Saturday, 11 February 2017

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it...why cant Igbos tell their story in films ?...Sammy Ajufo

Igbos control a huge chunk of the Nigerian Movie industry and we lead in both production and acting roles YET not one producer, not either of IPOB or MASSOB or the almighty OHANEZE have attempted putting resources together either individually or collectively to produce a historical film about the war. Nobody.
There are so many post war literature written by numerous actors in the 3 year battle where countless lives were lost on the side of Biafra as well as other tribes, yet the side that lost the most cannot; in this season of agitation bring out a complete account of the war in a two hour film. There are survivors who will gladly tell of their experiences and give a descriptive plot to the movie, there are lots if them scattered around, alive and well today, though eternally scarred by the pogrom.
October 1st, was a fictional attempt that drew much acclaim about the buildup to Independence in 1960 and till date, we salute the ingenuity, courage and doggedness of the producer/director Kunle Afolayan who was able to bring an impressive crop of actors and sponsors as well as publicity to the film.
The Izu Ojukwu directed "76" movie based on real events of a Coup plot in the 1976 unsuccessful military coup and assassination of General Murtala Mohamm is making waves today and giving us a glimpse into important national history. The funding for that movie is from politician Tonye Princewill again with a stellar cast.
Half of A Yellow Sun, a movie adaptation of the book by Chimamanda Adichie and directed by Biyi Bandele with a stellar cast performance told a smaller story of the larger pain of a family facing the war. With the impressive cast of Award-Winning actors both indigenous and foreign, I would say that film was Epic. However, the most stinging criticism came from the Igbo stalk, even though some support came from Diamond Bank, the greater resistance to the objective of the movie came from the Igbo race themselves! Let's not forget, it was released under the administration of an "Igbo" President and the head of the Censors Board at the time was an Igbo man.
Yet the film was suspended for a time, but went on to catch international viewing at different film festivals with a poor showing in our Nigerian cinemas. Ohaneze or MASSOB never protested, but folks on Social Media did. No state government of the 5 South East States openly supported the film except for Anambra. Sad
I recall the feeling we used to have when watching the story of Jesus Christ especially during Easter which was the only thing NTA could offer. We used to cry while watching it every time we did. The emotions then was basically that of pity of the maltreatment and killing of an innocent man. But when Mel Gibson gave us a more gory and graphical illustration of the execution of Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ" our emotions turned from pity to anger especially with the Jews.
Today, there is a shallow clamour for cessation from the Nigerian state by a section of the population led by IPOB. The followers of this call or agitators are comprised 100% of people whose parent were either toddlers or at best kid soldiers during the 1968-1970 civil war who had no idea of how it started, the politics and the players behind it and how and why it ended.
None of the groups I mentioned earlier has bothered to increase their support base with the nonconformists to the agitation by producing a box office worthy movie about the war that will open the eyes to the plight we faced. Are we afraid of loosing our followers if they saw the facts? Is it that we will not funding support even from our Onitsha, Nnewi, Aba, Alaba, Idumota brothers? Will our excuse be that Buhari will send the DSS to come and carry the producers or freeze the account of the sponsors?
But we are quick to churn out tasteless, low-budget, educatively-malnourished, badly scripted, poorly acted films that strains the brain rather than improve it. Case in point - Ojukwu & Bianca. Rarely do our home made films make it to nominations for continental acclaims.
Remember what I said earlier, we the Igbo's are regarded as the originators of Nigerian film and its biggest investors. Yet we can't tell our story.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Selah.

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