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In Conversation: Ego Boyo and Akin Omotoso

You could call her Nollywood’s Sade Adu, who in well over two decades released only 6 studio albums as lead singer of the band Sade. Ego Boyo née Nnamani shot into national prominence as Ann Haastrup in late Amaka Igwe’s memorable TV Series, Checkmate, which ran between 1991 and 1995.  Boyo has only produced 6 movies since she set out as a movie producer with 1995’s Violated, directed by Igwe, where she also played a lead role.

Boyo teams up with Akin Omotoso (Man on Ground, Tell Me Sweet Something), a 2-time winner of the AMVCA Best Director laurel in her new project, A Hotel Called Memory, the story of a woman, who is contending with a number of situations whilst going through a divorce.

During a special programme at the 2016 Lights, Camera, Africa! tagged: In Conversation with Akin Omotoso and Ego Boyo, the duo gave sketchy details of the yet-to-be-released movie.  Owing to their antecedents as leading lights who cling to acceptable levels of professionalism in their work, Boyo (producer) and Omotoso (director) are poised to jolt the film world with this narrative shot on location in Lagos, Zanzibar and Cape Town.

The film, which is completely without dialogue, stars Nse Ikpe Etim as the woman negotiating her life as she splits from her husband.  On what informs the movies she produces, Boyo states, “Feeling the script as well as the final cut in my guts is vital.  In future, I want to produce more instructive movies.”

For a film that relies solely on visuals, a question was raised on how much music they employed in telling the story.  In his response through Skype, Omotoso, a Nigerian film-maker based in South Africa, who is also credited with directing God is African and Wole Soyinka: Child of the Forest said, “We found a balance on how much music to use in the film, knowing that over-reliance on music is bad since the film is not a music video.

“The ambience sound of the beach plus the natural sounds of Lagos and the other two cities are well integrated because in the end, all we need is music that guides the audience in appreciating the movie.”

A Hotel Called Memory will hopefully reinforce the belief that “if the volume of a film is turned off and audiences do not follow the story, then the producers failed.”  After all, the heads of the filmmaking team are Akin Omotoso and Ego Boyo, the woman who brought us Keeping Faith (2001), having produced Forever (1997) and To Live Again (1998) for Amaka Igwe’s Moving Movies Production.

It may be recalled that Boyo’s Temple Productions are yet to release 30 Days, the 2006 Mildred Okwo film, where women, headed by Chinora (Genevieve Nnaji), lead a bloody revolution. Besides an ostentatious premiere several years ago, nothing has been heard of that film.

by Amara Iwuala

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