Opinion/Feature | 14 April 2013 14:06 CET

Film…. Asaba: The shame of Nollywood [ A MUST READ]


The first time I shot a movie in Asaba, Delta State was for my ministry Christ Embassy. I was surrounded by a group of Christian, very disciplined young men and women who had no moral issues nor were they inclined in any way to abuse the liberty and the testosterone/ oestrogen-filled headiness that normally seems to accompany filmmakers like a sex-crazed mob of female groupies will accompany dirty rockers everywhere.

In that first trip, I fell in love with the ancient but quietly emergent city that was on the verge of rediscovering itself. That love was so strong that I considered relocating my family there.

Don't blame me; I am normally a victim of sudden emotional impulses that always seem to get me into trouble. Thank God my wife quashed the idea. The second time, I went to shoot one of my movies.

I'd heard of good locations, cheap priced hotels and hardworking, professional crews, not like the indolent fat cats we have in Lagos. I wanted to take advantage of all that. What someone did not tell me, however, was that Asaba had also become home to semi-prostitutes, parading themselves as artistes and an accompanying band of very young pimps who ran production shifts and sold sex for pennies to immoral libidinous directors and producers. What I didn't discover then was the whole truth.

So, last week, the idea of Asaba came up again and I put up a blog post that has elicited some very serious reactions. Suffice it to say that everybody seems to think that my going to Asaba to work is a very bad idea, major reason being that there is a massive stench of corruption coming from this pristine town.

That oozing fermentation seems to be coming out of Nollywood. Before now I'd heard stories of directors and producers who would demand that female artistes buy them laptops and iPads before giving them roles.

What is bad in that you may ask, well nothing really but those female actors are also required to sleep with them for as long as the production lasted and finally, they are also required to pay certain amounts of money to get roles. Sums as huge as N20,000 nay, even N50,000. Now did I say finally? Forgive me because the list goes on.

If these unfortunate female artistes are to be accommodated in the production camps, they are also required to pay as much as N10,000. Now, I know that dirty linen is not supposed to be washed in public especially in Nollywood and some of my colleagues will nearly send Boko Haram insurgents to assassinate me for what I am revealing since we keep denying the sexual harassment going on in Nollywood.

But I have found out that if we do not wash our linen in public, sometimes the stench will kill us in private and Reginald Ebere has never been known not to speak his mind. I have names and I can mention them with hard facts but I refrain from pushing the walls down because I believe broken walls can be mended.

What is going on in Asaba is sordid; which is the reason why half baked, illiterate, uncouth, insulting and sometimes utterly stupid productions are coming out from that enclave of sin and depravity.

It is time for the heads of our different guilds to go in there and clean the place out instead of sitting back in Lagos fighting over who will be part of the next dinner with 'Oga at the top' and issuing communiqués about how to share the N3bn largesse from President Jonathan.

If we do not act quick enough we will soon find that we all will be drowned in this morass of moral decadence.

It is what somebody has that he gives. If we build an industry that is peopled by thieves, pimps and whores, we will continue to produce movies that will corrupt our children and our society. I will shut my mouth for now.

Mr. Ebere is a veteran Nollywood filmmaker and scriptwriter.

© 2013 Nollywoodgists.com

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