At Oloibiri screening, Richard Mofe-Damijo hails Nollywood for improved filmmaking technique
Oloibiri, ‘a move in commemoration of 60 years of commercial oil exploration in Nigeria,’ was screened at Silverbird Galleria, Lagos. Rogers Ofime produced and directed the movie.
Indeed, it turned out a screening for Nollywood personalities, as it had in attendance actors, producers and directors in the industry. The roll call was just as impressive: Mrs. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett (Ebiere in the movie), Mr. Olu Jacob (Temipre Dobra) and Mr. Mofe-Damijo (Gunpowder); Mr. Emeka Osai and his wife, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Kingsley Omoefe, President, Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Mr. Fred Amata, comedian, Mr. Ali Baba, Joke Silva, Mr. Segun Arinze, Mr. Steve Onu (Yaw) and many others.
After screening the movie, which focuses on oil mineral exploitation, neglect of the Niger Delta by international oil companies and the Federal Government and the resultant militancy that has engulfed the region to force redress, Mofe-Damijo expressed his pride for a being a part of the industry.
According to him, “It’s such a good time for our industry; our films are getting better and going all over the place. Cinemas are packed these days with audiences. The amazing works our people are doing is great. I couldn’t be prouder to be an actor in Nollywood than now”.
For Mofe-Damijo, working with Olu Jacob and Ajai-Lycett was always an inspiration, just as it happened in Oloibiri. But he also praised the younger actors, producers and directors emerging on the scene, saying they would do a good job of stepping on the shoes of the older players like himself. He, however, asked the young filmmakers to desist from creating needless dichotomy between the old and the young practitioners, noting that even the young ones would be old before they knew it. He enjoined the young filmmakers to work harmoniously with the old to forge a greater industry the country would proud to own.
National premiere of Oloibiri is scheduled for October 20, 2016 at MUSON Centre, while the cinema run starts from October 21. The premiere promises to have such top shots as special guest, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, chairman, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Amayanabo of Nembe, King Edmund Daukoru, Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff and Obhanoban Oloibiri, King M.A. Ogbongi while chief host is Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Dickson Seriake in attendance.
It would appear as if Oloibiri film is a vindication of Ajai-Lycett’s earlier indictment of Nollywood’s laidback attitude in taking on contemporary socio-political and environmental issues plaguing the country. She charged her colleagues to do more to engage the more challenging issues facing the country.
At the screening of Udoka Oyeka’s film last year, No good Turn, Ajai-Lycett had said, “The film seems to be about somebody discussing contemporary issues in Nigeria. Today in Nigeria, we don’t have schools, no hospitals, no roads, no love and no romance. Yet we have a thriving film industry, but it is not talking about these issues. It’s an indictment of Nollywood. It’s about awareness. We have people outside the country not talking right about us and we have a medium. We need to tell our stories in a more intelligent way. We need to move forward and tell our stories right”.
For her the screen matriarch, the film, Oloibiri, would seem like telling ‘our’ stories right, as she also stars in the film as Ebiere, a formidable underground woman aiding a militant group that is challenging status quo of exploitation, environmental degradation and the criminal neglect of oil-bearing communities.