By Jonathan Ugbal
Two movies produced by Callywood studios, incorporated to promote that section of the creative industry will be premiered on Sunday in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The movies; ‘The Father,’ a feature film shot in Bette language with English subtitles and ‘I Am Bassey,’ a short film shot in Efik language with English subtitles were directed by Charlz Archibong.
The movies will first premiere in Calabar and in Los Angeles, California on September 23rd as well as Las Vegas on September 24th.
The movies were written by Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade and Callywood Director General, Egor Efiok. Ms. Efiok produced both films.
This will be the first time a Nigerian film will premiere in Las Vegas says Ms. Efiok, who also disclosed that she will represent Mr. Ayade who will be awarded for the second year in a row.
CrossRiverWatch had reported that Mr. Ayade was awarded in Hollywood following his incorporation of Callywood which saw him emerge as cover for the Hollywood Weekly Magazine.
This had followed Ms. Efiok’s signing of an agreement with the Hollywood Weekly Magazine Film Festival (HWMFF) to screen all Callywood films on their platform.
The theme for this year’s event is: “Callywood Goes To Hollywood And Vegas.”
And, Ms Efiok in an e-mail to CrossRiverWatch gave reasons why only two out of the four movies shot so far are being released to the national and international audience.
“The reason we have taken this long to release these films is because myself and Charlz Archibong are perfectionists.
“Callywood Studios have actually shot 4 films, Murder On The Monorail (which is) a short horror film, “Kibeban,” a short Bette film, “I Am Bassey,” a short Efik film and “The Father,” a Bette film.
“Although all 4 films would be available for viewing, we are only premiering our last 2 films; ‘I Am Bassey’ and ‘The Father’ worldwide, as they are our best.
“We are very fussy about things like sound, therefore we do ADR for all our films.
“When I took up this job, I promised myself to shoot Callywood films Hollywood style and use our films to sell tourism, so that even if we shoot in villages, the picture quality, sound and cinematography would always stand out and wow our audience.
“I am confident enough now to enter both films into awards and film festivals like: Berlin Film Festival, Cannes, Toronto, BFI, AMMA, AFRIFF, Abuja, Venice, NAFCA, AMVCA and so on. I will put them in as many film festivals as possible and hopefully, they’d win awards.”
The teaser released for ‘The Father’ featured two aides of Mr. Ayade; Kenn Aklah who is the Special Adviser on events and Mathias Amgbah who is the Senior Special Assistant on web.
Egor said these two were not paid.
“Ha! Paid? They did it for free oh, they are my brothers. How can I afford to pay them? Do you know what my budget was? Apart from our male lead actor Michael Okon, whom I had to fly in from Lagos, the rest of the actors are from Obudu and we shot in Obudu.
‘Don’t forget too that feeding, petrol etc are not cheap and we stayed in Obudu for 3 weeks travelling from the ranch to Obudu main town and back every day in 2 vehicles. God gave us grace and these guys are good people.
“Also, a lot of people do not realise that Hon. Ken Aklah read Theatre Arts and is a natural actor. I intend to cast him in a more serious role in future. Himself and Matthias were actually rushing back to Calabar when I cornered them at the ranch and convinced them to do cameo roles for us”.
Also, she commended Mr. Ayade’s talent as he greatly influenced ‘Kibeban’ script after watching the teaser and though had insisted on actor Khing Bassey (Tinsel) as the priest, that did not work out as Bassey was on set in Lagos which forced her to look for a replacement she will later enjoy working with.
“I found the perfect replacement in Michael Okon (Delilah). In fact, this role was made for Mike. He owned it and carried the film so well, his acting held everyone spellbound on set. I would love to cast himself and Khing Bassey as brothers in another film. Both guys are top dudes,” she said.
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