Popular Nigerian filmmaker, Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe, is still reeling with excitement from his recent African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) feat. His Boko Haram themed movie, ‘The Delivery Boy’ bagged 12 nominations across the directing, acting and production categories. It is the first time a Nigerian film and filmmaker would bag the most nominations at the awards.
But the talented director, who said he is optimistic about his win, said: “It’s a wakeup call for Nollywood.”
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos on Saturday, Nodash said his knack for telling original and homegrown Nigerian stories pushed him to shoot ‘Delivery Boy’ multiple times in 2015 and 2016 to tie all loose ends.
Not your typical Nollywood movie, ‘Delivery Boy’ poignantly situates its theme on the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in a riveting manner.
The movie follows the story of Amir, a young orphan raised by an extremist group, who runs away on the eve of a suicide mission, taking his bomb vest with him. He has a mission of his own.
On his way, he runs into Nkem, a young prostitute escaping a lynch mob for a crime committed while trying to get money to save her dying brother. Before the night is over, they traverse the underbelly of the Nigerian metropolis as they search for their identities, their stolen pasts, money, and any semblance of peace they can find.
Their journey takes them through the underbelly of the city, exposing the hidden backside of African society and its dangerous culture of silence in the presence of evil.
Delivery Boy stars Jemima Osunde, Charles Etubiebi Oke, Kehinde Fasuyi, Jude Chukwuka and Jamal Ibrahim.
While Nollywood stakeholders are excited about the prospects of a Nigerian film winning the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category at the 2020 Oscars, Nodash said above everything else, quality must never be compromised.
Adekunle Nodash Adejuyigbe said, “We actually need to produce more films that represent the current happenings in the country. We really don’t need to sugarcoat things because we all can see the happenings around us. We must also go the extra mile to ensure that we produce films that can compete with the international standard.”
“I was told not to make this movie and I knew it was because of the movie’s sensitive plot. It touched on relevant social issues like terrorism, sexual abuse, prostitution, and same-sex relationship. But we all know that in the 21st century these issues are all worthy of note and it’s not surprising that I was discouraged from making the movie.”
Speaking further, Nodash who helped other directors tell their stories as a cinematographer for over a decade, also narrated how three actors he initially cast as well as the production designer he hired, turned down the project after reading the script.
But those were not the only hurdles he had to face.
Some of his colleagues and friends also felt it was more prudent to make the usual slapstick comedies the Nigerian film industry was known for.
“Their decision further pushed me to ensure that the film sees the light of day. In fact, people felt I was crazy for making a self-funded movie that would likely not be allowed to screen in Nigerian cinemas. I had to remind them about the features of films that dominate and eventually win the Oscar ‘Best International Feature Film’ category.
“These films are heavy on culture, have predominantly non-English dialogue track above all, they are 100 per cent original stories. I don’t want to tell or shoot movies just for the sake of it. No filmmaker who knows his onions should do that. I want my works to outlive me and this should be our mindset going forward,” the multiple award-winning filmmaker noted.
Although he has worked on some of Nollywood’s favourites like ‘Fifty’, ‘The Bridge’, ‘The Tribunal’, ‘Mokalik’, ‘Isoken’ and ‘Bling Lagosians’, Nodash said he has his eyes on the big picture.
“For now, I’m all about putting Nigeria and indeed, Nollywood on the world map,” he noted.
‘Delivery Boy’ has been critically acclaimed and has screened around the world in various festivals including the 25th New York African Film Festival, Lights, Camera, Action Film Festival, Nollywood Week Paris, and Real-Time International Film Festival.