"Last Flight to Abuja" director Obi Emelonye announces his plan to shoot an Igbo-language movie, joining the effort to resurrect the most significant genre of Nollywood’s history.
“I have been postponing it for a while now,” Emelonye wrote on his Facebook page, “but it is keeping me awake too many nights. My people need me. So here you have it!”
The “it” in question is an Igbo-language film, which will be produced under his Nollywood Factory imprint.
“The Nollywood Factory would be shooting a ‘new age Igbo film’ set in London imminently,” Emelonye continued.
Auditions will kick off mid-November in Woolwich, a district in southeast London. More details are forthcoming.
“Prepare to shine on the big screen and be shot into showbiz stratosphere,” urged Emelonye.
And the only condition? “You should be ready to speak Igbo, whatever your colour or ethnicity,” he demands.
Igbo-language films are making a comeback, which can be considered a response to the dwindled number of such productions. Ironically, it was an Igbo-language movie, Living in Bondage (1992), that established Nollywood. However, within the next two decades, English—starting with 1994′s Glamour Girls—has become the common language of Nigerian movies, with Igbo taking a serious hit.
According to data culled from the Nigerian Film and Videos Census Board (NFVCB) and reported by Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) managing director Roberts Orya, 44% of Nigerian movies produced in 2010 were in English, followed by 31% in Yoruba and 24% in Hausa. Igbo comprised a woeful 1%.
Due to increasing demand, though, that low percentage might get a boost from certain filmmakers. They include Vining Ogu with the upcoming movie "Akuoma" ("Good Wealth") — and now, Obi Emelonye.