Meet Elizabeth Benson-Amaye aka Liz Benson
FANS who had ceaselessly complained about her long absence from the acting turf, had a good feel of her when she returned to the screen as the lead in ‘Dry,’ the 2014 movie by Stephanie Okereke. Before Dry, she had played the lead in ‘Bridge Stone,’ the Rosemary Ingbi’s 2005 movie about love, denial and deceit; in the three-part 2006 political thriller ‘Political Control;’ and in the 2007 Yoruba language movie ‘Toko Taya.’
Elizabeth Benson-Amaye aka Liz Benson, married to an evangelist, Bishop Great Amaye, lived her role in ‘Dry’ with great aplomb and proved as always that she could be relied upon to live roles at ease whether on stage, television, home video or even on radio.
Reputed to be one of Nigeria’s finest actresses, who is also greatly sought after, acting which started as a childhood past time for the second child in a family of four, has resulted almost effortlessly in stardom. Back during her early school days, particularly at Lady Lak School in Yaba area of Lagos, Liz, an Ibibio native from Etinang Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, would gather kids and together they would put drama sketches or singing sessions up, before a gathering. Little did the widowed mother of three, who was born under the zodiac sign Aries, know that she would ride on the back of such early performances to become a popular screen star.
Even with those early exploits, especially at Edgerley College in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Liz’s parents wished for her to pick up a degree in Criminal Law. But their desire petered out when the humble, charming and amiable actress of innumerable stage and screen credits, traveled out to the United States. It was while there that she bagged a degree in Dramatic Arts from the Havana State University in Georgia.
On her return to Nigeria, Liz, who prefers traditional to western dishes, was engaged by the producer-director Lola Fani Kayode to feature in a number of television and radio commercials. Not too long after, the theatre director Chuck Mike found a worthy actress in Liz. She got a lead in the Collective Artistes’ presentation of Femi Osofisan’s ‘Who is Afraid of Solarin’ and was later to become a regular feature in most theatrical presentations staged at the National Theatre and such other venues where plays were staged.
From the stage, Liz found time to do some acting on television. She was inspired to join her colleagues on that turf after watching a few episodes of Lola Fani Kayode’s ‘Mind Bending’. However, her first real feel of acting on television, even though she featured in a number of short skits that ran on national television then, was as a supporting actress in the long-rested television detective series ‘Third Eye’.
But the big act that brought her acting prowess to the fore was when she interpreted delightfully the role of Mrs. Agnes Johnson, the braggart who rides rough on her employees, business associates, clients and just about anyone that crosses her path. That was in ‘Fortunes,’ a soap opera with the signature of the self-styled movie Sheik, Zeb Ejiro, which ran for about two years on the network service of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
From Television, Liz joined her colleagues who had embraced acting on home video. It didn’t take long before she made the headlines there. By the time the rating cards were released, Liz had ranked as one of the highest paid actresses and unarguably one of the most featured actresses on the home video scene.
She had a cameo in the home movie ‘Circle of Doom’. Her role as Jane in ‘Glamour Girls’ brought out her creative prowess. But it was her three-some role — an unmarried lady, a newly wedded and an aged mother — in Kenneth Nnebue’s ‘True Confession’ that crowned her as the queen of the turf and a character actress. She has since that performance, ran along and proved beyond reasonable doubt that she has the ability to deliver. Her most recent filmography include ‘Children of the Mud’ (2017), ‘Lizard Life’ (2017), ‘Hilarious Hillary’ (2015), ‘Dearest Mummy’ (2015).
Producer/Director: Zeb Ejiro
Running time: 1hr 30 minutes
Starring: Kate Henshaw-Nuttall, Robert Peters, Benjamin Joseph, Bruno Iwouha, Tony Aleg, Gogo Ombo Gogo and others.
A MINISTER of an unidentified republic was reportedly assassinated and the police are after the assassin. They come close to tracking down the prime suspect but an unknown person shoots him in the process and he dies instantly. But later on, in the flick, a bearded fellow walks off shot after laughing heartily suggesting that he may be behind the whole crime. The movie ends suggesting too that there would be a sequel to this political drama from the stable of Zeb Ejiro and Movie Land Productions. This gorgeously looking Nigerian retelling is a joy to watch. The pure joy in this movie is in the lead characters – Kate Henshaw (Rocky), Robert Peters (Meche) and Joseph Benjamin(Dotun) who showed that they were not a bad pick for their individual roles. It also has a fair share of remarkable assets and a staying power that is likely to place the audience in a mood of heightened expectations. But it is marred by a number of improbable scenarios and poor lighting too.
FILMDOM NOTICE BOARD
New Rector for premier Film Institute
A NEW rector has been appointed for the nation’s premier film academic institution, the National Film Institute (NFI), Jos. He is Professor Jeremiah Samuel Methuselah who until his appointment, effective September 1, 2020, was at the department of English & Drama, Kaduna State University. Methuselah’s scholarly and administrative experiences garnered over the years, including being Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts; Coordinator, Departmental Post-Graduate; Acting Head of Department, Editor-in-Chief, Voices: A Journal of English Studies, as well as his membership of several senate, faculty and departmental committees at the university, isexpected to be brought to bear as the new rector of NFI.
Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Film Corporation, who also is the Chairman, Governing Council of the film institute, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe expressed optimism on the envisaged performance of the new Rector who has been charged to deploy his wealth of experience to his new post, especially as his appointment comes at a time when management of the NFC is working assiduously to get the NFI morphed into becoming Africa’s first Film University. The National Film Institute operates as an arm of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC). It offers Master of Arts Degree in Film Culture & Archival Studies, Bachelor’s Degree in Film Arts, Diploma in Film Production, as well as Certificate in Specialised Entrepreneurial Film Production.
Tokyo Filmfest to hold physical and online edition in October
BARRING any last-minute change, the 33rd edition of Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) would hold from October 31 through November 9, 2020 — in both real and virtual forms. Organisers say that rather than postpone or shrink or even cancel the edition as most international film festivals around the world have done, TIFF would go ahead with plans to host physical screenings in Tokyo theaters, as well as stage symposia and international guests talks online. The organisers explained in a statement that by staying physical, TIFF would enable audiences re-experience the joy of watching films on the big screen. This, they believe, will light a beacon of hope for the future of film and strengthen international solidarity in the global film industry, while also reexamining understanding of the visual culture after COVID-19. However, the organisers hinted that if the condition of holding the 33rd TIFF cannot be met as the pandemic situation continues to transition in the future, they will pursue other options, including postponement or cancelation.
Filmdom FACT FILE
TORI Ade is the 12th major film to have been produced by the acclaimed prolific filmmaker and one-time chairman of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Chief Eddie Ugbomah. Other films by the veteran filmmaker include Dr. Oyenusi, The Boy is Good, The Mask, Oil Doom, Bolus 80, Death of a Black President, Esan Oke, Omiran and the Great Attempt.
-excerpted from the book Eddie Ugbomah by Chief Eddie Ugbomah
CHIEF Kenneth Nnebue who funded the phenomenal home video production ‘Living in Bondage’ did not pioneer home movie production in Nigeria as it is being alleged. There were over 30 Yoruba home videos that were upped for public viewing before ‘Living in Bondage’. What NEK, as Chief Nnebue is freely called, contributed is to spur big budget home movie production when he invested in the production of that all time box office hit.
–Muyideen Aromire from an interview published in The Guardian of Saturday January 22, 2002. The late Alade Aromire is a pioneer of the home video industry in Nigeria
Star Fad & Hobbies
The Actress Foluke Salako
‘I LIKE to be myself. If I feel like eating buka, I would eat buka. If I feel like eating fast food, I would eat fast food. I am someone that when it comes to fashion, I don’t wear loud clothes. I like designers but I am not a designer freak. I like things that suit me. I like bright colours like pink and I wear dull colours especially black for my trousers. In terms of footwear, I wear low slippers. I have some, which are high, but I feel comfortable when I wear those that are low. But sometimes I wear the high ones because of the consciousness that I am too short.
The Actress Bukky Wright
WHEN I am off set, I engage in some buying and selling. It’s the only time I have too, to spend quality time with my children, all boys. They are my beautiful boyfriends and future men friends. Outside that I spend time writing and listening to good music. I like music a lot. Any kind that is pleasing to the eardrum. I particularly like Fuji music. Like the brand that has been made popular by, KI (King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal) The Ultimate.’
MILESTONES AND ROUGH CUTS
#FIXED-The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), organisers of the annual Zuma International Film Festival, has announced that the 2020 edition of the festival will take place December 1 to 7 in Abuja under the theme – ‘Content Connectivity- 2: Everyview, Everywhere’. Submission of entries, which opened September 1st and will close on November 15th 2020, can be submitted via the filmfreeway platform or at the Zuma Festival Secretariat in Jos, Plateau State as well as in all the NFC zonal offices in Lagos, Asaba, Umuahia, Yola, Kano and Abuja. More details at www.zumafilmfest.gov.ng
#AWARDED– Nigerian filmmaker Ike Nnaebue is the reason Nigeria featured prominently on the list of the 2020 Berlinale World Cinema Fund (WCF) grantees. Nnaebue’s documentary project No U-Turn, a co-production between his Passion 8 Communications, Steps from South Africa and Don Edkins from France, fetched the WCF, sponsored by the Federal Foundation for Culture and in cooperation with the Goethe Institut, the Foreign Ministry and German producers. A statement from the WCF secretariat indicates that the WCF jury made its selection from among 153 submitted projects out of a total of 50 countries. Only 14 projects from 14 countries made the list and Nnaebue is flying Nigeria’s flag on the shortlist. The other film projects will come from filmmakers from prominent film societies such as Argentina, Burkina Faso, Columbia, Egypt, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Senegal, Turkey and Venezuela. Nnaebue, a writer, director and producer, was born and raised in Ojoto in Idemili local government area of Anambra State.
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