L-R: Michael Kueppers-Adebisi, President AFROTAK TV, Cyber-Nomads, Adetoun Kueppers-Adebisi, music teacher and actor, Dr. David Aina and Veteran actor and filmmaker, Tony Akposhere during the Black Speculative Arts Movement, BSAM seminar/workshop held in Lagos
By Odinaka Uruakpa
Veteran Nollywood actor, director and filmmaker, Tony Akposhere has tasked filmmakers in Nigeria to value Nigerian tradition and culture by propagating, as well as promoting the country’s culture in the films they shoot.
Akposhere gave this charge during the seminar/workshop of Black Speculative Arts Movement, BSAM: Afrofuturism 2.0 Lagos, Nigeria, tagged “Afrofuturism 2.0 : Developing, propagating and promoting black content to the world” held recently in Lagos.
According to Akposhere Black Speculative Arts Movement is a movement that is geared towards improving, as well as promoting the Nigerian film content throughout the world.
Said he: “BSAM is all about promoting content; how we will move our content; how the world can know about African and Nigerian culture especially.
“We are so rich in culture and tradition, but how well do we value this. If we really value it, we will not immitate the white man. If we value our culture, we will not do English things more than the English people. If we value our culture, we will excel in it. We wont continue to do only English films”, he said.
The actor said Nigeria is so rich in culture that even the white man wants to see the culture displayed in the Nigerian films they watch, rather than seeing them (Nigerians) imitating the white man’s culture.
“Today, we remain hooked to Zee World. people watch Zee World because they like India culture. Even though they subtitle in English or they lip-sing in English, they did not leave their culture. So, why should Nigerians? Why should Africans? I think I love the movement. When they tagged it movement it’s like a revolution, and if this revolution, if this movement is really going to save us, I would welcome it.
“We produce films, a lot of people’s films are lying in the house. We have only African Magic that will throw you here, throw you there; telling you I don’t like this, I don’t like that. You spend a lot of money to produce film, how do you get the money? You meet a sponsor, an executive producer today, the first thing he asks you is ‘how do I get my money back?’ This movement is all about addressing these”.
He further advised artists, producers especially, to ensure that they portray their culture, even when they are speaking English in their movie.
Said Akposhere: “You can speak English because English will make the work go worldwide. If the culture is so rich, if you are showcasing Urhobo culture, Yoruba culture speaking English, they will still call it Urhobo film or Yoruba film; forget the language. Most of the films you watch today, most of them are Latin, German, and so on, but they lip-sink them. What matters is for us to better our culture; let’s not run away from our culture.
“Let’s do things that will enrich our culture, let’s value our culture so that the whole world will continue coming to Nigeria to see this culture; the way they tie their wrapper, their clothes, the kind of food they eat. Some would even be interested in speaking the language”.
He advised that after learning the theoretical aspects of filmmaking in college, intending practitioners should go to television colleges and other institutions relevant to the profession to learn the practical aspect of filmmaking .
“After going to college to learn the theoretical part, one needs to enhance their knowledge by going to TV college, workshops, shootings, etc for practical learning. You must enhance it, you must better your best which of course, you grabbed from college.
He called on the federal government to provide an enabling environment for indigenous, as well as foreign filmmakers to film their works in the country.
“I know we have a problem in the country in the sense that there is no enabling environment. We need enabling environment to do things very well in Nigeria. The situation where you carry a camera, you are shooting and you just see an area boy surface from somewhere asking for settlement; that’s not an enabling environment. All these can be curbed; it can be controlled.
“White people don’t shoot a lot of films here in Nigeria because there is no enabling environment. The way they search them and demand bribe from them at the airport make them stay away from our country. Go to Uganda, Kenya; the white people are shooting S lot of films there”, he said.
Also speaking on the occasion, music teacher and actor, Dr. David Aina expressed delight at the BSAM in Nigeria and urged artist to utilize the outcome of the project.
While advising the organizers to publish a compendium on the workshop, Aina called on government to stop paying lip service to the arts, but to fund the arts, and make things easier for the practitioners.
He also tasked the artists to find ways of doing things to raise the bar, by taking time to plan their work well, and produce good movies.