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Monday, April 27, 2009

Julius Agwu’s double outing

Pic-Julius and wife at the charity home

Leading entertainer and the exponent of Okombo music in Nigeria, Julius Agwu and his wife, I.B., jointly celebrated their birthdays recently.
What perhaps, many of his fans do not know was that Agwu, who just turned 36, started the day with a special visit to the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice, a Surulere, Lagos based orphanage for abandoned children with physical disabilities and deformities.
Agwu and his wife, who were accompanied by some of his staff, donated cash and gift items to the home before leaving. They also spent quality time playing and chatting with the inmates, who sang him and his wife, a special birthday song.
Agwu, who has been visiting the home and several others for over five years on his birthdays, further called on his colleagues and well-meaning Nigerians to avail themselves with such opportunities, adding that such children need love and companionship always.
The birthday boy and his amiable wife, later hosted pals, colleagues and well wishers to a lavish all-night soiree, at Da New Grotto, in Victoria Island, Lagos. The star-studded event was also well attended.

View more pics here

Heavensgate, Patriots back on air


Lovers of well-scripted and quality soaps are in for a good time with the recent back to air of Heavensgate and Patriots, from the award-winning stables of Zik Zulu films and Macnuel Productions respectively.
Heavensgate, according to its producer/director, Zik Zulu-Okafor, is already back on STV, where it started from five years ago. Mr. Okafor further hinted that they would soon be going on set to shoot more episodes of the Christian-oriented drama made possible by the City of David parish of The Redeemed Christian Church of God. He also disclosed that plans have been concluded for the soap to be aired on other national stations as well as some leading cable stations too.
Meanwhile, the casts of rested soap, Patriots, are back on national TV with a bang. In a chat with us, Mr. Chidi Nwokeabia, the producer of the soap, which theme revolves around the trials and triumphs of NAFDAC, said they went on break, in order to repackage and hit the airwaves bigger and better. Mr. Nwokeabia who is co-producing the soap with top actor Emeka Enyiocha, promised that they will never go-off air again till all the episodes are aired. Watch out for more on Heavensgate story, as exclusively told by cerebral Okafor soon.

More applause for Mama Onome’s Buka

Pic-Peace Fiberesima, Producer

Mama Onome’s Buka, a new comedy series on TV, primarily conceptualized for family enjoyment and entertainment would soon hit the airwaves, courtesy of Blue Chip Studios Limited.
Created and funded by Charles O. Anyiam – Osigwe with Peace Fiberesima as the producer, the 30-minuite-sitcom vividly reflects on life in a modern Nigeria middle to low-income neighbourhood, through the viewpoints of the principal and supporting characters.
The forthcoming series, according to the directors Greg Fiberesima and Dele Ajakaiye, revolves around the daily happenstances at the well-patronized and famous Mama Onome’s Buka.
They further divulged that apart from Mama Onome and Pastor, the two principal actors, the hilarious sit-com also boasts of other regular characters, who are also customers at Mama Onome’s Buka.
Co-written by the quartet of Charles O. Anyiam – Osigwe, Sammie Udiminue, James Iroha and Celestina Ozurumba, the sitcom would also be aired on TV Africa as well as some other stations.
The producers are also calling for sponsorships and corporate endorsements from interested entities.
Meanwhile, lovers of quality productions on air have also hailed the initiators of the coming project, maintaining that they can’t wait for the series to make its debut soon.

Totolus, O’King celebrate in style

It was celebrations galore in the homes of action movie actor cum producer Emma Ehumadu and front line movie marketer Okoro Ugwu.
While Ehumadu popularly known as Totolus gathered pals and colleagues to celebrate his birthday, Ugwu, the boss of O’King Movies, threw a lavish bash for his newly delivered set of twins, all boys.
According to elated Ugwu, mother and the two boys are okay and doing great. He further hinted that plans are on for the babies to be hosted at a lavish family reception soon.
Meanwhile, almost a fortnight gone, those that attended are still regaling us with tales of how Totolus held his neigbourhood spellbound with the scintillating soiree. Gathered that the party, which lasted till dawn had all the good things of life in abundance.

Face 2 Face with celebs makes a debut

Pic-Planet One event centre, venue

A new concept in live entertainment, where fans would have the opportunity of meeting their favourite celebrities one-on-one is poised to take off soon.
Fittingly tagged: Face 2 Face, an evening with your favourite celebrities, the lovely event holds every last Sunday of the month, at the upscale Planet One, Maryland, Lagos.
In the words of Freddy Ekhaese, of Magic Soul Search, the initiators of the idea, the event would give families, couples, lovers, students and fun-loving Nigerians, the ample opportunity and ambience to relax every weekend. He further added that they would engage them in games, quizzes, talent competitions and other interesting and entertaining exercises that would be worth their while.
Meanwhile, celebrities to be showcased on the show weekly would be drawn from the movie, music, comedy, and fashion industries.
Plans are already on for the debut edition of the show, which promises to be titillating.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dbanj partners HITV for Koko Mansion


In the next couple of months, in fact, June 1, 2009, to be precise, the biggest television reality show in Africa, Koko Mansion, would begin with a big bang.
Billed to be aired exclusively on the wholly Nigerian satellite television, HiTV, Koko Mansion, a brainchild of top musician, D’banj with support from the honcho of HITV, Toyin Subair. It revolves around 12 beautiful and talented girls that will live in a mansion for eight weeks, with the eventual winner becoming the ideal Miss Kokolette.
The mansion, according to the organizers, is situated in an undisclosed area in
Lagos. D’banj is also expected to play a vital role in
the oncoming show.
While in the mansion the lucky 12, would be groomed and tested
in various activities in order to determine the one with the
greatest Koko Virtues, worthy of being a wife material –a
Some of these Koko Virtues that would be determined by viewers, who are also the
ultimate judge in the intrigue-filled show, would be looking out for are: the ability of the Kokolette to cook sumptuous meals for D’banj and his friends, especially during impromptu visits; as well as the ability to furnish and maintain
the mansion. The Kokolette must also be industrious while,
being able to take care of the home front; her ability to be
respectful and courteous at all times would be put to test too.
The potential Kokolette must be able to emulate notable women in society and several others even as she shows the ability to impress D’banj, under all circumstances in order to win the public’s votes to be in the house.
Top celebrities such as super model Oluchi, Nollywood actress Funke Akindele (Jenifa) and celebrity hair stylist Bobbys would be invited to teach the ladies poise, biks girls’ mannerisms and how to maintain a fashionable

D’banj would among other things, help the public determine who the winner should be, based on their ability to please him. He is currently one of the most eligible
single young men in Nigeria and it is believed that the music star will be able to adequately represent most men in the limelight, who people assume would not appreciate a complete woman. So, with the help of his friends and
associates, the public will know the most tolerant, hospitable and respectful woman in the mansion. Meanwhile, D’banj’s entertaining character may also act as a catalyst that will bring out the girls’ true personalities.
The winner of the show will emerge the most sought after Kokolette and will have full access to D’banj during her reign.
The Kokolette according Morayo Aka-Bashorun, Business Development and Sales Manager, HiTV, must be a beautiful young lady, at least 18 years old; she must be smart and
intellectually savvy; she must also possess a fun talent.
She must be willing to explore and definitely be a WIFE material. She
must be well cultured with sound domestic training, and an absolute diva with the ability to get along with a diverse crowd. The Kokolette must be someone with good moral values,independent and ambitious aside being a creative person.
The Kokolette must also be an excellent host, a very creative person who understands and can get along with the celebrity lifestyle of the hip hop star. Most importantly,
she must be D’Banj’s number one fan. A video audition would
help the panel determine the 12 finalists.
Eviction starts in the second week of the show, where two ladies with
the least number of votes from the viewers will be ushered
However, eviction is primarily done by the public and could be based on D’banj’s comments.
Interestingly, each week, among the three ladies up for eviction, it would be D’Banj’s prerogative to give Koko Mycine (immunity) to one of the girls. He can only use Koko Mycine once in the duration of the show. “The winner will among other benefits, be crowned Kokolette 1, get a Chris Aires Diamond ring, a brand new convertible car, feature in his next music video, You Don Make Me Fall In Love alongside N5 million in cash. Aside these goodies, the winner will be D’Banj’s companion at public events both within and outside Nigeria. She would further emerge as HITV’s Hi-Babe.
The organizers further explained that D’Banj would not be living with them but would be required to come in often to see the girls.”
“The show is not about D’Banj, but about the Kokolette”. Also speaking at the unveiling, the founder of HiTV, Mr. Toyin Subair in his remark said the concept of Koko Mansion was a brilliant idea coming from brilliant Nigerians.
HiTV, Subair said, hopes to use Koko Mansion to show all the virtues of a true African woman. “It is going to be the biggest reality show in this side of the world and that can only happen on the platform of HiTV. It is the mother of
all reality shows, Koko Mansion.”
Subair, an intellectual property lawyer, further assured that the show would
not in any form promote immorality or nudity as the case may

Damasus, Edoho, others wow @ Mode men groove

Pics-Edoho and Stella

Nollywood diva and mother of two, Stella Damasus was at her best alongside Frank Edoho, as both of them anchored the recently held third anniversary of Mode Men magazine, tagged: Black Night. In fact, the Shell Hall of the Musical Society of Nigeria, MUSON, was decorated in black and white as the genteel guests clad in attires of the theme colours of the night thronged the venue to join in the memorable celebrations. The event was a potpourri of entertainment as it combined elements of music; dance and fashion to ensure the guests had a swell time.
The adherence to the theme of the event by the organizers evident in the attention to detail given to the minutest item that made up the activities of the night; from the black carpet upon which the guests were greeted to the sky of black and white under which they sat as they enjoyed the gourmet of activities designed to entertain them even to the sexy and classy attire of the ushers, which uniquely combined both colours.
The event, which was designed for friends and customers of the exquisite men’s magazine was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life.
Mode men magazine, which is known for its unique style of reporting was unveiled three years ago to celebrate men who were making their mark in their various fields of endeavours. According to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the publisher of the magazine, Mode men was designed to celebrate men in a society where there were various magazines designed to celebrate women, children and topical issues thus creating a literary void about issues concerning men in the society. The quest to fill this void he said led to the birth of this magazine which has over the past three years sought out men who have excelled in their various fields and showcased them before their peers.
The event, which began around 7pm was beautifully hosted by Nollywood diva Stella Damasus-Nzeribe and Frank Edoho. The duo displayed great professionalism as they complemented each other remarkably in the discharge of their duties.
Performances at the classy event include: Lloyd, Obiwon, Sage the Poet, Jessy Jags, The Diamonds. New artistes Lim Jizzy and Trapp also thrilled the guests with the vibes of their rhythmic expertise.
Apart from being a celebration of the third anniversary Mode Men magazine in Blacknight 3 doubled as the unveiling of the anniversary issue of the magazine, which was designed to celebrate the Nigerian music industry.
Fashion shows by various designers punctuated the entire event as exquisite designs by Avis design and Made wear were showcased before the guests.
An auction to raise money for the less privileged was organized at the gathering. Guests also got goody bags for attending.

Helen Sosu set for Our Story 3 workshop


All is now set for the third edition of the Helen Sosu-led The Street University Project (TSUP). According to hardworking Sosu and her dedicated team, the coming event, which holds on Saturday, April 25, 2009, at the main auditorium of the University of Lagos, at 11.a.m, is an on-going social responsibility programme based on the re-structuring and re-orientation of underprivileged youths between the ages of 11-25. She further added that is a concept managed by People and Events limited and monitored by the Lagos State Ministry of Education.
“As you already know, it’s a motivational workshop tagged: Our Story 3, we also believe this is our opportunity to help the youths of this nation.
We are expecting over 3,000 youths at this workshop; and our speakers are experienced professionals in their various fields, who will no doubt leave a lasting positive impact in the lives of those attending.”
Speakers at the event include: Princess Sarah Sosan, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Edeme Kelikume, my humble self, Mr. Talal Wehbe, Tee Mac Itseli and Funmi Iyanda.
Gathered that other side attractions would be performances by Nigerian top acts, as well as dance and drama presentations and crafts display by the youths undergoing training at the TSUP centre.

AGN debunks wicked rumour

Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, the national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, has reacted to an allegation currently circulating within and outside Nollywood, that he gave sole rights to some groups of people to market Nigerian movies in an African country.
The popular actor, in a recent statement described the wicked rumour being peddled by a group of Nollywood practitioners that has been in a protracted battle with him, as not only false, but also malicious and defamatory.
The statement read in parts: “AGN wishes to state as follows that: It never at anytime gave the right to sell any Nigerian film to anybody or organizations outside Nigeria; the AGN sometimes ago got information that certain persons or companies were pirating Nigerian movies in certain countries and consistent with its patriotic mandate to protect the interest of Nigerian actors, all Nollywood stakeholders, AGN requested the assistance of a certain organization to help check this menace by monitoring the sales of Nigerian films and to make sure that royalties due to Nigerian actors are not compromised through these unwholesome activities. The organization was never asked to sell Nigerian movies.”
Embittered Asiegbu continued: “The AGN requested that the films should be protected from pirate activity which carries with it a basic assumption that the said organization will obtain right of the copyright owners whether marketers, producers or other individuals or companies if they intend to sell any films.”
He further allayed the fears of all, especially stakeholders. “The AGN by this statement is assuring all stakeholders in the industry including actors, producers, marketers, regulatory agencies that it will continue to act in the best interest of everybody. The AGN has not till date received money from anybody or organization on the above issue, it only mandated the said organization to provide it with information and proof of pirated movies particularly those produced by AGN as a body or its members and certainly not other Nigerian films.”
The statement, which was sent to government bodies saddled with regulating the film sector such as the Nigerian Film Corporation, National Film and Video Censors Board, Producer Marketers Association of Nigeria and the National Broadcasting Commission among others, stated that the actors body had “already clarified its position with the said organization with a view to streamlining the true intention of the communication and understanding between both parties, which tended to have thrown up gray areas due to the lacuna in communication. “Thus, AGN has considered it necessary to make this statement following the information it has received that a group of disgruntled persons whose stock in trade is to oppose every good move to reposition the industry has been holding nocturnal meetings, forming committees and sharing money with a view to destabilizing the guild.
It is highly condemnable that some enemies of Nollywood can go as far as fabricating and distorting the contents of a document meant to promote and protect the industry from pirates with a view to achieving some devilish agenda. It is despicable that these desperate elements can go as far to denigrate the efforts and sacrifices of patriotic Nigerians living abroad,” Asiegbu posited.
They will fail as usual because good always prevails over evil,” a top aide to Asiegbu who prefers anonymity said last week. Asiegbu further challenged the purveyors of the ugly rumour to produce any document to the fact that either him as Ejike Asiegbu or the president of the AGN authorized anybody to sell Nigerian movies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stephanie Okereke, Chaka Khan, Mo’nique, others for US awards

Pic- Mo'nique

It is no longer news that the organizers of the revered African Jewel Award, African Focus Incorporated (AFI), US, has picked Stephanie Okereke, an award-winning Nollywood actress, as one of the recipients at this year’s event. What is however news, is that the ravishing actress, would be jetting out early next week, for the prestigious award that holds on Saturday, April 25, 2009, at the Veterans Memorial Complex, US. Sexy Okereke will be honoured alongside other global stars and selected celebrities.
According to the organizers, Okereke's tenacity, wit, intelligence, grace and natural acting abilities has earned her a reputation as one of the best actresses on the African continent and in Nollywood, the third largest film industry in the world. A graduate of English and Literal studies, Okereke made her first venture into film in 1997. By 2003, she had already won the Reel Awards "Best Actress" for her role in the movie "Emotional Crack.” In 2005, she was a nominee for the Africa Movie Academy Awards [AMAA], as well as the recently held 2009 edition. On her way to AMAA, however, tragedy struck when she was involved in a terrible car accident that left her with a broken leg and burns on her face and hands. Okereke, with a fighting and determined spirit, bounced back and by 2006, she won the Afro-Hollywood Awards, Film Makers USA Award for Excellence with subsequent awards in 2007 for the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence and 2008 Beyond the Tears
Humanitarian Awards for her work against rape and vesico vaginal fistula and HIV/AIDS.

Pics- Chaka Khan and Stephanie

Not satisfied with being just an actress and wanting to create a voice and other roles for African women in Africa's film industry, Okereke came to the United States to study film at the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios, Los Angeles. Armed with her knowledge, intelligence, determination and creativity, Okereke established her production company "Next Page Productions" and has recently expanded her portfolio to include the titles of director, writer and producer in her first feature Hollywood-Nollywood hybrid film, "Through the Glass," creating what she hopes is a preview of the direction and roles African women will embrace in the film industry. Amazingly, the film was up for nomination in this year’s AMAA, for the Best Picture category. Other distinguished nominees alongside Miss Okereke, at the forthcoming event also known as African Goodwill Awards, include: US born and Grammy award winning singer, Chaka Khan, Dame Patience Goodluck
Jonathan, Mo’nique Hicks, Hope Foye, apostle Frederick Price and few others.

Club Papas fetes Okey Bakassi

As part of the non-stop activities lined up for the just concluded Easter celebrations, the management and staff of Papas Entertainment, who are the proud owners and promoters of rave hangout, Club Papas, hosted top entertainer, Okey Bakassi to a lavish reception.
The well attended/packaged all night event took place on Easter Friday and had dignitaries from all walks of life, coming to felicitate with the amiable celebrant.
Bakassi, currently the Executive Assistant on Entertainment to the Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, according to Frank Okanigbo, the boss of the upscale hangout, was being hosted and celebrated for his immense contributions and support to the Nigerian entertainment scene.
Several Nollywood actors, comedians and musicians added verve and panache to the fun-filled gathering with their intimidating presence.
In his brief remarks, Bakassi, who now shuttles between Lagos and Imo States, thanked all for coming and further promised to continue with his good works for the nation’s entertainment industry.
He was also full of appreciations to Gov. Ohakim, for deeming it fit to appoint him into his government, pledging that he will never let the governor and the people of Imo State down, while discharging his duties.

Ejike Asiegbu return with NAYA

Top actor and the national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Mr. Ejike Asiegbu in collaborations with the Movie Reporters Guild of Nigeria (MORGON) and Pontiffo, recently unveiled the Nollywood Actor of the Year Awards (NAYA), billed to hold soon.
Shedding more light on the event, Asiegbu, who is also the CEO of Forever Communications, one of the prime movers of the coming event, said the aim was to reward Nollywood actors and those working behind the scenes, who have also done well for themselves and the nation’s motion picture industry. “NAYA is purely a private initiative and has nothing to do with the AGN. It is being powered by Ejike Asiegbu, who happens to be the president of AGN, so in essence, it is my own personal project and has nothing to do with the guild,” he explained.
Several big names in Nollywood as well as other dignitaries all graced the recent unveiling of NAYA, which held elaborately at O’Jez Entertainment Centre, Surulere, Lagos, amid glitz.
Speaking further, elated Asiegbu also hinted that the Otunba Segun Runsewe-led Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), has agreed to partner and power the event proper, which holds in the last month of 2009, in Abuja. “NAYA promises to be grand and very inclusive”, further assures Asiegbu.

Emem Isong hits location again

Immensely gifted scriptwriter and filmmaker Emem Isong has hit locations again for another heart-wrenching movie from her ever-busy stable.
Tentatively entitled: Bursting Out, Isong, whose efforts in recently released movie, Reloaded, is still being applauded by movie buffs and critics, posited that her latest offering, would equally be a reference point within and outside Nollywood when completed.
Leading the pack of stars in the soon coming movie is sultry actress, Genevieve Nnaji, who is ably supported by Desmond Elliot. Others include: Nse Ikpe Etim, Michael Majid, Susan Peters, Amanda Ebeye, Moyo Lawal and a host of other up and coming acts.
Directed by youthful Daniel Ademinokhai, the movie tells the twisted story of love, betrayal and back stab. On why she went back to location so soon, Isong, whose another of her finished movie, Guilty Pleasure, is due for a nationwide release in the next couple of weeks, disclosed that the need to always satisfy the yearnings of her fans brought about the movie. “Producing quality movies has become a part of me and I won’t stop doing this for my teeming fans and followers”, she maintained. The duo of Uduak Isong Oguamana and Bola Aduwo screen played the script for Emem Isong, who also wrote the story.

D’ Heavens plans big for anniversary

After one year of bringing uninterrupted and high powered entertainment /night life to the people of Festac Town and Lagos State in general, D’ Heavens nite club, is set to roll out the red carpets for a successful and breathtaking anniversary.
Commenting on the forth-coming event, which is already serenading the Festac environs as well as patrons and members of the well-patronized hangout, Chief Chijioke Awalite, the honcho of the outfit, boasted it would be an unforgettable event.
In his words, D’ Heavens nite club is fully set and ready to host elaborately all those that have contributed immensely to its growth and success in the last one year.
“On Saturday, April 25, 2009, the whole of Lagos, especially Festac Town, would be agog for our first anniversary. It is going to be a nite of special entertainment laced with unending fun, for all those that are coming. We are expecting dignitaries from all walks of life, including the music, movie, comedy and fashion sectors. Special guests are also coming from outside Nigeria. There will also be some special musical performances from some of our musician members. A committee has already been set up for a successful outing”. We would definitely keep you posted as the management of the club unfolds more plans for the D-day.

HMAN lights up the music scene

New kid on the block, Humphrey Okeke came to national prominence, and albeit, the consciousness of music buffs as well as its practitioners with the hit song Ndoli-Ndoli. The good work also earned the talented crooner an access key into the Nigerian music scene.
However, after four videos from a yet -to-be-released album, an award and general acceptance from the industry, it is certain that the 24-year-old graduate of Igbinedion University is ready to debut. “I am ready to hit the Nigerian music scene with my album Ndoli Ndoli, which means struggle, but the message I was trying to pass is that this world is not perfect, just enjoy the little you have’ he hinted.
Born and raised in a Catholic family of eight children, H man started his musical odyssey as a member of the school’s choir while in St. Bridget College and from then the passion began to grow. ‘ I love music, music is my passion, and that is why I am not in it to make money, if you have a passion for some thing, you do it, not caring if it would bring in money or not’ he added.
Ndoli Ndoli, a 12 tracker, is due for release on the April 15, 2009. Expected to be distributed by UBA pacific music and Obaino music respectively, the album will feature songs like Ndoli, Ndoli, Scared of Love, H man Party and Thank you featuring MI. A song he dedicated to his girlfriend - Ambo 3 contestant- Uche Odoh.
Others include Uwadiwe- a song where he expresses his discontent about what is happening in the country, Mmemme, Money and Mama Africa featuring 9ice.
Also, the last in the chains of videos to be dropped before the release of his album, ‘Thank you’ was directed by DJ Tee, in Abuja, Nigeria, while Clarence Peter shot ‘Uwadiwe’.


Popular actor and AGN president, Ejike Asiegbu, was a one-time Students Union leader at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He was also a former aide to Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu.

Aisha Shinkafi bares her mind

Pic- Hajiya Aisha Shinkafi

No doubt, it takes only the first daughter of a former president and wife of a serving governor to make such headline news. And with speculations rife in political circles that the wife of the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Hajiya Aisha Shinkafi (nee Babangida), a top celebrity and delight of paparazzi, might have been tipped for a senatorial seat come next election in the State, official response emanating from her Excellency’s office, however, indicates otherwise. It has also put to rest the rumour currently spreading across the country like a wild fire. While speaking to newsmen at the Government House in Gusau, few days ago, the First Lady unequivocally said that she has never nursed any such political ambition in recent times. Adding that in as much as she appreciates the good gesture of the group that is canvassing for her to take part in such activity, she cannot but disappoint them, as she has no such intention, now or in the nearest
future. “I am aware that a group has promoted such cause, but as much as I admire their sincere and good intentions for me, unfortunately, I cannot but ignore their suggestion. My role as a wife is my major priority now and certainly, this is my major concern for now. As much as we women must fulfill our desires to participate in the development of our great country Nigeria, we must also remember that our first role is to our homes, which must dictate and control the majority of our actions. My first role is that of a wife to my husband. I desire more to always be by his side, and in his company.

Pic-With Hubby

I do not have any desire to contest for any political office at present, as that could only amount to a major distraction to my duties as a wife to my husband, and also a distraction to my current project on the betterment of the lives of the average Zamfara State woman through the Zamfara State Well Women Programme Benefit, which we have already started seeing the results.”

Showbiz Gists

NFVCB appoints new zonal coordinator

In a bid to further reposition and consolidate on the gains of the newly introduced framework distribution policy, the leadership of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), has appointed Mr. Edion Edward Abumere, as the new Zonal Coordinator, in charge of the South West Zonal office, Lagos. He takes over from Mrs. Abosede Ojetokun (Nee Francis), who resumes at the Abuja headquarters of the Board, as Deputy Director, in charge of Verification. Edion is making a return to a familiar terrain in the Zonal office, having been transferred to Abuja by the Director General, Emeka Mba when he assumed office. Edion is vastly experienced and has worked in virtually all the various sections of the Board. However, he is widely remembered by staff in both Abuja and Lagos for his meticulousness in the film Verification section of the Board. Meanwhile, the staff of the Zone recently organized a sent forth party for the former Zonal Coordinator. Mrs.
Ojetokun, who walked down the aisle, a couple of weeks ago. She was full of emotions as the staff and well-wishers feted her. According to most of those present at the soiree, she would be remembered for her philanthropy and dedication to work.

Deraco production unveils holistic package

Having been licensed to distribute films nationwide, by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Deraco Productions, ably led by Mr. Edwin Oragwam, is now poised to raise the stakes in Nollywood.
Authoritatively gathered that the outfit with its corporate headquarters based in Lagos, is currently organizing movie/music auditions in all the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja.
And the aim of the exercise, he said was to give Nigerians, especially those desirous of making it big in the movie or music industries, the opportunity to come on board, showcase their talents and hit stardom, through the right channel.
Elaborating more on the laudable initiative Mr. Oragwam, a foremost filmmaker in Nollywood, maintained that the project would definitely help change the face of Nollywood and introduce fresh faces into the industry. “Our forms for this project are already selling at designated banks nationwide. At the end of the day, we would invite only those that bought the forms for the nationwide auditions, after which they would start featuring in any of our movie or music productions. So, in essence the form is an automatic visa, for them to use in gaining access to all productions from the stable of Deraco Productions nation-wide. This is our own little way of constantly helping to elevate and reposition Nollywood. We are going back to the grassroots to rediscover new stars for the industry”. He further hinted that the package would be formally launched soon, in the six geo-political zones of the federation with pomp and glitz.

Deferent Pepu rocks with Afro flavor

Deferent Pepu, a new Afro/Hip-hop group based in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State is fully set to storm the Lagos music scene with their style, charisma and natural swagger.
The quartet, apart from being good vocally, also combines good choreography with their music, thus making them fans favourite.
According to youthful Ehis, their manager, the group’s style of Hip-hop is without vulgarity, but rich in content and dancing pleasure. “They have an electrifying stage presence that holds their audience spell bound along with their excellent stage crafts. In fact, these guys are star materials and would be hitting the airwaves and shelves soon.”
Interestingly, the fast rising group that has thrilled at several big shows and concerts, recently signed a mouth watering deal with Funafric Limited, an Afro- centric music vending and entertainment company, to help market and distribute their coming work on the internet.
Deferent Pepu, is currently being promoted and handled by Royal Blue Communications, an indigenous outfit with ability of turning dreams into reality.

Friday, April 10, 2009

AMAA Gists + Happy Easter!

Pic- Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover cheer crew of Kenyan Film, From A Whisper

Nollywood takes the back seat at AMAA

- BY AZUH AMATUS, who was in Yenogoa

The Nigerian motion picture industry, globally known as Nollywood suffered a devastating blow at the just held fifth edition of the annual Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), which took place in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, South-south, Nigeria.
Even with a constellation of Nollywood stars and filmmakers, the industry only struggled to win just eight and half awards at the grand gathering that was anchored by the trio of Julius Agwu, Kate Henshaw- Nuttal and Kofi Bucknor.

Unlike the past four editions, where Nollywood actors and filmmakers, had always carted home all the major awards, Kenyan, South African and Egyptian actors and filmmakers took the shine off them this year.
“From A Whisper”, a Kenyan film that vividly x-rays the 1997 terrorist attack at the US embassy in Nairobi, was the star of the glamourous night. It proudly walked away with five major and keenly contested trophies, in the following categories: Best Editing, Soundtrack, Screenplay, Directing and Picture. Coming of Age, another film from Barack Obama’s fatherland, also won in the Best Short Documentary category, thus bringing their total hauls to six that historic night.

Trailing Kenya that eventful night was South Africa, they won three awards in the categories of: Most Promising Actor and Actress as well as Best Film in African Language, with a thought-provoking movie entitled: Gugu and Andile.

Another surprise at the epoch gathering was Seventh Heaven, an Egyptian movie, which fetched the lead act, Farouk Alfishawi, the Best Actor plaque. The movie later added the Best Sound award to its kitty.
Among the face saving awards won by Nigerian actors and filmmakers, whom Peace Anyiam Osigwe, the CEO of AMAA, warned to quickly get out of the arrogance of being the third largest film industry in the world, were: Best Actress, won by Funke Akindele, for her exploits in the hit comedy flick, Jenifa and Best Cinematography won by Izu Ojukwu’s Cindy’s Note.

Other winners included: Michelle Bello, who walked home happily with two diadems, for her efforts in Small Boy. The movie won in the categories of: Best Art Direction and Child Actor, which went to Richard Chukwuma.
Tunde Kelani’s Arugba, also won in two separate categories, namely: Best Costume and Nigerian Film. Another Nigerian movie, Live to Remember, was adjudged the Best in Make Up and Supporting Actress, which went to Mercy Johnson, while Shit on the Rock, shared the prize for the Best Documentary Feature with…

The duo of Zeb Ejiro and Gaston Kabore from Burkina Faso, were decorated with AMAA’s Life Time Achievement Awards, for their immense contributions to the growth of the African film and cinema industries.
Another Burkina Faso movie, also went home with the prize for the Best Animation, while Battle of the Soul, a heart-wrenching flick from Uganda, picked the statuettes for the Best Visual Effect and Supporting Actor, respectively.

Moreover, the Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi-led broad based jury did not give any award in the Short Film category, based on the fact that all the entries submitted by filmmakers did not meet the required standards.
Perhaps, the major attraction for the night was the presence and coming on stage of two Hollywood legends, Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover. Their intimidating presence was palpable in the capacity filled Glory land hall.
Other side attractions witnessed at the long night included performances from acts such as: African legend, Salif Kaita, Deborah Frazer, J- Martins as well as some cultural displays from the Bayelsan Dance Troupe.

While delivering her welcome address, elated Mrs. Osigwe, who also paid tributes to some AMAA fallen heroes, urged African filmmakers to always do the right films that would help to change the wrong perception about Africa, her people and patrimony.
The event, which began with a red carpet session, eventually ended with a post awards bash cum late night dinner at the Bayelsa State Government House.

Meanwhile, some actors and filmmakers who spoke with us immediately after the awards, hailed AMAA and its judges, for doing a wonderful job and giving the awards the true pan African look that has eluded it since inception five years ago.
“With what has happened, Nollywood filmmakers will definitely sit up and do more challenging films. We will be ready for AMAA next year”, said Tunde Kelani.

Though, better organized this year, the organizers should however, stick to time in subsequent editions, and also desist from allowing the awards to drag late into the night.

Originally publiched in Daily Sun , Friday April 10th

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Best Documentary (Short Subject)Coming of Age (Kenya)
Best Documentary (Feature)Joint winners:
For the Best and for the Onion (Niger)
Malcom's Echo (Nigeria)
Best Short FilmNo winner announced
Best AnimationLolo (Burkina Faso)
AMAA Achievement in SoundSeventh Heaven (Egypt)
AMAA Achievement in EditingFrom a Whisper (Kenya)
AMAA Achievement in Art DirectionSmall Boy - Michelle Bello (Nigeria)
AMAA Achievement in Make-UpLive to Remember (Nigeria)
AMAA Achievement in Visual EffectBattle of the Soul (Uganda)
Best Original in SoundtrackFrom a whisper (Kenya)
Most Promising ActorLitha Booi - Gugu and Andile (South Africa)
Most Promising ActressLungelo Dhladha - Gugu and Andile (South Africa)
Best Performance by a Child ActorRichard Chukwuma - Small Boy (Nigeria)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleFarouk Alfishawi - Seventh Heaven (Egypt)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleFunke Akindele - Jenifa (Nigeria)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJoel Okuyo Prynce - Battle of the Soul (Uganda)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleMercy Johnson - Live to Remember (Nigeria)
Best Film in African Language Gugu and Andile (South Africa)
AMAA Achievement in CinematographyCindy's Note - Izu Ojukwu (Nigeria)
AMAA Achievement in Costume
Arugba (Nigeria)

Heart of Africa Award for Best Films from Nigeria

Arugba - Tunde Kelani
Best Screenplay
From a Whisper (Kenya)
Best PictureFrom a Whisper (Kenya)
Best Director
Wanuri Kahiu - From a Whisper (Kenya)

Withered Nollywood @ AMAA

Pic- Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover cheer crew of Kenyan Film, From A Whisper

The Nigerian motion picture industry, globally known as Nollywood suffered a nauseating set back by managing to win only eight and half awards at the recent Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), which held in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State amid grandeur and constellation of stars. Unlike in the past four editions, where Nollywood filmmakers and actors had always dazzled and carted home virtually all the awards, this year’s edition saw films from Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, walking home with the major awards respectively.
In fact, the only saving grace for Nollywood at the grand gathering was Funke Akindele, whose exploits in the hit comedy, Jenifa, fetched her the coveted prize of Best Actress. Nollywood struggled and managed to win only eight and half awards out of the 24 available categories, and this according to many practitioners and industry followers, was a dismal outing for the nation’s film sector. Sincerely, quality films from Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, really dusted Nollywood and made her films and filmmakers looked like apprentices at the event, which held on our home soil.
Kenyan movie, From A Whisper, walked tall at the event with six major awards, in the categories of: Best Short Documentary, Editing, Soundtrack, Screenplay, Directing and the main award of the historic night, Best Picture, to the consternation of many, especially Nollywood pundits. South African movie, Gugu and Andile, carted home three plaques in the categories of: Best Film In Africa and Promising Actor and Actress, respectively. Also, an Egyptian actor, Farouk Alfishawi, got the prize for the Best Actor on the continent, with his role in Seventh Heaven, the movie also won in the Sound category. Battle of the Soul, from Uganda, made history with two awards in the areas of: Best Visual Effects and Supporting Actor, respectively, while Burkina Faso, won for Best Animation. Highly subdued Nollywood managed to make Nigeria proud with awards in the categories of: Art Direction, Make Up, Child Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Costume, Best Nigerian
Film and Documentary Feature, which was jointly won.
The duo of Zeb Ejiro and Gaston Kabore, both from Nigeria and Burkina Faso respectively, were decorated with AMAA’s Life Time Achievement awards at the epoch outing.
Also, the trio of Kofi Bucknor, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal and Julius Agwu beautifully anchored the lovely evening event. Performances from acts like: Salif Kaita, Deborah Frazier, J-Martins, Xplicit and few others, further helped to spice up the long night, which witnessed a post event dinner at the Government House..
The highpoint of the awards was the coming on stage of two Hollywood legends: Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover. Stay glued for the full story and authentic winners list soon.

HiTV re-packages for better viewership

It is no longer news that in its continued efforts aimed at giving its loyal and valuable subscribers quality service, HiTV Nigeria, recently carried out a rescan on its channels. This exercise was done after weeks of scrolling messages on the screen to inform its numerous subscribers.
The steps to be taken to rescan both HiTV and Strong decoders were elaborated in the information scrolled across the screens for weeks, in the event it loses signal. In a statement signed by Mr. Olumide Amure, Chief Operating Officer, HiTV, he said the wholly Nigerian satellite television programmes outfit, was aware that some subscribers may not be able to receive signals after the exercise, “that was why we took the effort to scroll the information across the screen for weeks prior to the exercise, this is because of our commitment to giving our subscribers a relaxing and enjoyable viewing experience. We have also improved the video quality of our channels by procuring additional bandwidth for our use and so we are now able to broadcast clearer channels. We have also continued to acquire more movies for both Hi Mix and Hi Kids as well as Hi Nolly channels and you can now watch new movies every Sunday on Hi Mix, and from this April, children movies
every day on Hi Kids.”

Pic- Toyin Subair, CEO, HiTV

HiTV, Amure said, also placed advertorials in the media educating viewers on the rescan procedures since the exercise took place. “In any situation, our subscribers’ interest is uppermost on our minds, and that is why we strive day and night to deliver first class services. We have also advised our subscribers to visit any of our agents across the country or our Ebute Metta, Lagos office (for Lagos residents), where willing customer care agents are on ground to assist anyone who still finds it difficult to rescan his decoder, following the steps given in our advertorials. This was at no cost to anybody,” he added.
The Chief Operating Officer, however, regrets any inconvenience the rescan exercise might have cost HiTV’s loyal subscribers, reiterating that the exercise was in the best interest of “our subscribers. If you noticed, since the rescan exercise took place, our picture quality has improved tremendously. I want to state again that in the process of improving the video quality of the channels, the channels had to be re-arranged and the effect of this was the ‘scrambled channel’ observed by several subscribers on their decoders. Not all subscribers were however affected as all those with decoder software versions 2.0.7 and above were not affected. Those affected however, only need to re-scan their decoders to continue receiving and enjoying their channels. We have also gone ahead to upgrade as many subscribers’ decoders as possible and this remains an ongoing process. We advise all subscribers to endeavors to upgrade to the latest software version.
They can
contact us directly or contact their nearest dealer for the upgrade processes procedures.”
Amure further assured subscribers that the process was very easy, adding that there is a campaign currently on to educate people in the media about the rescanning operation.”
Meanwhile, one of the fallouts of the rescan is perhaps, the acquisition of Animax channel by HiTV. “The Animax channel is a product of our relationship with Sony, one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is a product of the same relationship. Subscribers should be on the look out for more exciting and relevant channels in the near future.
The satellite outfit, according to Amure, acquired an additional transponder space in March; this brings the number of transponders to two.

Abuja agog for Vincolo’s Night

A romantic and memorable evening where couples are expected to rekindle their love for each other is being planned in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), soon.
Tagged: Vincolo’s Night (meaning bonding in Italian), the coming evening of romance, bonding, laughter, relaxation, good music and munching holds on Friday, April 24, 2009, at the prestigious Abuja International Conference Centre.
Packaged by ace TV and Nollywood actress, Maimuna Yahaya in collaboration with Mesba Promotions, her production outfit, the affordable tickets for the event are already selling at designated centers in Lagos and Abuja.
Shedding more light on Vincolo’s Night, Mrs. Yahaya, also the presenter of Bond on network TV, disclosed that the city of Abuja is already looking forward to the memorable evening that would be spiced up with live music and comedy. “ Aside comedy and good music from our live band, we will also have interactive sessions with couples and present them with booty bags filled with exotic gifts. It is our own little way of saying a big thank you to them for coming. The tickets for the show could also be purchased at any branch of First Bank nationwide”.
Continuing, she hinted that the show is aimed at helping couples to rekindle their love lives and bond without inhibitions in a romantic and conducive atmosphere.
Sir Victor Uwaifo, Timi Dakolo and Anu, an up and coming act, based in Abuja, are expected to further thrill couples at the gathering.

Censors Board wages war on erring distributors

As part of its efforts to always sanitize the film industry and encourage global best practices, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), recently suspended the operating licenses of some erring distributors who contravened the regulations of the New Framework on film and video distribution in the country.
The apex film regulatory body, in what is seen as a paradigm shift in its relations with the licensees said it has suspended the licenses of all licensed distributors that flaunted the resolutions of the Distributors’ Congress held in Abuja on March 13th, 2009.
Specifically, the Board frowned at the manner distributors were repeatedly breaching the home video release process, releasing films without classification labels and circumventing other tenets of the New Framework with impunity.
According to the Head of the New Distribution Framework, Obiora Chukwumba, “the Board has conclusively established that irrespective of the subsisting regulations on Home Video Release Process, some of the distributors have released their works in flagrant disregard to the regulations governing home movie release”.
Embittered Chukwumba further stated that all the offenders had been duly communicated. He regretted that the distributors declined all entreaties from the Board to them to desist from disobeying the resolutions of the Distributors’ Congress. The Distributors’ Congress held during the BOBTV in Abuja had resolved to adhere strictly to the dictates of the Home Video Release Process, which states among others that; a Distributor must receive official signal that a film or video work has been censored, all censorship corrections effected and a release certificate duly obtained from the Board.
The Board had in a memo to the President of Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Emma Isikaku and the President, Yoruba Video Film Producers/ Marketers Association of Nigeria, Prince Jide Kosoko, on March 4, 2009, entitled “Incessant Breach of Censorship and Release Regulations”, expressed its displeasure at the flagrant abuse of the statutory regulations on censorship and home video regulations of the Board by its members.
The Board noted, “Under the Framework on Distribution and Exhibition of movies, it is an offence bordering on criminal plot to release a movie into the market without due censorship and release protocols”. The release made it categorically clear that, it would henceforth hold the entire leadership of the associations culpable for further breach of any of the protocols of the new framework on films and video distribution by its members.

Showbiz Gists + Introducing Society Plus

Nigga Raw tours Europe

No doubt, things are really moving very well for rave Hip-Hop/Rap act, Nigga Raw and his Abian crewmembers.
Few weeks after the very successful launch of his big budget musical videos at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, the crooner with an attitude has landed another big one, but this time around, on the foreign scene.
In an exclusive chat, Raw, disclosed that he is currently on a musical tour of some European countries and major cities.
Made possible by MLV Entertainment, the tour kicked of penultimate weekend in Zurich, Switzerland, and would see the act performing in other countries like: Holland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Holland and a host of other cities.
We reliably gathered that upon his arrival in the next couple of weeks, Raw, would also kick start a nation-wide tour, aimed at further promoting his newly released musical videos.

MTN supports Nite of a Thousand Laughs

MTN, one of the leading telecom giants in Nigeria has once again thrown its weight behind Nite of a Thousand Laughs, one of the most popular and consistent comedy shows from this side of the divide.
Gathered authoritatively that the company, which has hugely supported the Opa Williams-organized show over the years, has once again declared its full support for series of other shows lined up this year, in various States of the federation.

Pic-Opa WIlliams

Meanwhile, the people of Asaba and Delta State in general, would be having a feel of the show on April 8, 2009, at Orchid Hotel, in the heart of the city.
Among the tested and trusted comedians and musicians billed to raise the roof at the coming evening of unending laughter, music, relaxation and networking are: Igodye, Gordons, Gandoki and Maleke. Others coming on board Include: Wande Coal, Buchi, Xplicit and several other up and coming entertainers and performers. Commenting further on the many surprise packages lined up for the event, Mr. Williams who is also the CEO of Virgin Organizations revealed that the organizing team has not rested for a second, while trying to discover other forms of comedy that would help make the D-day unique and fun filled.
He also thanked MTN immensely, for supporting and standing by him in the last nine years. “It’s a synergy that has paid off real good, said Williams, whose show will clock 15, next year.

PEFTI hosts foreign Nollywood enthusiasts

Pic-Wale Adenuga

The Wale Adenuga-led PEFTI Film Institute recorded yet another milestone recently when two foreign journalists/filmmakers visited the institute as part of their research works. While at PEFTI, Kasper Tveden and Peter Kristensen, both journalist and photojournalist respectively, also took out time to record materials for their documentary, entitled: Nollywood Scenes.
In their words, Nollywood Scenes; was based on the story, history, current state and the future trends of Nigeria’s movie industry, globally known as Nollywood.
The duo who are from Denmark, also interviewed the management, lecturers and students of the revered film institute. They were also given the opportunity to film classes-in-session as well as other training activities taking place at the institute.
Speaking further, the elated duo maintained that they opted for the institute based on strong recommendations from Nigerian filmmakers and clips sourced from the award winning Dutch documentary on PEFTI, entitled: De Film Industrie van Nigeria.


Hayford Alile’s moment of joy

Pic- Alile

Apostle Hayford Alile, the Chairman of Oceanic Bank Plc and
former Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, his
amiable wife, Patience, alongside their entire household had
a good reason to thank and magnify the good Lord recently.
The auspicious occasion was the solemnization of holy
matrimony between their lovely daughter Nosa and Dele, the
son of renowned broadcaster and advertising guru, Mr. Dele
Adetiba. The well-attended wedding was formalized at the
Alile’s family worship centre, St. Joseph Chosen Church of
God, Lekki, Lagos, while the lavish reception held at the
British International School, also situated in the same vicinity.
Dignitaries from all walks of life also graced the
reception and warmly felicitated with the newest couple and
their grateful families.
It was even glaring that both parents of the couple could
not hide their joy, and kept
smiling and thanking all for coming.
Also, it was obvious that even Dr. Clement Alile, apostle Hayford’s sibling and a former secretary to the Edo State
Government, who sat with the former governor of Akwa-Ibom
State, Obong Victor Attah, thoroughly enjoyed himself.
However, the majestic arrival and presence of the CEO of
Oceanic Bank Plc., Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, further lit up the
venue of the reception. She mesmerized all with her
intimidating dark goggles, which did not leave her eyes till
she left with her entourage.
Nosa, is a sociologist, while her husband is an economist
and they both live and work in Barack Obama’s country.

Timi Alaibe steps out in style

Pic- Timi and Gov Uduaghan of Delta State recently

Many friends of Mr. Timi Alaibe, the bereaved Managing
Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta
Development Commission (NDDC), are happy that the amiable
father of five, is gradually bouncing back to life after the
sad demise of Alaere, his wife of over two decades.
They were so excited to see the strong man of Bayelsa State
politics at the recent wedding of the daughter of Apostle
Hayford Alile, in Lekki, Lagos.
The still mourning Alaibe, whose philanthropic deeds is
legendary, did not only attend, but kept smiling and
exchanging hearty greetings and pleasantries with friends
and well wishers throughout his wondrous stay at the
reception ground.
As usual, he was swathed in a well-fitted and now famous
gray-coloured Niger Delta attire, (Resource Control), with a
matching black bowler hat, that helped in making him look
younger without any sign of mourning.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that a strong delegation from the Presidency, which was led by
the Vice President, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, recently paid the
widower a condolence visit in his Opokuma, Bayelsa State
country home.