Journalism in the service of society

Meet Joseph Benjamin… now an ‘abroadian?’

ACTOR OF THE WEEK

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Meet Joseph Benjamin… now an ‘abroadian?’ 6

IT was his effort in Mahmood Ali-Balogun’s big budget feature ‘Tango with Me’ that announced the Kogi State-born actor, singer, model, voice over artiste, show host and IT specialist Joseph Benjamin. He rode on the back of that effort to earn a couple of lead roles and awards including a laurel for best actor at an earlier edition of the ZAFAA. From there it was all lead roles (Jungle Ride, Kiss and Tell and Mr. and Mrs) for Joseph who became the producer’s first choice for a leading actor. In no time, the suave, debonair and trendy Joseph started to dine and wine with the acclaimed leading names in the industry. Producers beat a footpath to engage the dapper actor who is star of hit flicks such as ‘Addiction’, ‘Torn’, ‘The Love Bet’, ‘Last Call’ and ‘Special’.

But Joseph is presently missing in action.

The well-built actor and star of ‘Claws’, ‘Isoken’ and ‘Boxing Day’, is not as regular in Nollywood as he used to be. At least Joseph has not featured in a core Nollywood movie in the last five years. Sources say that the star of ‘Rebecca’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Iyore’ has relocated to the United States to further his career as an actor and as a singer. A source hinted that he recently released a single from his forthcoming debut album and that he is planning to release the complete album soon. However, his fans want him back on screen soon.

Born in the 70’s to a Kogi indigene father and an Anambra mother, Joseph holds a diploma in Computer Literacy and a degree in Mass Communication. He had his debut movie appearance in 1995 in the movie ‘Cross Roads’ and he has since then showed that only the summit is good enough for him.

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REVIEW

Title- Ito Funfun 

Producer- Saheed Ola-Azeez

Director- Waheed Ijajuade

Actors- Saheed Balogun, Rachael Oniga, Opeyemi Aiyeola, Toyin Adegbola, Babs Omidina, Waheed Ijaduede, Sunkanmi Omobolanle and others

MAMA Leke (Racheal Oniga) feels strongly that her son Leke (Saheed Balogun) should divorce his wife Labake (Opeyemi Aiyeola) for reasons she did not explain beyond the claim that she was a prostitute. She later plans and executes a scheme; a ploy to confirm her assertions. It worked because it was difficult for Labake to convince her husband and in-laws that she was not the image cuddling a fellow in the photographs that was mailed to Leke, though a handiwork of Leke’s mum.

Some years later, Mama Leke is struck by an unknown ailment. A priest of Ifa says she has wronged someone whom she later confessed was Labake. The story is that they once had a brawl over Labake’s fiancé whom she was dating. The brawl led to her losing her right eye. To regain her health, the priest says she must ask Labake for forgiveness. She does, Leke did too and the postscript would be that they all live happily ever after.

This is good. It represents a richly filmed human Yoruba drama. Though it got repetitive and flabby in its final moment and didn’t allow for enough timeline in between scenes, it told the story that must be told competently and without much restraint. We applaud the use of comic breaks but like the flashbacks it got too overdrawn. We didn’t find the need for those Baba Suwe’s breaks. He is sounding more now like a record on a repeat mode. That Latin character (not sure of his real names now) would just have been allowed to provide the breaks. He came through naturally and didn’t force us at all to laugh.

Ito Funfun is a good story. It’s certainly without its difficulties like sync; continuity and photographic gaps but the directorial and acting effort would make those drawbacks easily ignoble. In terms of characterisation, the best element of the film is without a doubt Opeyemi Aiyeola and Saheed Balogun. They both pulled off their act very well and got us buying into their plights. That actress, Opeyemi seems to have quietly become the new acting song in the Yoruba movie circuit. She steams as someone who would with time give the folks in the English divide a good run for their finances.

*******

Filmdom Notice Board                        

Obi Emelonye and Hilda Dokubo shine at Africa Mobile Film Festival

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Meet Joseph Benjamin… now an ‘abroadian?’ 7

NOTABLE actress Hilda Dokubo and director Obi Emelonye served on the jury of an international festival, which closed on March 25 in Tunisia. They served on the jury alongside the Cameroonian musician Blick Bassy, Rwandan director Joel Karekezi and Tunisian director Ismahane Lahmar. The first Pan African edition of the annual Mobile Film Festival was unveiled at a special ceremony in Tunis, where a special production grant for a total amount of 18,500 Euro was set up. At the ceremony, Marcel Moussa Diouf from Senegal emerged winner of the Grand Prize Africa with his mobile film effort titled ‘Je Suis Liberte (I am free), while Lorido Kabasele from Democratic Republic of the Congo received the French-Speaking Film Award. The award for Documentary went to the movie ‘Le Cimmetiere des inconnus (The cemetery of strangers)’ by Walid Falleh from Tunisia while Othmane Ait Barbana from Morocco won ‘A lost Homeland’ the actor award for his role in the movie. Over 497 films came from 38 countries for this edition of the festival from where 51 films from 23 countries of the continent were selected. Established 16 years ago with the objective to discover and support talented directors from the continent, the Mobile Film Festival (MFF) still has the same unique format ‘’1 mobile, 1 minute, I film’’. The organisers disclosed that the festival received over 5000 films from 172 countries in the last five years and they have recorded over 115 million views online and 280,000 Euro distributed as production grants. 

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Filmdom WORD BITES:

‘I HAVE no regret doing this. I am contented and satisfied with what I have done so far. I would have for long gone abroad but I said no, that I must stay here and contribute my quota to the development of the industry and Nigeria. I mean somebody must develop Nigeria. That’s why I am here… ‘it has really been fulfilling. It has also provided for me. I keep telling people that I am comfortable enough to afford whatever I want with relative ease. It has absolutely opened doors for me. Having a public face, makes you protocol-free in a lot of areas. There is also the initial trust to your person and this opportunity that is given to you to prove otherwise. When you are known, people try to trust you until you prove otherwise. So, acting and showbiz generally make us protocol-free in a whole lot of area. With that coupled with my strict Christian faith which promotes integrity, it has made it possible for whoever comes in contact with me to continue to deal with me. So, it has been quite instrumental to my success and it has opened a lot of doors and any door it has opened has never closed’.

Actor, Lawyer and Politician Ken Okonkwo in response to a question on how rewarding he has found acting.

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 ‘’THERE is never a dull moment in showbiz. And I never regretted being in it. But the only thing is that if I would have to come back, I would like to come back a man and it’s because of what women go through in the hands of men. That’s why sometimes when I see women that are mean to men, I give them kudos because some of these men are monsters. Honestly, if I have to come back again I would like to come back a man so I can correct some of their ills against women. They do wrong things and they say it’s their world’

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Meet Joseph Benjamin… now an ‘abroadian?’ 8

– Actress Ngozi Nwosu on her and acting as a profession. 

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Star Fad & Hobbies

Veteran Actor Tony Akposheri –

‘’WELL, I will continue to do this as long as I am alive. Actors don’t retire. I will keep on with it. I am not retiring. This is my job. It is my love. This is what I have signed to do. Even when I branch out to do something else, my spirit is always here. So, I will continue in spite of the challenges. No regrets. If I have any regret, it is the money that is not there because if I had the resources, I would have established a kind of training facility for young actors. I would have carried young and aspiring people who are looking for opportunity to exhibit their talents along. I would have been able to help them. If I should set up a foundation today it will be such that will care for veterans and the upcoming actors.  The veterans like us need to be cared for and the upcoming ones need to be given the platform to excel’’.

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The Actress Ini Edo-

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‘’IT is something that really humbles me. By the special grace of God, I have been very relevant from when I became recognisable. If I am not working, that is because I choose not to. I always have scripts lined up for me. But it is all because I have always placed my hope and trust in God. When I came into the industry, I prayed and I was like God, if this is where you don’t want me to be, let it not happen and when it now happened, I now realised that he really wants me in the industry. That is also why I have remained unshakable. I can be shaken but I don’t think I can be blown away by anything except God allows it. Other than that, nothing can shake me, really’

*******

MILE STONES & ROUGH CUTS

 #La Femme Anjola in a cinema Nnear you– ‘La Femme Anjola’ the movie by Mildred Okwo is in a cinema near you. The movie, a psychological thriller about a young male Stock Broker (Nonso Bassey) whose life became entangled after he fell in love with a singer (Rita Dominic) married to a wealthy gangster, opened in cinemas across the country on March 18 after a glamourous premiere which held in Lagos.  Written by Tunde Babalola, the movie features award-winning actress Rita Dominic and actor Nonso Bassey in lead roles. The movie is produced by the Audrey Silva Company (TASC), a production company established by Rita Dominic and Mildred Okwo. ‘La Femme…’ will be the third movie by TASC since the company was established a little near a decade ago. ‘The Meeting’ and ‘Surulere’ are the other critically acclaimed movie by TASC.

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#AMAA ready for Short Film contest: The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) has announced that it is planning to host a short film contest on mental health in April. Founder and CEO of AMAA Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, AMAA disclosed that AMAA was working in partnership with Rootflix and In-short International Film Festival to challenge African filmmakers to demystify mental health and depict it more accurately in their films. To be held under the theme ‘’Pandemics, Lockdown and My Mental Health’’, the contest is open to young and budding creatives, students and filmmakers and it will run till April 12. According to the AMAA CEO, ‘’top 7 films will be selected and shown during the Eko Wellness Fair scheduled for between April 25 and May 1, 2021’’. The CEO further disclosed that the selected films would be hosted on Rootflix, a leading multicultural streaming platform for festival selected films and at the In-short International Film Festival.

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