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Posts Tagged ‘Tango with Me’

A bird eye’s view of the red carpet at the Tango with Me premiere at Silverbird Galleria. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Mahmood Ali-Balogun’s Tango with Me finally premiered last night at Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island after more than five years in the making. When I first spoke to the director in January, he revealed that he initially developed the story in 2005, but did not finalize the screenplay (which went through seven drafts) until 2007. He then spent the next two years working and approaching family and friends to fund-raise for the N100 million production budget. Ali-Balogun was also consumed during this period with planning for the shipment of 35 mm camera equipment and crew from the US–including Director of Photography Keith Holland and Production Designer Toi Whittaker. Principal photography commenced in Lagos in November 2009 and the shoot wrapped in March 2010.

Ali-Balogun then traveled to Dubai where he spent two weeks using Telecine to transfer the 35 mm rushes to video. This allowed him to use the video production equipment in his Surulere studio to inexpensively and extensively edit the footage over the next three months. In mid-2010, Ali-Balogun travelled to South Africa to mix the sound; after which he completed and screened a rough cut to a few friends in the Lagos culturatti. He then used their feedback to inform the editing process when he traveled to the Kodak lab in Bulgaria from October to December 2010 to do the final cut in celluloid.

Ali-Balogun hopes to recoup his substantial investments in time and money by attracting Nigerians to cinemas to see this “dialogue-driven” movie about “the day-to-day story that you know about that people don’t want to talk about. …It’s about how you handle [the situation]. It has to do with issues of faith; it’s about forgiveness; it’s about two people in love.”

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Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Tina Mba, and Joseph Benjamin at the 'Tango with Me' press preview, Ozone Cinemas. Photo © 2011 Bic Leu

Today, I witnessed the first forty minutes of Mahmood Ali-Balogun’s eagerly-anticipated film, Tango with Me, at the press screening at Ozone Cinemas in Yaba. The film has been on Nollywood’s radar for months given Ali-Balogun’s astonishing investment of nearly N100 million into the production budget. The director shot on 35mm, hired equipment and crew from Los Angeles, and spent weeks in post-production in Bulgaria.

The film is fraught with tension as it documents the disintegration of a marriage between two newlyweds, played by Genevieve Nnaji and Joseph Benjamin. Other actors include Joke Silva, Ahmed Yerima, and Tina Mba.

Tango with Me is scheduled to open on April 22 in multiplexes in Lagos (Silverbird, Genesis, and Ozone), Abuja (Silverbird and Ceddi Plaza), and Port Harcourt (Silverbird).

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