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Stonebwoy calls on government to support the creative arts industry



Stonebwoy calls on government to support the creative arts industry

Multiple award-winning Reggae and Dancehall star, Livingstone Etse Satekla known in showbiz as Stonebwoy has made a passionate appeal on the government of Ghana to support the Creative Arts Industry in the country so as to create more employment avenues for people, especially the youth.

The Dancehall act made this appeal when he was honored at the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) Launch on Wednesday.

Over the years, a whole lot of musicians and stakeholders in the Ghanaian creative arts space have complained about the lack of support and incentives in the industry which is limiting them to doing much better in their given occupation. Stonebwoy has been one of the vocal ones who keeps adding his voice to the passionate appeal to authorities.

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In his speech at the YEA Launch, the Top Skanka hit maker said he as a single musician can boost of providing employment opportunities to people around him through the work he does. He added that indirectly, people all over who make shirts and print items with his image on them are also making a living out of what they do.

“I am a musician and I want to send my simple plea out that there’s so much job to be made around the creative arts. As I roll up here I can count at least 10 of the people around me who are employed.”

He climaxed his speech by saying it would help even better if there support from government comes in so many more get employed.

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“The government should look at the creative arts sector beyond artisan and all because it creates employment for people as well”, he said.



From Nollywood to Netflix: Genevieve Nnaji’s rise



From Nollywood to Netflix: Genevieve Nnaji’s rise

Nigerian star and film director Genevieve Nnaji has already shown that she is a force to be reckoned with, so the disqualification of her Netflix film from the Oscars is unlikely to frustrate her ambitions.

In fact, the rejection of Lion heart earlier this month from the Academy’s best international feature film category may well act as a springboard for her future success.

The 40-year-old has starred in more than 80 films over the last two decades and her rise to prominence coincided with the exponential growth of Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry is called, across Africa.

Yet she suffered a major setback in 2004 when she was blacklisted by a powerful cartel of film studios in Nigeria, along with several other A-list actors.

Nollywood ban

These film studios, operating out of Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos and Onitsha in the south-east state of Anambra, largely bankrolled Nollywood in the 1990s and early 2000s.

They gave funds to producers and told them who to hire, says BBC Igbo reporter Vining Ogu, who used to be a film producer based in the southern city of Asaba.

“At some point, the studios felt these A-list stars were collecting too much money and felt they were being held to ransom,” he said.

“At its height, one actor collected 10m naira [$28,000; £21,000] in the early 2000s in cash, which was a lot of money.”

With no producer brave enough to go against the studios, Nnanji found herself out of a job – so she decided to move into music, releasing an album called One Logologo Line.

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Her one and only album, it is best remembered for the track No More, a love song with lyrics that could be seen as metaphor for the rest of her career: “No more crying oh, No more fighting oh, No more tears oh, I got my freedom, power and more.”

Screenwriter and director Ishaya Bako traces her rise to the top and the birth of independent producers in Nigeria to that ban.

“The studios thing happening, there was some bad in it, but a lot of good came out of it,” says Bako, who worked with Nnaji on the Road to Yesterday in 2015 – when she made her debut as a producer.

“It made her realise there could be life behind the camera,” he said.

From there as a producer she had more power over what type of films she appeared in and what roles she played.

‘Nigeria’s Sharon Stone’ She started acting as an eight-year-old, starring in the popular TV soap Ripples.

Her Nollywood career really took off when she was 19 in Most Wanted, when she played one of four daredevil female armed robbers masquerading as men.

Film director Adim Williams say he takes some credit for “her rise to fame” when he cast her in his 2002 film Sharon Stone – not a biopic of the US actress – in which she played a flirtatious woman.

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“In her rising days she was called Sharon Stone and I wrote and directed the movie, which was a massive hit and became sort of her identity,” he said.

He describes Nnaji as “very intelligent” and said she looked like she “was prepared for stardom” the first time he met her.

He says playing “similar characterisations” helped her in the early days, when she was cast as a “likeable, beautiful, loveable girl”.

Perhaps her upbringing had a hand in shaping some of her on-screen roles.

She grew up in the bustling city of Lagos in a middle-class home – her father an engineer and her mother a teacher.

Actor Richard Mofe Damijo, who has co-starred with her several times, says she is a natural on screen.

“She was and still is one of our queens and she always comes to the party with a winning spirit,” he told the BBC.

In 2011 she was honoured with an award by the Nigerian government for her contributions to the film industry – yet she was not done, wanting to try her hand at directing.

Could Netflix help rise standards? When in 2018 Netflix announced that it was acquiring the rights to Lionheart, her directorial debut, it was seen as a massive boost for Nigeria’s film industry.

Nollywood is a multi-billion dollar enterprise but with short turn-around times, not much attention is paid to technical details and storytelling.

With an average production budget of between $15,000 and $70,000, most films are shot within a month and expected to be profitable.

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Kenneth Gyang, an independent producer based in the northern city of Jos, said Nnaji’s deal with Netflix “has opened up the possibility that money can be sourced from other avenues”.

“Netflix has a quality control that is very high. Now they [producers] know that if it is a very good film they can sell it as an original and make more money,” he told the BBC.

Film critic Oris Aigbokhaevbolo agrees that the Netflix deal showed other filmmakers that good films could be profitable.

When Lionheart was nominated for the Oscars, Nnaji described it as a “pivotal moment in the history of Nigerian cinema”.

However, films in the best international feature film category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track”.

Lionheart, in which Nnaji also stars, is largely in English, with an 11-minute section in Igbo – hence its rejection.

Nnaji hit out at the Academy, tweeting: “We did not choose who colonised us.”

But the rules were clear and the Nigerian selection committee had bungled it.

Yet some feel it may be a watershed moment for more local-language films to be produced.

“Nollywood has proven itself stubborn to change. Perhaps Genevieve and the rest will spearhead it,” says Mr Aigbokhaevbolo.


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Medikal slaps Fella Makafui over cheating issues in new film



Medikal slaps Fella Makafui over cheating issues in new film

Medikal and Fella Makafui have set the internet ablaze once again.

The young actress has established a film production house under her name, Fella Makafui Productions, and her first project is out – a new movie that features her boyfriend.

In the film titled “F.R.I.E.S”, the couple acted as lovers, who at a point were engulfed in cheating issues in their relationship which ended up with the rapper slapping his girlfriend in the movie.

After Fella Makafui featuring a couple of times in Medikal’s songs and music videos, this becomes the first time the young actress has also pulled her boyfriend to her side of her profession.

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Enjoy the trailer to the film below and don’t forget your reviews to the acting skills of the couple are welcomed.

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Lion Heart: Film on Nigerian sex workers disqualified from Oscars



Lion Heart: Film on Nigerian sex workers disqualified from Oscars

The Academy of Motion Pictures has rejected a second entry for next year’s Oscar award for Best International Film.

The Austrian movie, Joy, is about Nigerian sex-workers in Vienna, but the Academy says it has too much dialogue in English.

Last week it turned down Nigeria’s own submission, Lionheart, for the same reason.

The rejections come in the year when the Academy re-named the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar award to Best International Film for “films that are not in the English language”.

News about the film’s disqualification was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter website, which said the Academy found that two-thirds of the dialogue in Joy was in English.

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“As we do every year, the Academy is in the process of reviewing the films submitted for the International Feature Film category to determine whether they meet our eligibility rules. The film Joy, submitted by Austria, was just reviewed and is ineligible because only 33% of the dialogue is non-English,” a statement from the Academy says.

The movie was written and directed by Austrian filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai.

Renowned film director Ava DuVernay has faulted the Academy’s decision




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