The dominant film industry of Nigeria is based in the north of the country and their take on any issue, be it AIDS or discrimination against women, is largely contrived and overdramatic, Nigerian film-maker Niji Akanni has said.
He is frustrated with the ‘bad’ representation of women in mainstream ‘Nollywood’ cinema.
Aramotu and Heroes and Zeroes are the two films of his that are part of the ‘Country focus: Nigeria’ segment at the 18 International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) . He told The Hindu on the sidelines of the festival here that both films approached women’s questions from different angles. “They [mainstream cinema in his country] never say anything new and what I try to do is question and interrogate those elements in society that perpetuates discrimination. I try to look at the ‘effectiveness’ of the government machinery and prompt people to consider how we bring up our girls,” he said. “I know so well that in India too there is a very similar scenario where Bollywood movies are known far and wide and the wealth of alternative productions fall short in popularity,” Mr. Akanni, an alumnus of the FTII , Pune, said.
He headed to Kairali Theatre on Friday afternoon, straight from the airport, determined to watch as many films as he can during his short stay here. “I want to learn from such a diverse range of movies and listen to intelligent people talk about films. So far, the organising part has been very good when I compare it with other film festivals,” he said.
The film-maker was a theatre practitioner for over a decade before he found his true love in cinema. He has dabbled in making television serials as well in Yoruba language. He said he forayed into the field just when the mainstream industry was beginning to assert itself. He said he was glad not to be caught up in the pressure.