From Benin with fury, Lancelot returns with Adesuwa .

Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00

By Chuks Nwanne Features - Friday Review .

GUARDIAN

AFTER a successful public unveiling in the United Kingdom and Canada, filmmaker, Lancelot Imasuen, is set to screen his long awaited movie in Nigeria. A partnership between Imasuen and Mark Nuel, Adesuwa, an action packed movies features notable Nollywood stars such as Olu Jacobs, Bob Manuel Udokwuby, Ngozi Ezeonu and others. Shot for 13 days in Benin, the Edo State capital city, the N17 million movie will be premiered in major cities across the country including Benin, Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Speaking at a special press screening of the movie held recently in Lagos, the director described the movie as a response to many criticisms being heaped on Nollywood, especially by filmmakers from the Diaspora.

“The truth of the matter is that we were very conscious of the fact that it was a foundation; I’m talking about Nollywood. Somehow, some people were coming from left, right and centre, saying they want to teach us how to make film. Adesuwa is an annoyance of, ‘hey, shut up, we know what we are doing; na condition make crayfish bend.”

The Port Harcourt screening of Adesuwa will be a sort of homecoming for some of the cast and crew of the movie, who trained at the University of Port Harcourt.

“We are very emotional about Port Harcourt; myself and Bob Manuel are from the University of Port Harcourt. The university community has endorsed this movie, so, we are going to show it in the school. We also have other UNIPORT graduates as part of the crew, so, for us, it is like homecoming.”

Adesuwa is a story of pride, and talks about men’s lust after women. It centres on a King that demeaned his throne because of a woman that has already being betrothed on another man. The movie also talks on disobedient of a girl, which resulted to her untimely death.

“It got to a point on set of the movie, the cast, crew and everyone present on the set busted in tears when the characters were interpreting their different roles. This shows the depth of the story and what the movie buff should expect when it is finally released. Adesuwa is a testimony of what Nollywood can do and the bright future that lies ahead.”

On the choice of the storyline and location, the filmmaker informed that, “I needed to operate from an environment I knew, being Edo from Benin City. As a young lad growing up in Benin, the tale of Adesuwa was very popular. There were so many stories, folklores told about the downfall of this King because of a woman by the name of Adesuwa. There were so many musicians who sang, made albums sharing this tale. It happens to be a very critical story based on the lustful actions of a King, who lost his identity based on lust, greed and dissatisfaction. In Africa, this is a major factor still being played out. There is the lust for money, power, hence corruption that controls us as a people.”

As for the cast, “like many historical English classics such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, I need not just artistes but seasoned artistes, well-trained artistes. Even those, who are new on the block, were highly trained actors and actresses that were flawless on screen. So each individual selection was most importantly based on merit, thus, you get veterans like Olu Jacobs and Ngozi Ezeonu.”

Despite the many challenges facing the industry, Imasuen is of the opinion that the Nigerian movie industry and its practitioners deserve commendations for growing the industry to its present level without government or corporate support. Most importantly, the promoters, Imasuen said, deserve respect from filmmakers from the Diaspora, whom he accused of trying to run down the achievements on ground.

“We’ve heard so many things; we’ve read so many things about Nollywood. The truth is that Nollywood has been rooted; whatever anybody wants to contribute, is an addition to what’s on ground already. It’s no longer news that for some time now, we’ve seen a lot people from Diaspora come into Nollywood. But the problem is that they won’t just come and first appreciate the foundation that has been established; they all say we do nonsense, and that we shoot in one week. I rounded off Adesuwa on December 23, 2009, and I spent 17 months for post-production.”

The movie is a true-life story based on the ancient Benin Kingdom (1752 AD). It is a wholly Nigerian production that aims at raising the stakes in the industry.

“Adesuwa was made by us for the whole world; there was no foreign hand. There was a time that it became necessary that we had to go to Bulgaria to render some of the effects. Here in Nigeria, we don’t have rendering plants to achieve some of these effects; it’s part of the constraints. At the first public showing in Canada on September 18, at the Odeon Cinema, we received positive reaction, which show that Nollywood is not all about bad news; this is the Nollywood I dreamt of.”
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