You're wrong, I started Nollywood-Jide Kosoko

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blackpearl

Well-Known Member
#1
By Tony Ogaga Erhariefe

Living in Bondage. Remember that Igbo movie? The year was 1992 and the nation was agog with the movie, which was shot on VHS camera format.

Within a couple of years, relying on the VHS camera format, the motion picture industry churned out an array of stars like Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, Genevieve Nnaji, Segun Arinze, St Obi and Ramsay Noah among others.

However, as the industry transformed into a brand, a fresh controversy arose over its origin. While Okey Ogunjiofor, the producer of Living in Bondage is hailed as the pioneer of Nollywood in some quarters, veteran actor, Jide Kosoko strongly disagrees. He buttressed his point by arguing that the same year Ogunjiofor produced Living in Bondage, he also released his own movie, Asiri Nla, which he claims displaced Living in Bondage.

Last week, we stumbled on Ogunjiofor at the just concluded 6th edition of BOB TV in the nation's capital, Abuja.

Ogunjiofor reacted to Jide kosoko's statements.

“My brother, I don't want to join issues with Jide Kososo. He is a man that I admire so much. He is a prince and I have great regard for his person. The reason I say so is because he has been in the industry for a long time and he is one of the finest actors we have. But when it comes to the issue of when movie industry started in this country, I am not going to claim that I started it. The Ogundes and Ola Baloguns of this world were there before us. However, the films that they did never translated to an industry such as we have now. It was my experiment with VHS that changed all that.

“Let's look at Ashiri Nla, how many people saw it? But Living in Bondage was everywhere, so it dwarfed Asiri Nla. People copied the one that was visible. It was Living In Bondage that successfully experimented with this new cheap technology of making films that even people on the streets could now shoot movies. Those days of big formats and big budget films are over! Celluloid would die naturally globally. Digital video is here to stay. Weather they like it or not, celluloid is going. I trained in celluloid but it cannot sustain us,” he said.

Ripped-off

Egunjiofor sensationally disclosed that he got a miserly N1,500 as payment for producing Nollywood's first movie.

“What I made was just N1, 500. That was all that was given to me by the man who sponsored the film. The agreement was that when he recouped his initial capital from sales, we would share the remaining money. But it wasn't to be; you know the average Nigerian. I felt cheated for a very long time. Lawyers even came to me, advising me to sue him. But the name and the fame that came from the movie began to overwhelm me and I asked myself, why fight this man who gave me a chance when no one would? He believed in me and staked his money on my dreams and it turned out so well. So, what was the point in sueing him? I felt it was the prize I paid for breakfast.”

Once upon a hawker…

Like the popular saying goes, Neccessity is the mother of invention. Before he produced Living in Bondage, he was a hawker who sold women's products across the length and breadth of Lagos.

According to Ogunjiofor, after he lost his job as Power Mike's manager in the 1980s, he fell into hard times and so, he resorted to hawking as a way of raising money to pursue his dreams of making movies.

“When I left school, there was no platform to exploit what I really learnt in school which is film making. So I had to resort to hawking to raise money. After so many years of hawking women's products on the streets, I finally met a man that believed in my dreams. I did not hawk as a nobody; I hawked as a graduate, as someone who had held an office with Power Mike Promotions as General Manager. When he relocated to the East, there was no other place I could work because those who studied film were seen as dropouts. So I said to myself instead of dying of hunger and pretending to be the big boy that I am not, how about finding a way around it.”

According to him, he never believed that Nollywood would become as successful as it is today: “I did not know it would be a force to reckon with,” he said waving his hands for emphasis. “If I tell you that I had it coming, I would be lying to you. But I knew that the film industry's a very big one. I was doing something new and I did not really know its potentials. I did not know that we would become an international force to reckon with. I did not know that it would become a voice that would speak for Nigeria and Africa. I did not know that it would land us the third position in the world. I did not know that it would transform into a tool that could be used to re brand Nigeria. I was just doing it to survive.”

Despite the success of Living in Bondage, Ogunjofor has been consistently missing in action. Today, while pioneers like him have faded into the background, those who knew nothing about how Nollywood started are smiling to the banks. However, he took a philosophical position.

“It is a normal situation,” he rationalized. “ it's a natural course. Sons would always be bigger than their parents. Any father who is not happy when his children are progressing is a witch! I am not one. I am a very happy man. Look at what is happening here to day. Its happening in The USA and UK and South Africa. People are talking about Nollywood. I don't care whether they
know that I am the one or not. I am happy. My joy is that God used me to do something that is so big and people are earning a living from it. I was once on the streets and I did not find it funny. It makes me happy that what I started has come this far.”


“What I am working on now is what I call the African Audio Visual Awards (AVAA). The award is all about sound and picture; perfect sound and perfect pictures. For the 17 years that our industry has been in existence, the only problem has been sound and pictures. I believe there is a need to up our game a little bit by instituting an awards through which Nigerian movies blazing a trail could be rewarded.“Since Hollywood and Bollywood can shoot their videos digitally and still maintain good sound and pictures, then it is possible for us to do the same thing here. And the way we can jump start the process is by instituting an award. It would promote healthy rivalry among stakeholders.”

Fulfillment 17 years after the success of Living in Bondage, is he fulfilled: “Yes, I am fulfilled. But if you are predicating fulfillment on money then I must tell you that I don't measure my fulfillment in terms of my account balance. I have made such a big name that even if I die today, I would be mentioned in the Book of Life. My name has gone into the history of this nation and film production as far as Nollywood is concerned, globally.”

The Nation
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#2
Ogunjiofor reacted to Jide kosoko's statements.

“My brother, I don't want to join issues with Jide Kososo. He is a man that I admire so much. He is a prince and I have great regard for his person. The reason I say so is because he has been in the industry for a long time and he is one of the finest actors we have. But when it comes to the issue of when movie industry started in this country, I am not going to claim that I started it. The Ogundes and Ola Baloguns of this world were there before us. However, the films that they did never translated to an industry such as we have now. It was my experiment with VHS that changed all that.

“Let's look at Ashiri Nla, how many people saw it? But Living in Bondage was everywhere, so it dwarfed Asiri Nla. People copied the one that was visible. It was Living In Bondage that successfully experimented with this new cheap technology of making films that even people on the streets could now shoot movies. Those days of big formats and big budget films are over! Celluloid would die naturally globally. Digital video is here to stay. Weather they like it or not, celluloid is going. I trained in celluloid but it cannot sustain us,” he said.
He's right.

I don't think you can really argue that any Yoruba-language movie was the foundation of Nollywood.

After all, Yoruba movies were being shot on video for years before Living in Bondage but it was a niche audience that didn't make any headway toward building the kind of industry we have today.

Another thing: Nigerian journalists love starting off stories like this when writing about certain persons and events from the past:

Living in Bondage. Remember that Igbo movie?
It's a bad habit that they have REALLY got to stop. It's so annoying.
 

Sola

Administrator
Staff member
#3
I don't think you can really argue that any Yoruba-language movie was the foundation of Nollywood.
And then maybe you can...Several titles in fact...I doubt Ogunjiofor will agree he was motivated to push for his movie because he saw the success of the Yoruba movies shot on video. He wouldn't have considered making his video movie if the Yoruba movies hadn't successfully opened the avenue...
After all, Yoruba movies were being shot on video for years before Living in Bondage but it was a niche audience that didn't make any headway toward building the kind of industry we have today.
It was a huge audience still, niche notwithstanding. What the Yoruba movie makers back then did was to establish it was doable. Living in Bondage's biggest attraction to its own niche audience back then was the fact that it was the first of its kind, while the Yoruba market had already been saturated. We all know the attraction a first product in a genre can have...So, Living in Bondage understandably sold like hell...

But you can't deny the fact that producers like Ogunjiofor took what the Yoruba video filmmakers started to the next level with the infusion of money though...
It's a bad habit that they have REALLY got to stop. It's so annoying.
'Cause...It wasn't an Igbo movie?

Its really hard to get into this sort of thread without sounding one-kind, and that's why I stay out of 'em...
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#5
And then maybe you can...Several titles in fact...I doubt Ogunjiofor will agree he was motivated to push for his movie because he saw the success of the Yoruba movies shot on video. He wouldn't have considered making his video movie if the Yoruba movies hadn't successfully opened the avenue...
It was a huge audience still, niche notwithstanding. What the Yoruba movie makers back then did was to establish it was doable. Living in Bondage's biggest attraction to its own niche audience back then was the fact that it was the first of its kind, while the Yoruba market had already been saturated. We all know the attraction a first product in a genre can have...So, Living in Bondage understandably sold like hell...
I would call the Yoruba video movies the progenitors of Living in Bondage and Nollywood--"proto-Nollywood," if you will.

To use a musical analogy, it's much like the way James Brown's heavily rhythmic style of R&B laid the foundation that would be built into a genre called Funk by the likes of Sly & the Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic, but James Brown's music wasn't really Funk, and is only referred to as such retroactively.

The Yoruba movies had a large audience, for sure... But it was still a niche. What Living in Bondage did was open a huge NATIONAL market... I'm still not sure HOW or WHY exactly it so, as it was in Igbo and should have been niche itself.

It's hard for me to make up my mind about what was so different about Living in Bondage since I haven't seen most of the Yoruba video plays... But my vague memories have them being somewhat... provincial in their appeal. And not long ago Raskimono sent me a 1995 article that described, for instance, Aromire's productions as often being shot in a single room, with three movies being shot in a single day without the actors changing costumes between movies, let alone between scenes.

If I'm to assume that the general standard of the Yoruba video plays was around that level, then it would seem that what set Living in Bondage apart might have been its ambition, its scale, its production values.

The Yoruba productions might have planted the seed indicating that films could be directly shot and distributed on video, but Living in Bondage (from where I am standing right now, anyway) built the idea that they could be actual MOVIES and not just filmed theater shows.

For that reason, I tend to think of Bondage as the true ground zero for Nollywood, while the Yoruba films are more like prehistory--definitely essential contributors, but not exactly part of the same continuity.

Sola said:
'Cause...It wasn't an Igbo movie?
No... It has nothing to do with that.

I just hate that "Remember _____?" that is frequently used in Nigerian journalism to open up articles on people who were famous, say, over 15 years ago.

"Remember Felix Lebarty?"
"Remember Kalu Okpi?"
"Remember Ovie-Whiskey?"

My main problem with it is that

1) it's cliched, probably almost as much as the overuse of the verb "storm"
2) it's an ineffective writing device because it is a "closed question." If I pick up an article and it starts by asking me "Remember Mustapha Amego?" if my answer to that question is "No," then the dialogue is pretty much closed.

Rather than the journalist doing his job, which is relaying information to me, he is counting on me already having the information, and if I don't have that info... then the piece already fails.

TELL ME who Mustapha Amego is. Give me a brief rundown of what he did/does and why I should be reading about him. ENGAGE me as a reader. Let me walk away feeling like I have learned something!
 

Angela81

Well-Known Member
#6
you live in nigeria, work in small time nollywood, yet you claim authoritatively that film will go extinct. it is because you cannot afford to use it? shuo....u even call it celluloid. shows how little familiarity u have with it.

FYI digital can dance around all it wants. it will never take over film. advance homemovies before u make power statements.


Ogunjiofor reacted to Jide kosoko's statements.

“My brother, I don't want to join issues with Jide Kososo. He is a man that I admire so much. He is a prince and I have great regard for his person. The reason I say so is because he has been in the industry for a long time and he is one of the finest actors we have. But when it comes to the issue of when movie industry started in this country, I am not going to claim that I started it. The Ogundes and Ola Baloguns of this world were there before us. However, the films that they did never translated to an industry such as we have now. It was my experiment with VHS that changed all that.

“Let's look at Ashiri Nla, how many people saw it? But Living in Bondage was everywhere, so it dwarfed Asiri Nla. People copied the one that was visible. It was Living In Bondage that successfully experimented with this new cheap technology of making films that even people on the streets could now shoot movies. Those days of big formats and big budget films are over! Celluloid would die naturally globally. Digital video is here to stay. Weather they like it or not, celluloid is going. I trained in celluloid but it cannot sustain us,” he said.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#7
you live in nigeria, work in small time nollywood, yet you claim authoritatively that film will go extinct. it is because you cannot afford to use it? shuo....u even call it celluloid. shows how little familiarity u have with it.

FYI digital can dance around all it wants. it will never take over film. advance homemovies before u make power statements.
It's a generally accepted fact around the world that the use of film stock will probably decline over the next several years as digital video technology becomes more pervasive, more advanced and more environment-friendly. It's not something that anybody in Nigeria dreamed up... It's universal.

What's wrong with the use of the word "celluloid"? It's an accurate description, is it not? We tend to use the word in Nigeria for clarity's sake.
 

Angela81

Well-Known Member
#8
It's a generally accepted fact around the world that the use of film stock will probably decline over the next several years as digital video

it is marketing strategy. how long have they been saying this?

its only low budget independent filmmakers who keep drumming it up. at the end of the day, digital is more expensive because you will end going for corrections to get the "film look". so what is the point? neways, it was funny that he said it so authoritatively.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#9
it is marketing strategy. how long have they been saying this?

its only low budget independent filmmakers who keep drumming it up. at the end of the day, digital is more expensive because you will end going for corrections to get the "film look". so what is the point? neways, it was funny that he said it so authoritatively.
Nobody said that digital is going to displace film overnight... But slowly, the transition is taking place.

It's not only indies that are using digital now. Big Hollywood filmmakers George Lucas, Peter Jackson, David Fincher, Michael Mann etc. are using it.
Big-budget blockbusters like Superman Returns are being shot on it. Could you even imagine filmmakers of that stature shooting on VIDEO ten years ago?

And yes, you still have to spend extra money to go for the film look, but it's still less than you pay for 35mm film stock, rentals and processing.

Furthermore, digital technology is developing every day... The cameras out there now are much better than the ones we had 10 years ago... hell, even TWO years ago. Pretty soon, it will progress to the point that you no longer have to do as much correction on it.

And how is celluloid developing to compete? It's not!

The fact that digital will eventually outstrip film is inevitable.

Mind you, some people still disagree... and they are welcome to hold that opinion, but they can't really advance any real arguments for film besides purely aesthetic ones.

I think it's unfair for you to abuse Ogunjiofor just because he expressed a viewpoint that is generally acceptable as common sense all over the world. If you don't cosign his point, then disagree and come with a strong counter-argument... Why insult the guy and Nollywood as a whole?
 

sidney

Well-Known Member
#10
it is marketing strategy. how long have they been saying this?

its only low budget independent filmmakers who keep drumming it up. at the end of the day, digital is more expensive because you will end going for corrections to get the "film look". so what is the point? neways, it was funny that he said it so authoritatively.
My dear, from a technological and cost standpoint, this will happen. The digital technology is advancing far faster than film. Who would have thought that Analog TV would be completely obsolete for TV. That has been analog since inception.

It might be hyped when this change will occur, as if it will ocrrus sooner than later. That I am not sure of. But will it happend? Absolutely...
 

Angela81

Well-Known Member
#11
Negative format: 35 mm (high-speed shots) / HDCAM
Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format) / HDCAM SR (1080p/24) (source format) / Panavision (anamorphic) (source format) (high-speed shots)
Printed format: 35 mm (anamorphic) (Kodak Vision 2383) / 70 mm (horizontal) (Kodak Vision 2383) (IMAX DMR blow-up) / D-Cinema
Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1


above is the process superman returns went through. and half of its scenes were shot on film, then printed back to film. at the end of the day, what is the point? the people you mentioned do not go to rent the camera. it is given to them. My friend just worked with Micheal "sctatterbrain" Mann as a 2nd 2nd AC, they were handed an additional HD camera by panavision for advertising. so, if it comes down to it, they really don't want to use no silky HD video.
the studios can afford it. they have money to correct in the davinci's. does the independnet filmmaker? film is way more affordable than HD in the long run. so let the marketers give all the theories they want to give. FILM ALL THE WAY

what advancement do you you the film strip to go through? they've gone two perf for economic reasons, they have various formats and they are developing various telecine formats. DI is the in thing now.

I don't remember insulting the man. I have just had enough of Nollywood practitioners making authoritative statements when it is not represented in their body of work. you walk the walk before you talk the talk. this is just talk talk talk... mouth to mouth.
 

Angela81

Well-Known Member
#12
My dear, from a technological and cost standpoint, this will happen. The digital technology is advancing far faster than film. Who would have thought that Analog TV would be completely obsolete for TV. That has been analog since inception.

It might be hyped when this change will occur, as if it will ocrrus sooner than later. That I am not sure of. But will it happend? Absolutely...
you know renting an HD camera and going through the process is more expensive in the long run? unless you are looking at going straight to DVD. no treatments what so ever. from your timeline to DVD. then sure, for the independnet filmmaker that will happen.

by the time to try to shoot with all the resources of a 2k scan in HD, you might as well rent an SR2. to rent the genesis, just the body is 15,000 per week. so now every one is going RED. which is still expensive in the long run.

I support the DOPs who do not think Digital will take over film.

look, I just do not like the video look. that's all.
 

sidney

Well-Known Member
#13
you know renting an HD camera and going through the process is more expensive in the long run? unless you are looking at going straight to DVD. no treatments what so ever. from your timeline to DVD. then sure, for the independnet filmmaker that will happen.

by the time to try to shoot with all the resources of a 2k scan in HD, you might as well rent an SR2. to rent the genesis, just the body is 15,000 per week. so now every one is going RED. which is still expensive in the long run.

I support the DOPs who do not think Digital will take over film.
look, I just do not like the video look. that's all.
And they will be left behind like the photographers who fought the digital conversion. Who, I am sure, have changed or been overtaken, or remain relics that are no longer mainstream.

Angela... If you are upset that people think film is going away today, that's understandable. But the digital technology will, I repeat, will overtake film. Whether you or the DPs like it or not..

Once the quality advances to acceptable levels it will become the norm.. Just as digital photography is the norm today.. This was absurd to think of just 10 years ago. Then 4 megapixles was a lot... Even animation went through this transformation. Once the acceptable quality was achieved, now almost all animation is digital now.

I am speaking from a techonological and economic stnadpoint. This WILL happen. People are actively working to make it so. Not film people, technology people, who are looking to improve on visual quality EVERY single day... The R&D departments of all the companies that make film are actively trying to make digital work.. It is cheaper! It is all about money, once the quality is acceptable.

Film is the last frontier. Photography, TV, even print has gone digital and you think film will stem the tide? Wow.......

This will happen... When? I have no idea. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but happen, it will.... Resume you back and forth with TS. As it won't change a thing.....
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#14
you know renting an HD camera and going through the process is more expensive in the long run? unless you are looking at going straight to DVD. no treatments what so ever. from your timeline to DVD. then sure, for the independnet filmmaker that will happen.

by the time to try to shoot with all the resources of a 2k scan in HD, you might as well rent an SR2. to rent the genesis, just the body is 15,000 per week. so now every one is going RED. which is still expensive in the long run.

I support the DOPs who do not think Digital will take over film.

look, I just do not like the video look. that's all.
I don't like the video look, either... But the video look of 2009 is not the same video look of 1999.

The technology IS progressing, and it WILL displace film. This is inevitable.

The DPs who argue that film is here to stay are just over-sentimental. Look, i LOVE film... I wish it would never go away.

But I also loved vinyl records and cassette tapes and I didn't want them to be replaced by CDs. I argued that vinyl sounded better than CD (it does) but that didn't stop the inevitable from happening.

I wish vinyl would have stayed. And now I am wishing that CDs themselves will not become obsolete, replaced by intangible mp3 playlists on iPods.

But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride... and yet, they would not ride fast enough to halt the march of technology.

It's better to just face the reality and find a way to adapt to it the best you can.
 

sidney

Well-Known Member
#15
I don't like the video look, either... But the video look of 2009 is not the same video look of 1999.

The technology IS progressing, and it WILL displace film. This is inevitable.
The DPs who argue that film is here to stay are just over-sentimental. Look, i LOVE film... I wish it would never go away.

But I also loved vinyl records and didn't want it to replaced with CDs. I argued that vinyl sounded better than CD (it does) but that didn't stop the inevitable from happening.

I wish vinyl would have stayed. And now I am wishing that CDs themselves will not become obsolete, replaced by mp3 playlists on iPods.

But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride... and yet, they would not ride fast enough to halt the march of technology.

It's better to just face the reality and find a way to adapt to it the best you can.
This is the issue... She is speaking as if the technology will remain at it's present level or never acheive any additional advancements....

And you may like your vinyl better, and it might be your preference but digitally recorded music is far superior in terms of audio quality.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#16
This is the issue... She is speaking as if the technology will remain at it's present level or never acheive any additional advancements....

And you may like your vinyl better, and it might be your preference but digitally recorded music is far superior in terms of audio quality.
Enhhh... I know neither of us wants to go to deep into this, so we won't... But I think it depends on what you mean by "audio quality."

On a simple mathematical level, it's easy to defend that argument, but digitally recorded music loses a lot of the richness of texture and atmosphere that it's not easy to quantify in terms of bits and bytes.

(plus, some studies have propounded that one thing CD did was make the music a lot LOUDER... probably more so than is even healthy for the ear.)
 

sidney

Well-Known Member
#17
Enhhh... I know neither of us wants to go to deep into this, so we won't... But I think it depends on what you mean by "audio quality."

On a simple mathematical level, it's easy to defend that argument, but digitally recorded music loses a lot of the richness of texture and atmosphere that it's not easy to quantify in terms of bits and bytes.

(plus, some studies have propounded that one thing CD did was make the music a lot LOUDER... probably more so than is even healthy for the ear.)
By the technical standards audio quaility is judge.. Scientifically. What frequencies are heard, clear, etc... Volumne can be controlled.

But if your measure of judgement is preference, rather than any techinical specifications, then you will say that vinyl is "better"...

I would say I "prefer" it.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#18
By the technical standards audio quaility is judge.. Scientifically. What frequencies are heard, clear, etc... Volumne can be controlled.

But if your measure of judgement is preference, rather than any techinical specifications, then you will say that vinyl is "better"...

I would say I "prefer" it.
Fair enough.
 

Chiangel

Well-Known Member
#19
Who cares who started what? I don't hear other countires babbling on who started Hollywood, Bollywood, Zimbabwehood, Europeanhood, enough already. Jeezz.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#20
Who cares who started what? I don't hear other countires babbling on who started Hollywood, Bollywood, Zimbabwehood, Europeanhood, enough already. Jeezz.
It IS important to establish these things, though... It's essential for us to know our history.

I mean, Hollywood is celebrating like a century of activity and just about every detail can be accounted for and transmitted to the next generation... Nollywood is barely 20 years old and already we can't tell you how it started, who started it, or show you most of the early productions.

That's a shame.
 
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