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Sierra Leone Entertainment: Kunle Afolayan one of Africa’s Best Filmmakers

If people in high places are seriously thinking of developing the film industry in Sierra Leone through expert mentoring from filmmakers in Nigeria, they should start thinking of the likes of Kunle Afolayan, Biyi Bandele, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen and Emem Isong of the Royal Art Academy otherwise they should seek help from industry professionals in the UK and US. A Close look at the controversy over the impressive career of Kunle Afolayan- Nigerian Actor, Director and Producer- clearly summarizes the character of the man who brought you the figurine and October 1st “On 6 April 2015, Afolayan posted a tweet which implied that Igbos were the majority group behind copyright infringement in Nigeria. The backlash from fans led to an apology from Afolayan and an explanation that he was concerned about the piracy of his films, and most especially threats on the potential release of unlicensed copies of October 1, his latest film at the time. Shortly after his outburst, pirated copies of October 1 hit the market on 13 April 2015. In an interview with Cable magazine, Afolayan was quoted as saying he does not watch Nigerian movies; ″Truth be told, I hardly watch them because I am keen on watching movies that will challenge me and change my orientation about certain things.″ and this led to him receiving several heated responses from fans and some colleagues in the Nigerian movie industry. Days after this News broke, he shared a video on social media where he announced that he had been taken out of context and then tried to set the record straight.” I have seen more than a thousand African films before i got the opportunity to watch October 1. honestly, it’s hard to see which of these films can match the storytelling brilliance of this masterpiece from Kunle Afolayan As you would agree with me, even if 100 films are produced in Sierra Leone by African filmmakers living beyond our shores, a good number of our home-grown filmmakers will continue to make films that suck. What the Sierra Leone film industry desperately needs now is the service of highly-rated professional filmmakers who can double as expert tutors to provide in depth training for our long list of untrained directors and screenwriters. Scriptnet, a British charity (with support from the British council in Freetown), provided skill-sharing opportunity for local filmmakers in 2004 -2006. The result was hugely beneficial to a handful of first-time directors in Sierra Leone, myself included. American documentary filmmaker, Banker White of WeOwn tv fame, also introduced a documentary film fellowship in 2016, with grant support and an effective mentoring scheme from which budding filmmakers from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana have benefitted immensely. This trend should continue rather than embark on a hasty move to produce scores of films in Sierra Leone that carry the artistic merits of foreign filmmakers. One should not get carried away by every name that is being trumpeted as a personality from the pinnacle of African cinema, Kunle (or anyone in his class) is a real deal. Get Kunle Afolayan or experts from the UK or US to do a professional job and very soon the men and women of our fledgling film industry will be treading on a path that leads to success.

Friday May 3, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

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