting them from video clubs. People should be encouraged to buy movies.

    The guys at Mount Zion Films ensure that their films are bought as they have a licensed distribution structure and they do not allow their movies get into the hands of video club owners.

    Aside from some of what you have stated, what other changes would you like to see in the Nigerian movie industry?

    A stronger relationship between the media, the audience and the industry. In terms of publicity and awareness, marketers should set aside funds for advertisements in every arm of the media so that people can be informed about the latest movies, know what movies are making hits and which are not.

    Also, I think movie directors should get first-rate remuneration for their work. But in Nollywood, the actors get paid more money than the directors. The director does a lot of work and stays on till post-production, ensuring that everything is in place before the film is released.

    Any upcoming projects?

    Yes. There is a soap opera in the works, which I will be directing. It is an Igbo soap opera, done in Igbo language. It will feature the likes of Ernest Obi, Ngozi Ezeonu, and Peter Bunor. Africa Magic and Infinity will be on set with us while we shoot.

    We’ll be going on location by the end of the month to shoot another movie that will feature Onyeka Onwenu, Tonto Dike, and Yemi Blaq.


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