Thursday, 5 July 2012

NOLLYWOOD'S BEST SCREEN WRITERS


I asked you guys to vote for your top Nollywood screenwriters and these are the names you have sent me. Well my name has been sent in ahead of others not necessarily because i am better than anybody else but because i am the one asking you to vote and it would have been impolite not to vote me in and of course it is my blog anyway- i understand all that. but here are some of the people i have tremendous respect for and i am absolutely sure that they deserve their place here. Some of them have been termed eccentric like my old friend Dickson Iroegbu. Some are controversial like sex symbol Tchidi Chikere, others have it all put together like the inimitable Emem Isong but whatever they are, these are the people who manufacture the words that run the movie industry. they are all award winning writers in their own rights and here are some of the interviews they have granted about their works and their lives, culled from different sites, enjoy.

REGINALD EBERE
REGINALD EBERE
You can’t talk about the Nigerian film industry without mentioning a few titans, and one of those names is Reginald Ebere. For those who may be wondering why, we have 3 answers for you: Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Kate Henshaw-Nuttall, and Bob Manuel-Udokwu! Reginald is the movie director who launched the career of movie megastar Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde with the movie Venom Of Justice. He was also credited for launching the career of Nollywood sweetheart Kate Henshaw and at the same time, blossom the career of Bob Manuel-Udokwu, which was then at the teething stage. Yes, Reginald gave us the megahit movies Venom Of Justice and When The Sun Sets. The Nollywood veteran, who is also a Pastor, is still here and waxing strong. He just finished a new movie titled The King And The Priest, starring Mercy Johnson, Olu Jacobs, and others.

Today, the talented moviemaker sat down with Nollywoodgossip’s At Home With Aniema for an EXCLUSIVE chat. Excerpts:

Please tell us briefly about yourself?

My name is Reginald Ebere, the first of two sons from the late Sir Silas Ebere and Lady Cecilia Ebere. I am from Abia State Nigeria, a graduate of theatre arts from the University of Jos Nigeria, CEO of the script company THE SCRIPT FACTORY, Channel Manager and Head of Production on the infinity TV platform. A movie writer/Director, married to Maureen Ebere, and a father of three boys.

You have been in the movie directing business for many years now. Could you please tell us briefly about your journey into movie making?

My journey started when I resigned from HINTS MAGAZINE and they (Hints) were getting ready to shoot their first movie WHEN THE SUN SETS. I was recalled to write the movie and I also was made the assistant director for the project. It was from there that I broke into the industry.

How many movies have you directed so far?

I cannot say exactly, but it is in the region of fifty…plus.

Which is the most challenging movie you have ever done and why is it so?

I think it was a project called SCARS OF WOMANHOOD. I was very young and was producing the movie with my partner. I had a plethora of intimidating stars like the late Sam Loco Efe, Christy Essien Igbokwe, in what must have been her only movie, Justus Esiri, Kate Henshaw, Jude Orhora, Francis Duru, Julius Agwu, and Basorge Tariah. The job was also highly technical and I set a very high bar for myself. I thank God it all came out well.

Tell us about your new movie?

It’s called THE KING AND THE PRIEST. It is a convoluted picture of a princess, who willingly gave herself to a hunter boy who got her pregnant and that resulted in very grave consequences for her, her lover and the land. It is a traditional story.

Who are the artistes playing the lead roles?

Mercy Johnson, Yul Edochie, Olu Jacobs, Ebele Okaro-onyuike.

Some of our Nollywood Producers/Directors are taking their movies to the cinemas, should we expect same with this new movie of yours?

Definitely! It was shot with high end equipment so we expect to both premiere in and also run at the cinemas.

What are the challenges you face as a Director, Writer and Pastor?

The same challenges that everybody who wants to do an excellent job faces in a society where things are not done the right way. The challenges of lack of professionalism, limited access to quality funding, lack of power and energy, an absolute lack of the right distribution channels for finished works. I don’t have challenges preaching the word of God and working within the industry.

Which movie will you say gave you that breakthrough in your career as a Director?

I think it was the movie Venom of Justice. It was the first movie I did on my own without being an assistant director, and it was the movie that introduced OMOTOLA JOLADE EKEINDE into Nollywood.

Tell us the highest amount that you have ever invested in a movie?

I hardly produce anyway but I have spent sums of over five million when I have done.

How do you rate the Nigerian movie industry compared to ten years ago?

The industry has grown tremendously in areas of technical input, quantity of jobs done, and reach – especially internationally. But in terms of quality, there was a massive drop in the late nineties and it is only about picking up and that was simply because nonprofessionals took over the industry. With the success of Ije also there is more access to quality funding.

There has been a lot of nudity in Nollywood movies of recent, what do you say to this?

Art imitates life. There is a lot of nudity in our society these days. Women are walking around the streets with their private parts hanging out all over the place. That is the simple reason, perversity has taken over. Pornography sells in any culture, three quarters of decent people I know are hooked on sites like ‘youporn’. So, though we all condemn what is going on from the outside, we are guilty of promoting all these stupidity. It is the vibes we are putting out that the art world is receiving and reproducing.

If you were not a movie director/writer what would you be doing?

I could never have thought about being any other thing, this is what I went to school to study and it is what I was always going to do for a living, though I can do most things equally well. I paint rather well and I manage to sing some songs well, I have also been a journalist and a waka-pass actor.

The President during his inauguration ceremony promised to direct the CBN governor to grant some huge amount of loan to Nollywood to boost its growth and production, could you tell us if the President has made good his promise and who are the beneficiaries of these loans?

I honestly do not think that the intention of the president was to grant loans to individuals to make movies or produce musical albums. I think the fund which has been deposited in the Bank Of Industry is for the development of structures for the entertainment industry, and even if I know who may have benefited from the funds, it will be inconvenient to say so at this period.

Could you tell us why Nollywood even though it has been rated the 2nd best in the world cannot boast of a scientific (sci-fi) movie?

If you say SCIENTIFIC MOVIE, it depends on exactly what you mean. If you are talking about big bang special effects, then it is as a result of where we are technology wise. We do not have the right equipment, personnel, or steady power supply to sustain such productions yet.

Where do you expect to see yourself in the next five years in the movie directing business?

Refer to this interview in five years’ time, when I win the academy awards (Oscar award) and I also expect that I would have effectively engineered the new Nollywood by helping train new cine-castes to produce better movies. I also hope to have established the NOLLYWOOD UNIVERSITY where people will be trained in every area of movie making…that is what I am working on now.

Are you aware of the lesbianism rumors among the female actresses in the industry?

Female artistes are human beings living in this society and they are susceptible to human foibles. It is not only in Nollywood that such acts are rife, it is everywhere. Though I believe such acts are inimical to God’s design for relationships of his children, everybody chooses which life he or she lives.

Do you see yourself co-directing a movie with a foreign producer someday?

I had something planned out with one of my friends PABLO FUETERVENTURA, a Spanish DIRECTOR. I believe it will still come to pass as we continue to work on it. It is a project called WAHALA.

Who are your role models?

Well, of course, Jesus, My pastor Chris Oyakhilome, My father, for all his drive and crazy but unbelievable humility.

Can you tell us your achievements so far?

My biggest is my family, my beautiful and absolutely captivating wife Maureen and my 3 awesome dudes. They are the only achievement I care about, every other thing is secondary.

Many artistes have been going into movie production/directing of recent, what is your view on this?

It is a booming industry. It is a ready way out of poverty and an easy way to fame and fortune.

Any regrets so far?

My life is beautiful. If I have any regrets then my journey would have been wasted. I regret nothing for everything is a lesson to make you a better person.

There have been some rumors that some producers and directors sleep with some of the female actresses before giving them scripts, what do say to this?

Natural normal human relationships. Wherever beautiful bodies and massive egos are concerned such things happen. It happens in banking, it happens in oil, it happens in every arm of industry and life; you use what you have to get what you want. The producers and directors who are doing that have not forced these actresses to sleep with them, let us not be sanctimonious here. These are all consenting adults; there will always be the story of the director and the beautiful ingénue.

Is there anything you want to tell us we don’t know?

No I am a very private person.

Any advice for your fans?

Every human being has value and has feelings. Do not hurt people, do not look down on anybody, do not deliberately hurt any man, and learn to allow the love of God grow in your hearts towards every human. It is our responsibility; we all can live together happily on this earth. IMAGINE THAT THERE ARE NO BORDERS, NO TRIBES, NO TONGUES.

EMEM ISONG
EMEM ISONG 
Getting scriptwriter, producer, director an actress, Emem Isong, for an interview is achieving a great feat. Aside the fact that she is always busy producing one film or the other, her newborn baby, Kenechi gives her more work.

Speaking to Klieglights on the experience of combining motherhood with her job she said, "it hasn't been easy but I employ competent hands around me. I go with him to location most times."

When Kelechi was a 10-month-old, she had to carry him from Lagos to Eket in Akwa-Ibom State, to Abuja and Benin to shoot the film Uyai. According to her, "I wrote the script when I was in the ninth month of my pregnancy."

Not even pregnancy or childbirth could deter the hardworking Emem from producing her movie. She would however not comment on who the father of her baby is. On wedding bells she said, "I will definitely let you know about that very soon. But then I don't think the world wants to know about my personal life."

Since 1994, Emem has written and produced more than 17 movies some of which have won awards both nationally and internationally. Aside being a backstage person, Emem seems to be coming out to the fore of the screen these days. According to her, "I have always featured in some of my movies in one scene or the other. I did Critical Decision, Shattered Illusion and others but then, I consider myself more of a backstage person. I produce and write most times."
Emem Isong is without doubt one of the few good screenwriters in Nigeria and one of the reasons Nollywood movies are being celebrated abroad.

In 2003, her film Emotional Crack was nominated for the New York African Film Festival. The film's major theme is wife battering in Africa; Chidi (Ramsey Nouah) derives pleasure in beating his wife, Crystal. The film is directed by Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen. Aside this movie, she has also written and produced Games Men Play, A Piece of Flesh, Reloaded, Promise Me Forever, Girls in the Hood, Private Sin, Behind Closed Doors, Darkest Night, Enslaved, Games Women Play, Masterstroke, Men Do Cry, Blind Obsession, Silence of the Gods, Ekaete, For Real, Endless Lies and Critical Decision among others. Speaking on how she comes about her storylines, which is usually a refreshing contrast to most Nollywood movies some of which lacks content she said, "I would say I'm just creative. I read books a lot and I watch movies too so I guess the idea just flows."

Emem Isong has always been interested in the make-believe world. She studied theatre arts at the University of Calabar and according to her, "I got into movies after I graduated and that was in 1996. I did my first movie called Breaking Point and several other movies after that."

According to her, film production was out of the little knowledge she got from school then. "I studied theatre arts and that was the closest we had in filmmaking. We had a course in the arts called film and television. It's a one-year course on the rudiments of filmmaking. Aside this, I would say it's the passion I had that had made me achieve my goal as a producer."

Emem, who initially began with movies with romantic and social themes seems to have turned to comedy recently, with the production of Uyai, which will be premiered in November. According to her, "Uyai is a language movie that I shot in my place and the cast includes Moses Armstrong, Ini Edo and Desmond Elliot. It's a comedy about a man who decides to travel but somehow does not make it. His wife thinks he did, that night it is shown on the news that the bus her husband is supposed to travel in is involved in an accident and she even goes to the mortuary to confirm the dead body of her husband. The question is who then is the person in her house claiming to be her husband?"

Explaining the choice of artistes she said, "I had to choose the artistes that can speak my language because the film is shot in my language and Desmond Elliot directed it."

Speaking on her special relationship with Desmond Elliot and the fact that he always appears in her movies she said, "He's always acting in most of my films because he is an actor that I respect very much, he is also my friend so why shouldn't he be in my movie?"

 On the journey so far, from 1996 till date, "it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice, especially in a terrain that is not so favourable to filmmakers. Filmmaking is a new industry in Nigeria and people did not take it seriously then, but now I think it is getting better. So far it has been rewarding, to me. Success is relative. It is when I have good films and I think I have that."

On her storylines that have made her famous she said, "when I first started I did my movies myself, I guess it's a gift from God but along the line, I also worked with other people. I may conceive a story and someone else does the scripting or someone might conceive the story and I do the scripting.
Emem is from a family of writers.

"My younger brother is a writer but he does more of creative writings like poems and songs. My sister is also a scriptwriter so yes I would say that we are all writers in the family."

Aside filmmaking Emem said there is nothing else for her to do. She is sold out to movie production and right now she says, "I'm working on premiering the movie Uyai. Shortly after that I will work on another movie."

Her hobbies include watching movies, reading and hanging out with friends.

Getting scriptwriter, producer, director an actress, Emem Isong, for an interview is achieving a great feat. Aside the fact that she is always busy producing one film or the other, her newborn baby, Kenechi gives her more work.

Speaking to Klieglights on the experience of combining motherhood with her job she said, "it hasn't been easy but I employ competent hands around me. I go with him to location most times."

When Kelechi was a 10-month-old, she had to carry him from Lagos to Eket in Akwa-Ibom State, to Abuja and Benin to shoot the film Uyai. According to her, "I wrote the script when I was in the ninth month of my pregnancy."

Not even pregnancy or childbirth could deter the hardworking Emem from producing her movie. She would however not comment on who the father of her baby is. On wedding bells she said, "I will definitely let you know about that very soon. But then I don't think the world wants to know about my personal life."

Since 1994, Emem has written and produced more than 17 movies some of which have won awards both nationally and internationally. Aside being a backstage person, Emem seems to be coming out to the fore of the screen these days. According to her, "I have always featured in some of my movies in one scene or the other. I did Critical Decision, Shattered Illusion and others but then, I consider myself more of a backstage person. I produce and write most times."

COURTESY NIGERIAN MOVIES.NET

DICKSON IROEGBU
DICKSON IROEGBU
Dickson Nnamdi Iroegbu is a promising young man who seems to have visions and a mission to make great changes in Nigeria.

A Nollywood Filmmaker cum Author who hails from Eastern part of Nigeria, Dickson has many books and movies to his credit. Recently, the outspoken movie director veered into politics and has since been campaigning for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. “Goodluck for Nigeria” and “It’s Possible” have become his slogans.

Dickson Iroegbu was the first Nigerian movie director to win the African Movies Academy Award (AMAA) in 2005.

Last Year Dickson came out with a book titled Save Our Plateau.

In this interview with NOLLYWOODGOSSIP’s LIVE ONLINE WITH DELIA , Dickson takes you into his new life of politics, his philosophies, and his many new projects. Excerpt:

You called your book ‘Save Our Plateau’, is the book about Plateau or about Nigeria?

Plateau is used as a metaphor to discuss Nigeria…

Could you please explain to common Nigerians the metaphor behind Plateau?

Nigeria is in need of transformation. When I was writing ‘Save Our Plateau’, this great country faced a major casting/auditioning in the political firmament. As a filmmaker, I saw women and children killed daily by their neighbors. Then I said, make a movie of Nigeria and my best has always been in poetry. So I was faced with the responsibility of writing my first love letter to my fatherland. I needed a good cast for the transformational story, and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is the best character amongst the casts. Save Our Plateau actually means “Save our fatherland” that is the Metaphor…..Our father land…



(cut in) I love the fact that you called it your first love letter to fatherland.

Yes… That’s what it is.

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

How do you see Nigeria in the next 2 years?

United, Focused, Determined, Tried, Braver and Greater.

In your opinion, how could Nigeria achieve what you just mentioned?

First, we must make sure our votes count.

Many people seem to have given up all hopes of Nigeria ever achieving unity. Do you thing that President Goodluck Jonathan could bring unity to Nigeria?

Mr. President is in dire need of all of us to drive away the hawks in power, and as our leader, he has shown the right direction so far. A little benefit of doubt can solve the “Ifs” theory in filmmaking. If he continues this way, then soon, very soon we shall be united.

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

Earlier this year, President Goodluck Jonathan gave the Entertainment Industry a huge some of money, has the fund affected any positive changes in the industry?

Now that is the area I tried to keep mute, because I know we are going to make our Industry work again. All we needed was to get our Leaders understand the need to partner with us in this transformational movement. I guess, we dare him to account for the funds if not implemented graciously. Nollywood has not been contacted so far, and we understand the importance of this election to all Nigerians. So we are waiting, counting the glory. We have Saved Nigeria. We will build back this industry the same way.

In one of my articles about President Goodluck Jonathan, I wrote that it seems he now understands the needs of Nigerians, has he really understood what Nigeria needs?

Well, like many actors, we have seen him improve by the day. I personally trust him. I can fight for him to shine like a star. He said he will ensure that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry, it is not about crying, he has started taking actions already.

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

Sorry that I’m asking you much about the president

(laughs) it’s ok, he is the man of the moment.

What Actions has he taking to achieve that?

Trust is coming back into the system of governance, free and fair election with transparency.

You were doing well in the Entertainment industry, why veer into Politics?

There is no success without a better society. For me, Nigeria comes first before any other country. We need to save our fatherland. And being that my father has never been around, I had to get in. I thought I could help save our fatherland.

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

In one of your interviews, you said that politics made you lose your family, do you have any regrets in the decisions you took?

Nope! I know better now. Everything happens for a reason, to them that love God. My children will be proud of their fatherland some day. It shall run their blood. History is being made again, when the battle is lost and won, we shall count our blessings.

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

Do you see any chance of getting back with your family or was that a closed issue?

Someone sang a song called ‘it’s my life‘. That’s what concerns me and I do not wish to discuss that.

Onyeka Onwenu said, in one of her interviews, that she did not enter into any partnership with you therefore does not owe you any Money or apologies, how true is that?

That is my Adanne we are talking about here. She is a very intelligent and educated woman of repute in this great country. One of the best actresses ever, I do not discuss her either, I respect people. I am not her mate. My mother is only 51years, so please forget that angle too…

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

(cut in) does it mean you’re friends now?

She is my best actress in whom am well pleased.

Do you see yourself achieving your purpose of entering into politics?

I have Started witnessing the chants for change. When it transforms completely, we shall be better off, and Almighty God will take his due Glory. It’s not about me, it is about us as a people witnessing.

Dickson Ireogbu speaks to Nollywoodgossip

Are we going to see you fully back in the Entertainment industry again?

Like Schwarzenegger will always say, “I will be back”.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a child of destiny. I have only one goal in life - just to be me. My director is God. I don’t joke with his fear, and Jesus is my Lord. I am educated daily by my immediate Environment. This is who I am.

Could you tell NOLLYWOODGOSSIP Readers who Dickson Iroegbu is?

I am a Nigerian, from Igbo Land, a father of three children, a Filmmaker, a Poet and a child of God.

When did you discover that you want to write?

I always knew even though am not “educated” (laughs)

You are also one of the old faces in Nollywood. How many movies have you produced?

So many of them, if you know me, Nollywood knows me better. I came in as a writer. And hey, thanks for that “clap” for me (laughs).

Is there anything you want us to mention that we did not cover in this interview?

Yeah well, Dickson Nnamdi Iroegbu is a Filmmaker/Author. I’m working on a lot of things right now, and I need Investors. Save Our Plateau Campaign, Project Child Soldier Film, The Transformer… making of Mr. President. Please support these projects, God bless you.



TCHIDI CHIKERE
TCHIDI CHIKERE
After the last Interview with Tchidi Chikere concerning statements he made about his wife and children,Nollywood movie director Tchidi Chikere comes out to clear the air for the last time.

How did you feel when you first saw the controversial interview?

I felt like dying. I felt like I live in an unfair and mean world where people rub salt on already bleeding injuries. I felt like maybe God was too slow in meting out judgment on evil people like that and so they thrive and do more havoc. But then my manager came and spoke to me. He quoted the Bible in several places and I felt better. I was reassured that God sees all our hearts and that at the right time he would fight for me while I hold my peace. He will not give me up to the will of my enemies and scoffers.

Once and for all, tell us how important your kids are to you.

I hold them sacred, second only to God.

A lot of people believe you are too arrogant. How will you describe yourself?

I’ m not arrogant. I just protect myself, because too many friends bring entanglements, distractions, trouble and betrayals. I don’t smile with everybody. I don’t believe in having friends upon friends because that wasn’t how I was brought up. I grew up basically in my room, reading novels and building worlds of fantasies around myself in my imagination. I love my own company. I’m very close to my father though. I love my daddy to bits.

I would describe myself as a very deep person. What works for other folks don’t work for me. I guess that accounts for why a lot of people misunderstand me. And when you don’t understand something, there arises the need to make up stories to fill in the blank spaces, even if they are lies. What people don’t understand is how deeply they hurt other people with these made up stories and how somehow somewhere in this life, they’d pay for every careless word, every careless lie. I have an unshakeable faith in God. I was brought up in a strict catholic home. I was an altar boy at mass and later thought I’d become a priest, but I guess the world of make believe stole me and kept me.

Is your divorce affecting your career in anyway?

I’m human and it has affected me. I haven’t written a script in three months. No one knows what I do when I’m alone in my room and take off the celebrity mask I wear in public. Nobody knows how I hurt. We are talking about ten years of my life here. But I’m not going to wear my sadness on my face and die so that haters will laugh. I find consolation in the fact that I still love and respect my family and whatever I do next will be as my happiness dictates. We are all solitary birds in this world, nobody will die with me, whatever will make me happy tomorrow, I will do it, but in all, to respect my family, even as I move on. That is why this will be my last and final interview on this matter.

What are your dreams for the future?

My plans for the future… I want to get a PhD degree if possible. I’ve had a master’s degree since 2001 and I’m beginning to really feel stagnated. I ‘m very academically inclined. That and other things I can’t say here, for obvious reasons.

You are rated as one of the best directors in Nollywood. What kept you on top for so long?

Among the best directors in Nollywood? People say I am, but I don’t know if I am. My mum thought me modesty, so I don’t know how to assume airs. I’m just doing my thing as best as I know it. I always want to be better. So I guess by always trying to be better and not getting comfortable with where I am, I unintentionally stay relevant and solid.

So many people believe you are living with Nuella and that she is pregnant for you. Are you really living with her now, and is she pregnant for you?

On the issue of whether anybody is pregnant for me at the moment, I believe my publicist has issued a statement on that saying it is false and I have not moved in with anybody. And that is same thing I’m telling now, the answer to both questions is” no, no” this is my second and final statement on this. And I ask that this be laid to rest and my privacy and that of my kids and Sophia be respected by all henceforth. I need to focus, I need to rest. Enough said.

Back to work, what are you working on now?

I no longer talk about what I’m working on next or not working on, because Nollywood is full of unhealthy rivalry and people who don’t want you to grow. So I’d rather just be a surprise package and not talk about my plans. What you see is what you get. One thing I know is I want more, I hunger for more challenges, and I’m restless like the sea in turbulence.

Words to your fans?

To my fabulous fans, thanks for believing in me and loving me through the gloom and the glory. God richly bless you and may your good dreams come true.

Anything else you’ll like to add?

I want the press and public to leave us alone. We are not the first couple in the world that have had marital issues or whose marriage didn’t work out for. I still have respect for what we had, the home we had, the smiles we shared, the happy times we shared and whole other things. Right now I want to focus on the future. I need to take my life and career further. I won’t forever be pre occupied with what has been, and have people talk about us every day as if they have perfect homes or lives themselves. It didn’t work between us, yes, at least I was brave enough to opt out respectably. Lots of couples out there are living in pretense and false lives. We are not false people. We are real people and we know the respect and friendship that still exists between us is better than what we had when we were married.





3 comments:

  1. that's a good list up there.

    how do one become like them, like if i have interest in writing, how
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. What if one is into it and never have the opportunity to showcase the talent in writing?
    Please i need a response to through my email address : segsbright456@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete