Saturday, January 13, 2018

New "Queen Amina" Epic Will Break New Grounds for Nollywood

A new Nigerian epic movie, “Amina” is currently the most ambitious film project in Nigeria since the emergence of Nollywood. A historical film on the legendary Queen Amina of Zazzau in northern Nigeria, directed by the award winning filmmaker, Izu Ojuwku whose last film “'76" was a historical drama about the bloody coup d'etat of February 13, 1976 in Africa's most populous country. "Amina" will certainly break new grounds for Nigerian filmmakers in the global film industry.

This is not the first film on Queen Amina, but this is the best so far.
There have been previous movies which some have uploaded on YouTube since 2014. You can also see Amina- The warrior queen or Zaria and Queen Amina Films Production/Jallawa Films Production.

The brain behind this epic is Okey Ogunjiofor, "Paulo” of the first Nollywood blockbuster movie, "Living in Bondage" made in 1992.
Emily Witt, the author of the new book, Nollywood: The Making of a Film Empire went to Jos, the location of the film production to meet with the cast and crew.

The following is excerpted from her book.
When Ogunjiofor went to examine the historic record for the biography of  Queen Amina of Zazzau, he found her reputation to be corrupted. Ogunjiofor wanted to make a movie about female empowerment and dedicate it to the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from the northern Nigerian village of Chibok in 2014. He wanted to install Queen Amina in the pantheon of mythic female Africans, allow her to assume her rightful place alongside the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia, Cleopatra and Nefertiti of Egypt, and Queen Nzinga of Angola. He also wanted to make a movie that broke down the division between Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and its Christian south. The cultural division is reflected in Nollywood too, with movies made in its Hausa-language northern epicenter, Kano, rarely finding audiences in the south and east of the country, and vice versa.

"It's a hit movie," said Ogunjiofor. "We don't intend to spare costs. We don't intend to spare quality." The color grading will be done in England. "We need to prove a point," he said.
"We will stand toe to toe with any movie that's been done in Africa."

Millicent Jack, whom Ogunjiofor described as "the first costume designer in the country." A former student of theater arts, she found her way into the industry in 1993. She has since done costumes for more than 100 Nollywood movies. On a tablet computer, she showed me archival images she had used in researching the 15th-century Hausa costumes in  Queen Amina—the babariga worn by the emirs, the ya-chiki (shirt), the  wondo (trousers), and the alkeba, a cloak. Crossed ropes held the tunics of the warriors in place.

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