May 18, 2016 – Ola Balogun: I Walked Out My Movie Premiere After A ‘No-Name’ Filmmaker Insulted Me
Veteran Nollywood actor Ola Balogun has opened up on why he walked out of his movie premiere at Freedom Park in Lagos last week.
Here what he told The Nation yesterday:
To my immense surprise and disappointment, only two self-proclaimed young film makers showed up at the Freedom Park on the evening of Monday, May 9th 2016 to watch the screening of a documentary film entitled “The magic of Nigeria” on Nigerian art and culture, which I wrote and directed over thirty years ago. (As a result of misguided zeal, I had intended this screening to serve as a basis for a workshop that would enable me to explain some of the practical aspects of professional film making to any aspiring film makers willing to learn from me).
To begin with, I was quite taken aback to observe that the event was scantily attended, notwithstanding the fact that notice of the screening was widely circulated though the auspices of Freedom Park itself and of the Goethe (German Cultural) Institute. Without wishing to be immodest. I think it would also be pertinent at this stage to mention that this particular film has been shown to wide acclaim in many parts of the world over the past three decades, including at the New York museum of Modern Arts.
When I was asked to share my thoughts about my documentary film on Nigerian art and culture on the fateful night that it was screened at Freedom Park to an audience that included folks like my senior colleague Tam Fiofori and other distinguished members of the Nigerian artistic community like Miguel Enwerem, Jahman Anikulapo and others, I believed that I was being helpful to young film makers by pointing out that film making is a profession in the same way as carpentry or architecture, and that those who wish to excel in this field therefore have to make an effort to watch and study the works of accomplished film makers from all over the world, as well endeavour to serve practical apprenticeships under the guidance of leading Nigerian film professionals, as has been the norm for many centuries now in most professions all over the world.
I went further to point out that even if the new generation of aspiring film makers might claim not to have access to the films that were made by my own generation of film makers, they could learn by paying close attention to the work of accomplished contemporary film makers like Tade Ogidan and Tunde Kelani, as well as from the professionalism of Liz Benson, Osuofia and Mercy Johnson in the field of acting….
When the floor was subsequently thrown open for general discussion at Freedom Park on the night of May 9th, a shocking development ensued when the only two individuals in the audience who defined themselves as young film makers got up to make largely irrelevant comments.
The first to speak was a young man who asked me why I haven’t posted my films on Youtube for he and his colleagues to watch on the internet. As gently as I could, I explained in response that it would be sheer madness for me to do so, as this would only lead to large scale pirating of my work. To illustrate the point I was making, I gave the example of the musical soundtrack of my award winning film “Black Goddess”, which I made the mistake of authorising a British company to market, only for the music of my film to end up being widely circulated and sold world-wide via the internet by a variety of unknown companies and individual who have never paid me one cent of royalties…
This was when a young lady who belongs to the generation of my grandchildren, and whom I had never seen before or heard of in all my life, stood up and castigated me in shrill tones for allegedly “rubbishing” her work, following which she declared that she never wanted to know me or hear from me about anything.
I frankly confess that as I listened to her rant, I was at a total loss to understand if this young lady was in her right senses, or if she had smoked some substances that leads to delirium before standing up to speak.
The said young woman (whose identity is unknown to me) then went on to boast that she held a Master’s degree in film production from an American University, and that she had nothing to learn from Ola Balogun or from any other Nigerian or African film maker.
It was at this point that I rose and walked out of the venue, leaving her to continue unimpeded with her nonsensical utterances.
I definitely do not need to listen to sit down anywhere listening to the idle boasts of this kind of young person, who appeared to have derived immense pleasure from spouting totally unfounded allegations that a man old enough to be her grandfather has been criticising and rubbishing films she claims to have produced, whereas I have never in my whole life heard of this confused girl or known anything about her existence!
However, there is no wahala! The young lady should go ahead and produce the films that she claims she knows how to make for the people of Nigeria and of the entire world to watch and admire.