For the past two days, I have been shadowing the cast and crew on the Lekki set of the latest (still untitled) film directed by Desmond Elliott and produced by Emem Isong. Unlike other Nollywood domestic dramas, this production marks the first time that two language versions of the same film are shot at the same time: English and Ibibio.
Isong wants to target the Ibibio-speaking people in her home state, Akwa-Ibom, while still making a commercially viable product for the rest of Nigeria. The two versions will be packaged as two separate films and will be released at different times in different markets.
The cast is divided along language lines, with Ini Edo playing both language versions of the same role as English/Ibibio Sylvia. The rest of the talent includes Clem Ohameze (as English Ben); Moses Armstrong (as Ibibio Ben); Nse Ikpe-Etim (as Ibibio Carol); Ginnefine Kanu (as English Carol); Maurice Sesay (as English Rotimi); and Uwem Umoh (as Ibibio Akan).
The production schedule ambitiously covers 246 scenes (123 scenes for each version of the film) over a ten-day period. Despite the grueling schedule, Elliott was optimistic about the production’s progress as he pushed the cast and crew to work harder: “I think that if you all are half as fast as I am, we can be done in no time!”
Africa Magic‘s entertainment program JaraTV was also present on-set to cover the behind-the-scenes news.