June 19, 2009

Nollywood will win Intl’s award— Hotel Rwanda star

Nigerian born English trained South African actor and producer,  Hakeem Kae-Kazim, who recently got a role in the hit United States action drama series 24, after he was rejected several times in the upcoming season of the show, has expressed optimism concerning the possibility of Nigerian movies winning an international laurel.

“I have not seen a Nollywood movie as yet win an international award. But it will happen!” he said, adding that, “just as the Indian film industry has now climbed to acceptable international status, it is only a matter of time before Nollywood films reach that height.”

Hakeem Kae-Kazim

Hakeem Kae-Kazim

Speaking in an interview with Jamati Online, Kae-Kazim said besides telling original African stories from an African perspective,  Nollywood has great potential to stand the taste of time.

“That is why they have had such a reach around the continent and throughout the Diaspora. I believe in a few years, we will see some truly great African cinema, with international production values come out of the Nollywood machine.”

Asked what could be done to improve the film industry in Nigeria, Kazim advocated budgeting more money into the making of Nollywood films and also cutting down on piracy to enable the film makers to get a proper return on their investment and thereby increase production values throughout.

“I produced a Nollywood movie in the Nollywood style while in South Africa to see what it was like working in that way. And also to see whether it was a way of giving a voice to local film makers who had stories to tell but without the access to the local film making machine- which I felt was more interested in making Eurocentric type of films or films in a more western type of way negating the African voice, even when they had an African theme.

“The film, was called ‘Coming to South Africa” and it was about two Nigerians who leave home and head for South Africa to make a better life for themselves. They both find it difficult and one decides to make his way by selling drugs, while the other decides to go and work his way up, starting off as a factory guard to pay his way through college.”

Kazim is playing the role of Colonel Ike Dubaku, the leader of a coup in the fictitious African country of Sangala in the upcoming drama series 24, which is currently being shot in South Africa.

‘The role is actually offered to me. But only after having been seen by the producers over a year for five other roles; none of which I got.” he said.