May 14, 2016 – Veteran Nollywood Actor Ola Balogun Walks Out Of His Movie Premiere, Says New Filmmakers Not Making Quality Films
Drama As Veteran Nigerian Filmmaker Ola Balogun Walks Out Of His Movie Premiere At Freedom Park In Lagos After Junior Colleagues Challenged Him
Ace filmmaker Dr. Ola Balogun, who belongs to the first generation of Nigerian film makers in the likes of the late Chief Hubert Ogunde, Jab Adu, the late Ade Afolayan (Ade Love), Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala), Eddie Ugbomah among others, felt embarrassed and disappointed Monday night, when he stormed out of the premiere of his new documentary film, “River Niger, Black Mother” in anger.
Ola-Balogun The documentary film, premiered at Freedom Park in Lagos Island, attracted a sizeable number of young film makers and critics. After the screening of the documentary which he said took him about 10 years to produce, the legendary film maker was put on the spot, as he answered some questions from the audience bordering on his career as a film maker and the state of the nation’s film industry. “In my opinion, the present day film makers are not interested in making quality films.
According to him, “80 percent of would-be-film makers do not want to learn the art of film making.” In the past forty years, he said, “none of them have ever come to tell us to mentor them. I can’t go about looking for who I would mentor. They don’t want to learn anything, rather they are interested in making money.” “There are some professionals in Nollywood such as Tade Ogidan and late Amaka Igwe.
The issue is this, the young musicians usually come to me and we play music together. That’s why they are setting a high standard now. But the film makers are not interested in making good films. They have not seen any good film before, and they are not interested in making quality films. “Film making is a profession and the present generation of film makers do not want to approach it as a profession. The so-called actors in Nollywood are horrible. I can only refer to them as stars, not actors. There are only three actors in Nollywood. One of them is called Mercy Johnson, she’s a very good actress. The other one is Liz Benson. Actresses such as Ini Edo, among others, are not actresses, yet they make a lot of money.”
Shortly after Ola Balogun’s presentation, a young female film maker, Emmra, who said she studied Computer Science at Ogun State University before venturing into film making, took on the veteran film maker-turned-musician following his outright condemnation of works of the present generation of Nigerian film makers. “I feel there is a big disconnect between the older generation and the younger generation of film makers in the country. I am going to relate my experience. Like you said, we are victims of the society not just the older generation alone. I studied Computer Science in Ogun State university and I never saw one computer throughout my undergraduate days.
After my graduation, I started as an intern with Clarion Peters even though I knew I wanted to go into film making. “During that period, I was able to save some money as I proceeded to New York Film Academy to study the art of film making for one and half years. So, when you tell me that I don’t know what I am doing, it hurts. When you tell me that I am not interested in learning the art of film making, it makes me not even want to meet with you to ask you some questions. It shuts that door for me. Yes, our work might not be as good as that of your generation.
But there are lot of people who are out there struggling to make a good film. Whether you like it not, Nollywood has brought global attention to this country. And these are the people you say they do not know anything. If you talk like this, I don’t want to come near you,” the young girl fumed. However, feeling embarrassed and visibly disappointed, Ola Balogun lost his cool as he stormed out of the venue, muttering “I am not going to come here and talk again. I have not seen anything you have done.
I have a new documentary here. It is called River Niger, Black Mother. It took me about ten years to produce the documentary. You cannot learn to make film by going to film school, it’s a waste of time. You make film by watching films. I am going away from here,” the legendary film maker thundered, storming out of the place angrily. [source]