As the end credits rolled for Kunle Afolayan’s new flick, October 1, an outburst of cheers engulfed the theatre, at the Filmhouse Cinemas, Surulere, Lagos, venue of the press screening, last Tuesday.
For more than two hours, guests were engrossed in the much-anticipated movie, which provides a measure of comic relief within a serious theme that portrays the colonial masters as evil-genius.
From reactionary murmur to occasional giggles and roaring outbursts from the viewers, the film appeared to be meeting the expectations of the filmmaker, as an educative and entertaining work.
The event was the fourth in a series of private screenings which the filmmaker intends to use to drum support for the film, before it is released to the public in October.
“We are certain that from these private screenings, we will be able to make some money also. This goes to subsidise our budget before we go public. Because once the film is out, it’s out,” said Afolayan, apparently referring to the menace of piracy.
Afolayan, who revealed that Terra Kulture is chief supporter of the exclusive screenings, said the movie had gulped more than N200 million so far, and that there was need for him to recoup his investment, if he must continue to make quality films locally.
Giving the breakdown, he said: “We shot on RED cameras. All those forest scenes were shot using two pieces of 12K HMI light; to rent one 12k costs between N80,000 to N100,000 per day, and we shot for about 60 days. We had more than 30 lights on that shoot altogether. We had about 100 cast and crew, living and feeding on the production. Post-production cost more than N20 million, which is why the film looks good. We tried to maximise the potentials that we have in-house. By this, the only thing we did outside the country was colour correction and grading.
“We used two RED cameras, each one costing over N100,000 a day. Also, look at the costumes for that period, look at the cars. We had to refurbish some of those cars so as to create that period and put them to use. The CDI, the PFX (production effects) etc. in that town are electric poles, electric wires, transformers and billboards, MTN, Airtel and Globacom masts all over the place. Did you see anything like that in the film? They were all removed at post-production, and PFX costs fortunes. If I start breaking it down, we will be here all day,” he said, smiling.
The budget for Afolayan’s film is the biggest so far in the country, only next to Half of a Yellow Sun, which got more corporate funding in Nigeria and support from the British Film Institute (BFI). The filmmaker, who has been described in some quarters as the posterboy of Nigerian cinema said he believed that the nation’s movie industry is evolving.
“The reason why we have spent so much is that we believe strongly that there is so much potential for this kind of film. How many viewers do we really need to be able to recoup that money? It’s not a lot, and the good thing is that now, you have Filmhouse, whose cinema chain seems to be expanding every day. And they already said to me that by the time we are releasing it in October, they will be having like 20 screens, compared to the six that we had when we released The Figurine and Phone Swap.”
Afolayan revealed that Filmhouse’s projection for the film is $1 million. “But all that $1 million is not coming to me o,” he pointed out with an air, sarcastically. “Because by the time Filmhouse takes their percentage and all the taxes are deducted, what will come to us will be small. But at least people will start believing in indigenous film projects,” he explained.
He said although he was yet to get the Project Act-Nollywood grant, it would subsidise his budget if he became a beneficiary. “But we will continue to work. I believe strongly in film, I believe strongly in good production value, I believe in Nigerian talents and that is why we have put everything into this film.”
A psychological thriller, October 1 pictures September 1960, with Nigeria on the verge of independence from British colonial rule. It tells the story of a northern Nigeria Police detective, Dan Waziri (Sadiq Daba), who is urgently dispatched by the colonial government to the trading post town of Akote in the Western Region of Nigeria, to solve a series of female murders that have struck horror in the hearts and minds of the local community. On getting to Akote, more murders are committed, and with local tension high and volatile, Waziri has a race on his hands to solve the case before even more local women are killed.
Matters take a turn for the worse, however, when Waziri discovers that his
prime suspect is none other than the highly influential, university-educated son of the King of Akote, Prince Aderopo (Ademola Adedoyin). Intelligent, good-looking, charismatic, witty and daring, the prince proves to be a most complicated adversary for Waziri. Set against the backdrop of the national celebration mood of the impending independence, Waziri and Prince Aderopo indulge in a game of
cat and mouse as they try to outwit each other… leading to the climatic end in which the life of a popular local female teacher and village belle, Tawa (Kehinde Bankole), is held in the balance.