Motion Pictures with Chidumga: A great film isn’t defined by awards, box office success, festival screenings
Winning an award, screening at film festivals, breaking box office records doesn't make a movie 'great.'
While the definition of a good movie can be subjective, there are certain factors that should never define a great movie, but, Nigerian filmmakers are yet to understand that.
Most Nigerian filmmakers obviously obtain their fulfilment from winning awards, breaking box office records and screening at film festivals. While the above mentioned are great sources of validation, they do not define a great film.
Horrible movies have won awards, received nominations, screened at festivals, broken records, all in 2017.
Over the years, respected filmmakers have said several risible things in the course of defending their movie or talent. In 2015, Kunle Afolayan replied a negative criticism of his work, saying, "You said I don’t get my sound right? And October 1 got nominations in several award events and won at AMVCA."
In 2016, Omoni Oboli responded to a negative review of her work saying, "#BeingMrsElliott was opening film in different film festivals and is still getting great reviews! #TheFirstLady was audience choice award at the last Nollywood Week Festival in Paris. #WivesOnStrike, don’t even get me started on that one! Awards and recognition galore! "
At the 2016 Africa International Film Festival, AY Makun and Opa Williams attributed the box office success of "A Trip to Jamaica" to a great screenplay. Their statement has been one of the most ludicrous of the year.
The above mentioned are probably not the only ones who are immersed in the school of thought that the box-office success or popularity of a movie indicates that something was done right.
Filmmaking is business and Nollywood is fast learning various marketing skills to help haul in the money, but that is no indication of any greatness. "A Trip to Jamaica" which is one of the most inane movies of the year is currently the highest grossing movie of the year – how much is that for greatness.
"A Trip to Jamaica" which is a narratively incoherent production, secured at least five 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards nominations, including the best writer.
Average films screen at prestigious film festivals. Some films that screen at film festivals get negative reviews. It’s great that your movie gets to be showcased at a festival, but that doesn’t always make it ‘great.’ Some Nigerian filmmakers, just like some actors, are used to their pompous and overblown hype which they have fed the media and audience with.
"To all naysayers, put your money where your mouth is: produce your own film so you can show us how to do better! " Oboli also said in her defense post. Apparently, Nigerian filmmakers are of the opinion that you should have a movie to your name before possessing the right to critic their works. I bet Justin Kurzel, Michael Fassbender and the rest have all put up Instagram posts reacting to negative reviews of "Assassin’s Creed."
It’s so easy as a filmmaker to go on a venting rampage, rebutting a reviewer’s negative thoughts of their movies. Thanks to social media, there is a platform for everyone. Anyone can say anything they feel about a movie, worse is, they could tag you and make you read it.
An award or title doesn’t define one. It doesn’t make you more or less talented than fellow actors. We have the perfect case study; Leonardo DiCaprio. After six Oscar nominations and numerous times that he should have earned a nomination, DiCaprio won his first Oscar award this year for "The Revenant," which you and I would agree isn’t his best performance ever. We all know he has deserved this award for a long time, but his numerous misses didn’t make any less of a great actor.
For the Four times, DiCaprio left the Dolby Theatre empty handed, he never went Kanye West, Olamide-Don Jazzy, or throw subtle shades, he found that next big role and continued to challenge himself.
The definition of a great film is subjective. It is everything except ‘I have won awards, screened at festivals and broken box office records.’