A prominent and frontline movie producer in Nigeria, Zeb Ejiro, OON, who many today regard as one who has touched the lives of almost all the phenomenon that has become what is known as, “Nollywood,” has disclosed that all his life, he has done nothing else other than making movies, training people and discovering young artists, who will take over the Nigerian movie industry in future.
Zeb or Presido, as he is fondly called, made this known while fielding questions from journalists at the Silverbird Galleria, Abuja, on Wednesday, September 24, during the premiere of his latest movie, Yellow Cassava, as part of events to mark the 2014 Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF), organized by Harvest Plus Nigeria in collaboration with Smile Africa Network Limited.
According to him, as a very little boy, he had told himself that he wanted to be in the business of making movies; he specifically wanted to be someone, who will always be behind the camera with so much power; and today, he is satisfied that at least, to an extent, he has been able to achieve that.
His words: “Nollywood to me is all I know. I have not done any other thing in my life. All I have done in my life is make movies, train people, and discover artists, young ones to make sure they take over later in the future.”
Sharing his experience on how he got the job to produce Yellow Cassava, Zeb had this to say: “When I got the call from Harvest Plus concerning this movie, I was happy because we have a lot of producers in the country but for them to have singled me out to say, “You are the one we want,” to me is joy; and I was honoured. During the project, I asked them why me? And they said they have seen a lot of my works and they feel that the best person that will be able to handle this would be Zeb Ejiro.”
Earlier in his welcome speech, the renowned movie producer said for him to come out with the movie, he had to assemble the best hands in the industry which explained why he went for Monalisa Chinda to play the lead character, Vero, which she agreed saying the story line was wonderful.
In looking for a man who is versatile, an antagonist, a trouble-maker that you can ask to play a flamboyant role or even chief executive and he will do it well, Zeb said the first name that came to his mind was, Segun Arinze.
He also maintained that for the stashing guy that will match Vero in the movie, Chidi Mokemewas one actor he could not afford to substitute; then to sell the movie medically because it has to do with health, Zeb, in trying to fill the role of a medical doctor, good enough to be able to sell to the villagers went for Emeka Ossai.
Yellow Cassava is an advocacy movie which says yellow cassava is cheap, rich in vitamin A which can equally boost one’s immune system and improve eye sight; the movie was shot in four languages: English, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
While Zeb Ejiro directed the English language version of the film, Fidelis Duker, the founder of Abuja International Film Festival shot and directed the Yoruba language version; Chico Ejiro (Zeb’s sibling) directed the Igbo language version, and Obi Osotule directed the Hausa version of the film.
The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri, made out time to watch the premiere of the movie, Yellow Cassava, because of his unflinching love and desire for the development of the movie industry in Nigeria; most important was the fact that the lead character in the movie, Monalisa Chinda, was one of his students in her University of Port Harcourt days.
Corporate Affairs Unit