When dynamic, youth­ful, ener­get­i­cally charged and inge­nu­ity loaded Jeta Amata, one of Nature’s finest gifts to Nol­ly­wood, oper­at­ing within the direct­ing purview and an advo­cate of con­tem­po­rary mind blow­ing movie pro­duc­tions, decided to brave all odds and take a deep plunge into the sea of 35mms, his col­leagues, friends and those he shared his dreams with had impliedly spewed out their reser­va­tion about embark­ing on such a risky venture.

Despite the side talks in low tones, pes­simism and tale of woes that could likely befall such colos­sal project, he chose to turn a deaf ear, and opted to pur­sue his dream with vigour, most impor­tantly believ­ing in him­self that it could be done.

Clothed with the gar­ment of aspi­ra­tion, richly embroided with deter­mi­na­tion and resilience and spurred on by an inner gen­er­ated drive flam­ing the pas­sion for his dream, with the Lord by his side , he finally birthed his dream, with the lovely movie “The Amaz­ing Grace”. The movie starred Nick Moran, Scott Clever­don, Mbong Odungide, Fred Amata, Joke Silva, James Hicks, Itam efa Williamson.

Jeta’s ‘baby’, took the local and Inter­na­tional scenes by storm and earned him pres­ti­gious awards, amongst which was for “Best Cin­e­matog­ra­phy” at the African Movie Acad­emy Awards (AMAA) 2007. He’d proven his crit­ics wrong by this remark­able achieve­ment. Some encour­aged by his record have opted to fol­low suit, empow­ered with the knowl­edge about the oppor­tu­ni­ties that abound through the 35mm motion picture.

The 35mm film gauge is the inter­na­tion­ally recog­nised stan­dard gauge for mak­ing films, hav­ing beaten the other ranges from 13mm – 75mm before the turn of the 21st cen­tury. As a result of this endorse­ment, films made on 35mm pos­sess the capac­ity to be played in vir­tu­ally all the movie the­atres spread across the Globe. Its capac­ity to be con­stantly mod­i­fied by the man­u­fac­tur­ers Kodak and Fuji Films broad­ens its scope of appli­ca­tion to move with the chang­ing technology.

The 35mm has over the years proven to be world class, but how ideal is it in an Indus­try where the finan­cial storm con­stantly impedes the film mak­ers’ progress and threat­ens now and again to cap­size their boats so that they might sink in to the murky sea of oblivion.

Shoot­ing a film on 35mm is a finan­cially back break­ing ven­ture, run­ning in to eye pop­ping mil­lions of dol­lars, with investors rolling out as low as $130 mil­lion for a high bud­get movie. Not all movies shot in Hol­ly­wood make it to the the­atres, due to its expen­sive nature, some are recorded on DVDs and sold. The alter­na­tive approach for die hard lovers of 35mm for­mat would be to shoot on 16mm and have it blown up to 35 mm, (though with addi­tional expenses being incurred), if one is deter­mined to have it in the the­atres, pres­ti­gious Inter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals, and of course has eyes on the Oscar

Nol­ly­wood has been polar­ized into two schools of thought. The first are of the opin­ion that the 35mm for­mat being the best film gauge, though expen­sive should be used in shoot­ing movies. It would facil­i­tate swift pro­mo­tion of Niger­ian sto­ries, expor­ta­tion of same, and would be viewed by a numer­i­cally unbeat­able audi­ence, con­sist­ing of Nige­ri­ans in the Dias­pora and non-Nigerians alike. This in turn would trans­late to good for­eign exchange earn­ing in the Government’s cof­fers, invari­ably boost­ing the economy.

Shoot­ing on cel­lu­loid is not new to Niger­ian film mak­ers, such feat hav­ing been accom­plished dur­ing the “Golden Years of Motion pic­ture” in Nige­ria by key film mak­ers such as Eddie Ugbomah, Ola Balo­gun, Late Hubert Ogunde, Adeyemi Afo­layan, Ladi Ladebo, Ade­bayo Salami, to men­tion a few.

The films pro­duced back in the 70’s were viewed at the cin­e­mas and exhi­bi­tion cen­tres. If shoot­ing on cel­lu­loid was accom­plished back in the days, who says it’s impos­si­ble to re-live that era ? Who says that Niger­ian movies can’t be nom­i­nated in the For­eign Lan­guage Film cat­e­gory at the Oscars or even other cat­e­gories and win, just like the movie Slum dog Mil­lion­aire did? It would cer­tainly com­pel other movie indus­tries to beam their search light in our direc­tion, open up great part­ner­ship deals and invest­ment, cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ties for Nol­ly­wood actors and actresses to star in Hol­ly­wood flicks!

The other school of thought does not mince words in rebut­ting the 35mm clar­ion call. As far as they are con­cerned, Nol­ly­wood is a Home video Indus­try, which means it’s video based and suc­cess­fully thrives in Africa and other coun­tries. There­fore, clam­our­ing or can­vass­ing for the use of the 35mm film gauge is an effort in futil­ity. Besides, few cin­e­mas exist in Nige­ria (Sil­ver Bird, Nu Metro, Gen­e­sis Deluxe, City Mall cin­e­mas) in com­par­i­son to its Hol­ly­wood and Bol­ly­wood coun­ter­parts. The ordi­nary man on the street can presently watch movies on vcds/dvds which are afford­able, in fact dirt cheap, when com­pared to the amount movie goers spend in pur­chas­ing tick­ets to watch flicks at the cinemas.

Its expen­sive nature and lack of pri­vate part­ner­ship par­tic­i­pa­tion have wors­ened the mat­ter. After all, the vcds/dvds can be exported to for­eign coun­tries and still be watched by a large audi­ence within the com­fort of their homes and at their leisure. The cost of adver­tis­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing movies to the the­atres is rather expen­sive, which can be re-channelled pur­pose­fully to accom­plish other things and with the Home the­atre sys­tems creep­ing in, dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy mak­ing waves in Moviedom, a rev­o­lu­tion is being envis­aged with the cin­e­mas grad­u­ally show­ing flicks away from the norm.

It is not cer­tain whether a global dearth of 35mm will soon occur as spec­u­lated by scep­tics. Whichever schools of thought one decides to align one­self with, the fact still remains that the movie indus­try is not sta­tic but dynamic.

Noth­ing sure beats the feel­ing of relax­ing in the The­atre with your friends or loved ones, eat­ing pop­corn and watch­ing the orig­i­nal, unabridged ver­sion of the movie on a visu­ally mag­ni­fied screen with peak of the pack record­ings, pro­ject­ing the adren­a­line pump­ing, sus­pense killing, spine chill­ing, rib crack­ing, and some­times bor­ing unfold­ing events in the flick, ably com­pli­mented by cool spe­cial effects, tech­no­log­i­cally inspired and manip­u­lated to give you a lin­ger­ing sat­is­fy­ing view­ing expe­ri­ence of a life time.

By [email protected]