July 2, 2018 9:00 pm

Movie director brings Nollywood production to Calgary

WATCH: A Nigerian-born movie director says her latest project will be the first Nollywood film that is shot in Calgary and then released in African theatres. Joel Senick explains what she hopes the project accomplishes.

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Calgary is an untapped resource for a largest entertainment industry that many in Alberta are unaware of, according to a movie director who is in the midst of shooting her most recent project.

“Nollywood is big,” Adejumoke Olatunde, a Nigerian-born movie director who moved to Calgary in 2014, explained while taking a break on the set of her movie.

“It’s huge and there’s so much potential.”

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Nollywood is the term coined for the Nigerian film industry. It’s a multi-billion dollar business that is recognized as the second largest film industry in the world.

Olatunde was part of a crew shooting a movie called ‘Made in Heaven’ Monday at a home in northwest Calgary on Monday. She said it’s the first Nollywood movie produced in the city that will be distributed to theaters in Africa and potentially beyond.

“Nollywood has survived because it tells our story our way. We’re not always quiet and nice, we’re really in your face. We shout, we’re very dramatic people,” Olatunde said.

“Hollywood is nice, we watch Hollywood, but when we want to tell our stories, we tell it differently.”

‘Made in Heaven’ features two better known Nollywood actors that Olatunde was able to secure for the film. On Monday, Bobby Obodo, one of the lead actors, was performing a scene where his character wakes up from a nightmare.

“Nollywood, it’s partly an answer to the economic crisis in Nigeria, people wanted to find others avenues to make money,” Obodo, whose been acting in the industry for roughly six years, said Monday.

“That desire turned into an interest and love for movie making.”

Olatunde previously directed a movie in Nigeria called ‘Diary of a Lagos Girl’ that was released in 2016. She said it appeared in a number of cinemas in Africa and she hopes to build on that success with her Calgary-based film.

“I am hoping to get people here to pay attention to Nollywood,” Olatunde said.

“You can’t grow big if you don’t take risks.”

‘Made in Heaven’ is a self-funded project that will take roughly three weeks to shoot. Olatunde hopes it will be in theatres before the end of 2018.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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