Posted in Cinema culture, Desmond Elliott, Emem Isong, New Nollywood, Premieres/Screenings, tagged 'Kiss & Tell', Joseph Benjamin, Monalisa Chinda, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Silverbird, Uche Jombo on June 20, 2011|
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Executive Producer Emem Isong at the 'Kiss & Tell' premiere, Silverbird Galleria. © Bic Leu and FindingNollywood.com, 2011.
Bird's eye view of the 'Kiss & Tell' premiere, Silverbird Galleria. © Bic Leu and FindingNollywood.com, 2011.
When I sat next to Guy Murray-Bruce, President of Silverbird Entertainment, at fundraiser dinner last night, he identified the burgeoning growth of cinema releases as one of the most important developments in Nollywood in the last 15 years (although he was not able to tell me approximately how many Nigerian films Silverbird had screened in 2010). This trend was confirmed tonight at the Silverbird premiere of Kiss & Tell, the latest drama from Executive Producers Emem Isong and Monalisa Chinda, and long-time collaborator Director Desmond Elliott. The film also features the acting talents of Desmond Elliott, Monalisa Chinda, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Uche Jombo and Joseph Benjamin.
In a recent conversation, Isong divulged that when she shot the film about a year and half ago, she had originally intended it for straight-to-video release. Upon further review, she became taken with the movie’s quick-witted dialogue and decided to unveil it on the big screen.
This revelation brought up an issue that I’ve encountered numerous times in the industry: Just because cinema release is now available in Nollywood, should filmmakers exercise this option indiscriminately? (The worst offender being Vivian Ejike’s A Private Storm). While I quite enjoyed Kiss & Tell’s clever verbal sparring and chemistry among the main characters, there were a few elements that made it apparent that the film was made for the small screen, such as the inconsistent sound quality and the slow pacing in the middle (which is around when the movie would have been cut into Parts 1 & 2 for the video release).
Thus, is the current cinema culture in Nollywood sustainable or are filmmakers rushing into the trend to turn a quick profit?
Read FindingNollywood.com‘s behind-the-scenes coverage of Desmond Elliott’sMidnight Whisper.
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Ginnefine Kanu (as English Carol). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
I returned to the Midnight Whisper set on the penultimate day of shooting. Per Uduak Patrick (Continuity), the cast and crew worked late into the night to shoot 40 scenes yesterday. There are 27 scenes left to cover over the course of today and tomorrow before the movie is completed.
Austin Nwaolie (Director of Photography) shoots Ginnefine Kanu (as English Carol). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
Thursday is the final deadline since Desmond Elliott’s next production is scheduled to begin production on Friday.
- Desmond Elliott (Director) monitors a take. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
Nse Ikpe-Etim (as Ibibio Carol) and Uwem Umoh (as Ibibio Akan). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
According to Maurice Sesay (English Rotimi/Executive Producer): “It’s been going well and I love the story, but you can imagine how crazy it has been with this two-in-one story.”
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Desmond Elliott directs Moses Armstrong (as Ibibio Ben) and Nse Ikpe-Etim (as Ibibio Carol). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
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.
Ini Edo (as English/Ibibio Sylvia), Moses Armstrong (as Ibibio Ben), and Nse Ikpe-Etim (as Ibibio Carol). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
Ini Edo (as English/Ibibio Sylvia), Clem Ohameze (as English Ben), and Ginnefine Kanu (as English Carol). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
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.
Uwem Umoh (as Ibibio Akan) and Ini Edo (as English/Ibibio Sylvia). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
- Maurice Sesay (as English Rotimi) and Ini Edo (as English/Ibibio Sylvia). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
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).
Desmond Elliott (Director). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
- Austin Nwaolie (Director of Photography). Photo © 2011 Bic Leu
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.
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