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Monday, August 2, 2010

High Blood Pressure hits shelves

This is definitely cheering news for movie buffs. After a very successfully premiere/showings at some of the major cinemas in Nigeria, High Blood Pressure, the political thriller directed by top filmmaker Teco Benson, has finally hit shelves nationwide, with a bang.

Parading some of the biggest names in Nollywood, the big budget blockbuster, has been topping charts since its release on DVD, a fortnight ago.

Leading the pack of tested and trusted thespians that thrilled movie buffs in the suspense filled film are the duo of Kanayo O. Kanayo and Clarion Chukwurah. Others on the star-studded bill include: Yemi Blaq, Lilian Bach, Jibola Daboh, Jim Roach and a host of others.

The well-scripted plot of the movie revolves around a greedy politician, his ruthless god-father and an adulterous and scheming wife, all having their eyes on the governorship slot of a troubled state.

In a brief chat with us, Mr. Benson, whose name is synonymous with action thrillers in Nollywood, stated that the theme of the film captures the current mood of the nation, especially now that the race for 2011, is currently heating up the polity.

Also speaking, the executive producer cum marketer of the 2010 AMAA nominated movie, Mr. John Darlington Okonkwo, corroborated Benson’s claim that High Blood Pressure was all about the dirty and evil scheming of irresponsible and power-drunk politicians pretending to be agents of change in the polity.

“We are appealing to movie buffs to buy only the original copies and ignore pirated one’s Okonkwo added. The flick is being marketed and distributed by Good Life productions in collaboration with other video marts.

Nollywood guilds set conditions for foreign productions

Henceforth, any foreigner coming into Nigeria for movie related productions must be duly cleared by all the guilds in Nollywood as well as the relevant government agencies before being allowed to work.
Aside the necessary clearance, they will equally pay certain amount of levies to the relevant guilds before proceeding to work in Nollywood.
Making the new guidelines known at a recent parley with movie journalists was Mr. Bond Emeruwa, the Chairman of Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations (CONGA). According to him, the move became necessary, because the time has come to protect the Nigerian film industry, with a view to enabling it grow bigger and better.
Emeruwa further argued that the growth will equally increase its capacity to assist other emerging film industries globally.
He said CONGA, has resolved that any film practitioner wishing to work on a project in Nigeria must fulfill the following conditions.
“Obtain a clearance from the Interpol in his country of origin attesting to his criminal status. Apply for and obtain a written permission from the Nigerian Film Corporation. Apply for and obtain a written approval from CONGA, through the appropriate guild or association that best represents the practitioner’s area of practice. Any film practitioner or production company coming into Nigeria is doing so because of the conducive atmosphere. To ensure the continued existence of this atmosphere, there is need for those coming to practice in Nollywood to contribute financially, hence, the need for mandatory levies,” posited Emeruwa.
For foreign actors, producers, directors and screen writers, the sum of $2,500, will be paid respectively, for any job they are embarking on in Nigeria, while production companies are levied $10,000. Creative Designers, Production Managers, Assistant Directors and others will pay between $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. CONGA, also made it clear that any foreign film that seeks to be distributed in Nigeria, must first be censored by the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board as well as registered with the Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
It added that a non refundable fee of $10,000, a censorship certificate from the country of origin, a copyright certificate from the country of origin and from the Nigerian Copyright Commission, as well as proof of censorship in Nigeria, must be produced before any foreign film will be distributed.
CONGA, also said that any film produced in Nigeria that parades one or two foreign artistes shall be treated as a foreign film, at the point of distribution, except otherwise stated. It also resolved that any foreign production sited within the geographical area of Nigeria, must have at least 80 percent of its cast and crew as Nigerians.
Speaking further, Emeruwa, also the president of Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) insisted that the new policies, without prejudice, were put in place as parts of the concerted efforts aimed at protecting and inculcating laudable ethics in the Nigerian film industry.
“However, CONGA, reserves the right to modify all these as it pertains to individual countries. And will also consider specific applications for waivers from foreign production companies,” Emeruwa explained.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that the Ghana film industry, known as Ghollywood recently levied the sum of $1,000 and $5,000, respectively on Nigerian actors and producers coming to work in Ghana. Many now see the new initiative from CONGA, as a retaliatory measure against their Ghanaian counterparts that fired the first salvo.

Chico Ejiro opens Nollywood Plantation Bar

Prolific filmmaker, Chico Ejiro is poised to rock tinsel town with another laudable initiative soon.

The Delta State born movie mogul has concluded plans to officially open his one-stop Nollywood Plantation Bar, to exclusively cater for stars, celebrities, patrons and selected friends of the industry.

According to elated Ejiro, aside choice drinks and specially prepared African cuisines, there will also be big screens to help lovers of football and quality movies relax and network whenever they saunter in.

“We are ready to serve stars and celebs the best of drinks and African cuisines in a very relaxed and nature-friendly environment. Segun Arinze and Shan George will be the Chief bar men on the day of the opening, which is next week Saturday. On a daily basis, we are going to be having different stars as the Chief bar man or women, whose job is to specially serve our high-end guests, while I will be coordinating as the overall officer in charge,” he disclosed.

Ejiro said his reason for setting up the bar was to help stars and celebrities relax in a place that they can call theirs, adding that Nollywood was long over due for a place like the new hang-out. The new joint is situated within the premises of Ejiro’s Grand Touch Pictures office, in the heart of Surulere, Lagos.

Omowunmi Akinnifesi distances self from affair with Naeto C

Beautiful Lagos State Environmental Ambassador and erstwhile Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, has condemned the rumour alleging an impending wedding between her and Kini Big Deal crooner, Naeto C. In a recent encounter, the delectable and sexy ex-beauty queen maintained that nothing could be further from the truth. Denying having anything intimate with Naeto C, who is the son of former Aviation Minister, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, Wunmi, like her friends call her, wondered why some funny characters now take delight in weaving unpleasant stories around her and her love life. She was first linked with one Dele Fasan, which later turned out to be a ruse. And now, this weird one with Naeto C.
On how the rumour came to her knowledge, the Geography and Regional Planning graduate of the University of Lagos said: “It came to my attention on Twitter, because I don't read magazines that don't have credibility and that can't be sued. My friends and I laughed about it and my first reaction was to ignore it, but then other media houses, big and small, continued to carry the false rumour without confirming from me first”.
Admitting knowing the crooner like all those that listen to his music, she, however, insisted that she doesn't have any relationship whatsoever with Mrs. Chikwe whom the mischief makers alleged is in the know of the non-existent affair, and as a matter of fact hasn't even met her physically.
Visibly embittered Wunmi, urged the wicked tale bearers to get off her back as she's busy working on some special projects and focusing on her newest academic endeavours and ambassadorial work for Lagos State. “As anxious as they are to see me walk down the aisle, let them wait until there is indeed a suitor and I make that person's identity known to the public, not some jobless people imposing somebody on me”.

National Awards: AGN to host Aki, Mama G

For making the Nigerian motion picture industry proud, especially Nollywood, the famous duo of Chinedu Ikedieze (MFR), popularly known as Aki and Patience Ozokwo (MON), affectionately called Mama G, by fans will soon be hosted to a lavish reception by the leadership of (Actors Guild of Nigeria AGN). The reception, we reliably gathered is part of the activities lined up for them by AGN, for receiving this year’s edition of the National Honour Awards. “For the duo being singled out this year in the whole of Nigerian motion picture industry, for national awards by Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, is a big plus for the entire Nollywood”, enthused AGN national president, Mr. Segun Arinze.

Continuing, the popular actor, who was full of praises for Mr. President, further disclosed that a special committee to be headed by star actress, Stella Damasus, had already been set up, in order to ensure a befitting reception for the duo soon.

“On behalf of AGN, let me also use this opportunity to heartily congratulate Chinedu and Patience on their well-deserved national awards honour by the federal government. In fact, the entire AGN members and Nollywood community are happy for the awards. Our national secretariat was agog with celebrations the day the awards were presented to them. We equally thanked the federal government for this kind gesture and urge them to honour more Nollywood practitioners, for we have really done great to launder the battered image of this great nation through our laudable productions. Thank you Mr. President”, Arinze concluded.

Also speaking, top actress and filmmaker, Stephanie Okereke said the news of the national awards gladdens her heart, adding that the recognition would definitely spur Nollywood practitioners to do more for fatherland. She equally thanked the federal government for further elevating Nollywood with the recent awards, maintaining that the awards were a step in the right direction for the industry. In her words: “Sincerely, I was so happy when the sweet news reached me. Nollywood has really done great for this country and recognizing us with such honours will ever make us go to the next level with our creativity. I’ve stood side by side with world leaders because of this great industry, which has really repositioned our battered image. It is an industry that has brought joy, happiness, employment, fame and fortune to most homes. It has also created great role models for this nation. We sincerely thank Mr. President for the honour and equally look forward to more recognition from his government,” she posited.

According to the spokesman of AGN, Mr. Abu Yakubu, the reception’s date and venue would be made public soon and equally communicated to all the expected special guests. Meanwhile, in a recent chat, the newly decorated star actor, maintained that the award was fulfilling, adding that it was also a thing of joy to be singled out in the whole of Nigeria for the honour.

Black and White Ball rules Lagos

Lagos, the centre of excellence rocked and roared endlessly penultimate Sunday evening when Encomium, the magazine and awards company hosted its high-octane, all glitz and all glamour six-hour soiree. Stylishly christened The Black and White Ball, the series two of the grand gathering, which incorporated the Elegance and Style awards alongside a spectacular and scintillating fashion show, was well attended by stars, celebs and the glitterati.
Held elaborately at the upscale and enchanting Darlington Hall, situated in the heart of Ilupeju, the fun filled and memorable evening was sensationally anchored by A-list actor and man of style, Chidi Mokeme, whom many of his colleagues from Nollywood also attended.
With colours black and white visible in all corners of the well-decorated and lavishly-lit hall, the breath-taking bash officially began with a fashion show. Amazingly, some of the reigning and revered couturiers that showcased the best of Nigerian fashion with eclectic designs, mostly for soignées present at the graceful outing that afforded high-net-worth guests the opportunity and time to relax, chit-chat and network included chiseled models from JD7 and Zizi. Others that dazzled on the runway include: Vigold, Imol, Shakara, House of Nwocha, Nobel Afrik, Adu, Rouge and Design for Love. Unarguably, one of Nigeria’s most colourful and glamourous assemble of celebs, stars, glamozons, fashionistas and stylish professionals, The Black and White Ball, truly lived up to its pre event media hypes and hailing. Aside hosting and serenading all with good music and enchanting fashion parade in a conducive environment, the organizers equally made provisions for surplus victuals. The choice drinks and assorted cuisines kept pouring in for those with large appetites to keep devouring and savouring. Of course, the availability of small chops and canapés gave room for more jollifications and munching.
The rendezvous climaxed with the special presentations of the Elegance and Style Awards 2010, where well-deserving awards were presented to awardees in 18 different categories. This year’s affair, which is still a topic of discussion on the lips of many, especially those privileged to grace, was themed: Elegance is ennobling, and as expected, the few that refused to comply with the dress code of black and white, all black or all white plush ensembles were thoroughly bounced at the entrance gate. While the good, great, gorgeous and glamourous that conformed to the rules and regulations were specially ushered into the enthralling event that began with a photo-session, outside the main hall.
Commenting on the prom, the elated head honcho of Encomium Ventures, Mr. Olakunle Bakare, a meticulous and respected man of style, thanked all those that made the ball possible and successful, adding that another spell-binding edition is already being planned for 2011.

Emem Isong serenades with two-in-one premiere

Few months after the grand opening of her acting school, Royal Arts Academy, leading female film producer, Emem Isong is poised to dazzle Nollywood again with double world premieres under one roof. This Sunday evening, Isong and the duo of Uche Jombo and Desmond Elliot will be storming the posh Silverbird Cinemas, Victoria Island, Lagos, with Bursting Out and Holding Hope. While Isong, single handedly produced the former flick, she collaborated with Jombo and Elliot, on the latter. According to her, Bursting Out, is a romantic comedy that sensationally treats contemporary issues, on a lighter note, while Holding Hope, dwells on the dreaded disease, cancer. “The former is a romantic story that will make you laugh and laugh, while the latter is a very serious story that treated painfully, the issue of cancer. In fact, it’s a tragic story about the vicissitudes of life and a dying mother’s love for her only son. Both movies will make you laugh and cry, meaning there is a balance for our entire invited guests coming for the premieres,” she maintained.

Bursting Out, starred Genevieve Nnaji, Majid Michael, Omoni Oboli, Susan Peters and Uti of the Big Brother fame. The quartet of Uche Jombo, Desmond Elliot, Nadia Buari and Ngozi Nwosu thrilled in Holding Hope, which was shot in both Lagos and New York, respectively. The anticipated evening of fun, relaxation and high-level networking, which is strictly by invitation, will begin with a Red Carpet at exactly 4.30pm. The premieres proper, will kick off at 7pm, with Bursting Out, jointly directed by Daniel Ademinokhai and Desmond Elliot. Shedding more light on the premieres being proudly powered by her Royal Arts Academy, Isong, with over 20 blockbusters to her credit, disclosed that they have concluded plans to embark on a seven-city tour with both movies immediately after the Sunday outing. “We have concluding arrangements with our foreign partners to storm London, Houston, New York, Toronto and Accra with these movies between now and early 2011. We also want to have follow up premieres in Abuja and Port-Harcourt soon. The aim of all these is to create the much needed awareness for these films before releasing them on DVD, courtesy of Royal Arts Academy. It is always good to promote good and exceptional productions and that is what we have decided to do with these two movies. Nollywood is now a global force and institution that the world looks up to and we must keep sustaining that tempo with great works and special premieres,” she hinted.

On why she and her partners are premiering two films same day, under one roof, the Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Calabar, reminded us that this outing will not be the first time they would be embarking on such projects. “Remember that last year, Desmond, Uche and I, premiered two blockbusters, Guilty Pleasures and Nollywood Hustlers same day, under one roof and same venue. And it was a huge success, we decided to leverage on that success for another great outing this Sunday. It’s our style and we want to keep leveraging on it because it works effectively for us”, she disclosed.

Meanwhile, VIP tickets for the two-in-one premiere that is currently serenading Tinsel town are also available on special requests. The dress code for the event is glamourous.