Today, we arrived at Lafenwa Market at sunrise to make up for lost time. The day started with a scene in which a cow escapes its handlers and disrupts Ma’ami and Young Kashimawo during their shopping trip. This minute-long sequence required a huge amount of logistical planning. Tunde Kelani and Bola Belo (Art Director/Production Designer) spoke to the head of the market association to acquire shooting permission, hire security for the day, and rent the cow and two handlers for an hour. These “negotiations” foreshadowed a series of informal contributions (or in Kelani’s words, “donations to the community relations fund”) that plagued the shoot for the rest of the day.
Before shooting completed for the cow chase scene, officials from the Nigerian Railway Corporation visited the set and demanded to see our shooting permit (although the train tracks which run through the market have not functioned for an indeterminate period of time). Belo and some crew members resolved the demand by accompanying the officials to the local police station, where they “negotiated” for the shooting rights to the train tracks.
Back on location, production moved to the meat market where Ma’ami perused the beef selection without any interruptions due to a previous arrangement with Sir. K, head of The Butchers Association.
As the sun was setting, we transferred to our last location of the day: the Abeokuta Train Station. Officials from the Nigerian Railway Corporation were waiting for us and called Kelani back for further “negotiations” for the use of the overhead bridge at the train station. However, these “negotiations” delayed the production so much that we lost valuable light, compelling Kelani to reschedule the scene for tomorrow.
Our tribulations continued when a crowd of local Area Boys demanding more “donations” for shooting rights blocked our exit from the train station. Again, Kelani led the “negotiations” and succeeded in securing our safe passage for N1,500…only to be confronted by vehicular disaster on the way home.
In spite of our challenges today, cast and crew are optimistic about returning to the market tomorrow morning. We leave you with this video of our youngest team member re-energizing the set with his special dance number.