Kunle Afolayan’s popular film, The Figurine (Araromire) is returning to the limelight five years after making waves, winning five awards including the best film category at the prestigious African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and travelling far and near at Film festival circuits.
The film’s story is now being told in a scholarly book titled Auteuring Nollywood: Critical Perspectives on THE FIGURINE which will be unveiled at a major ceremony on Thursday July 31, 2014 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
According to a press release from Relentless Media, the outfit coordinating the book unveiling and launching in conjunction with Golden Effects Services, the ceremony will witness a rich array of Nollywood stars, allied film professionals, academics, top government functionaries, captains of industry and members of the diplomatic corps.
“Former Minister of National Planning and a respected patriarch of the arts, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, OFR will chair the ceremony that is designed to be one of Nollywood’s greatest moments outside movie location.”
The book, a collection of scholarly essays, is the first of its kind devoted to the work of a single Nigerian film director. It interrogates the thematic focus and cinematic style employed in The Figurine, while also using that singular work to engage the new trends in the new Nigerian cinema popularly referred to as Nollywood.
Edited by Dr. Adeshina Afolayan of the Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan, the book’s Foreword was written by Prof. Jonathan Haynes of the Long Island University, USA and a notably scholar on Nollywood.
Contributors to the 455-page book include Dr. Sola Osofisan, Dr. Dele Layiwola, Dr. Chukwuma Okoye, Jane Thorburn, Matthew H. Brown, Gideon Tanimonure, A.G.A Bello, Foluke Ogunleye and Prof. Hyginus Ekwuazi. An ‘Afterword’ on “Neo-Nollywood and its Other” by the prolific Scholar, Dr. Onookome Okome, is also provided in the book in addition to series of interviews with key actors and technicians that featured in the film.
“This is a novelty”, says Kunle Afolayan, who has since shot two other well-acclaimed films – Phone Swap and October 1 (whose premiere is slated for October 1, 2014 in Lagos). “We have always said we should tell our stories. But I believe it goes beyond mere rhetorics and images on the screen. Releasing one’s movie to scholarly interrogation like this is one of the next levels for our film industry to climb and I’m excited that this is already happening through my film”, he added.
The book has been receiving critical acclaims already. According to Dr. Nduka Otiono, former Secretary General of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and a lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, Carlton University, Ottawa, Canada “this book is seminal in its inauguration of a new chapter in the study of Nigeria’s phenomenal contribution to global film culture … it makes a strong case for a more in-depth artistic and critical approach to the study of Nollywood that triangulates around orality”.
Similarly, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, renowned journalist/film Critic and helmsman of Relentless Media, applauds the arrival of Auteuring Nollywood “at a time that the Nigerian film industry is opening up to the Academy Awards and is also being duly acknowledged as a major contributor to the Nigerian economy”. The book, he added, fulfils two roles - championing a new and positive development in cinematic and literary studies in Nigeria by focusing exclusively on the work of a single cineaste while also expanding the narrative around a film industry that continues to announce its arrival on the global scene in a spectacular way.
To Dr. Akin Adesokan of the Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, the book is “comprehensive and informed about its subject and in unexpected ways gives solidity to the characterization of Nollywood as ‘telling our own stories’”.
The reviewers that will do justice to the intellectual content in the book are Mr. Emeka Mba, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission and Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya, who is the Director of Nollywood Study Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.