Thursday 9 May 2013


Katung "Direktah" Aduwak

Heaven’s Hell is the true story of a Nigerian woman who stabbed her husband multiple times to death after, her claims, of many years of domestic violence; and that is only the tip of the iceberg!
As the movie shoot enters its fourth week, Katung Aduwak, the brain and force behind the movie, feels a responsibility to share this story.

With an impressive ensemble of some of Africa’s best actors (roll call: Bimbo Akintola, OC Ukeje, Nse Ikpe Etim, Damilola Adegbite, Gideon Okeke, Linda Ejiofor, and South Africa based actor, Fabian Lojede of the series- Jacob’s Cross), and an international production team led by Jeffery Smith who has worked with stars like Rihanna, Fergie, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer and handled productions of mega TV success like American Idol, Heaven’s Hell is set to raise the bar.
Chet Anekwe and Damilola Adegbite

Heaven’s Hell the true story of domestic violence and terror will capture one of the most shocking incidents of family pain and tragedy. “The aim is to use the movie to enlighten Africa- as it seems domestic violence is still handled with kid gloves in this part of the world. Ultimately I want Heaven’s Hell to liberate people. I want it to inspire someone to get out of a bad relationship…whatever it can accomplish to make the world a saner place,” Katung explains.

Katung Aduwak is no stranger to me and I believe that Nigeria will stand still for this young man as this is just a starting point for him. Katung won the first and only Big Brother Nigeria where starts like Gideon Okeke and Ebuka were discovered (or made). He also directed the video of the hit song "Superstar" by Ice Prince.

Katung Aduwak is the perfect example of how hard work, determination and humility will get you to the top.

Check out the behind-the-scene images…


Wednesday 1 May 2013


I have received tons of emails from friends, fans and movie buffs about why I have not posted anything on my blog in a very long time. I want to sincerely apologize to everybody for the long break. I took some time off to do in-depth pre-production for my next project and I did a lot of script writing and re-writes.

It has indeed been a very refreshing experience for me and an unforgettable journey for me since January 2013 working and interacting with all the American filmmakers on different levels. I have had the pleasure of being tutored again on a whole new level of filmmaking and I must say that I feel truly blessed.

I have recently been obsessed with the RED SCARLET camera. Damn! This camera is amazing and actually shoots 4.5k at 24fps. You have to really work hard to "mess up your pictures" with this camera! If you know what you're doing, you just cannot go wrong. I will be talking to you more about this camera.

My professional career has taken a turn that has amazed even me and I have God to be grateful to for that. I will be sharing some of my research with you all in forth coming posts and will also be sharing some useful links and tips that will help young and new filmmakers. It is time to get up from your couch and make movies the way you want, how you “can”. Yes! How you don’t have a million dollars...use what you have.

I was also in London making a music video for a gospel singer who is also a very good friend and sister, JOY IBISA. This video shoot was a perfect example of making the most of very few gadgets so that your work can look like a million dollars even if you spend only a fraction of that.

I went to London with a couple of DSLR cameras (Canon 5D Mark II and 7D), two lights (of which I mostly used one), a shoulder rig, a slider, a tripod and some very good lenses. I definitely did not have a lot of time to do pre-production and hire a large crew but I thought this would be great way to show you guys how to use angles, lenses and compositions to get what you want. The entire video was shot in 2 days around London and post production took barely 3 days (tried to give myself a bit of a challenge). Mind you, I am a sucker or getting it right so please take your time to get it right!! Don’t rush it.  Hahaha!
Click on the link below to see the final video.

I am sending my love to everybody out there. Keep it real. Keep it locked right here because there is so much coming your way very soon.

In everything you do..always remember:

Click below to see I’VE GOT JOY video by JOY IBISA.

Monday 31 December 2012


I am very happy indeed that God has spared our lives for us to see the end of another year. 2012 came with ups and downs, moments of tears and laughter, sadness and joy. This is a constant factor in life because even the bible said it that “unto everything is appointed a time and a season” (the book of Ecclesiastes). However, I will not fail to admit that 2012 has been the best year of my life. I have a better and stronger relationship with God, my son and my family. I discovered my “purpose” and was able to affect more lives than I ever have.

Clarence Peters at a music video shoot
I am a man who is notorious for not having any regrets in life and that has made me kept my sanity all my life. We all make mistakes but I believe that when the bible says “God will not give us more than we can bear”, it means that we WILL make the mistakes and go though the fire but God will calm us down and see us through; just make sure you learn a lesson as you fall or go through the storm. So instead of living with regrets, I think of the lessons learnt and I move on...hoping never to make such again.
I have great dreams for the Nigerian Motion picture industry in 2013. I expect bigger movies and super block busters from Nigerian Filmmakers. I am not a guy who is a prophet but I foresee some music video directors making feature length films in 2013. I do hope that people like Clarence Peters, Aje Films and Adasa will take some time off making music videos and look into making movies. Even if they are short films, I really don’t mind but that will definitely reposition the Nigerian movie industry. DJ Tee did a great job by collaborating with Funke Akindele as director of photography on The Return of Jenifa.

Majid Michel
I also foresee some “so-called” famous movie producers losing steam. Nigerian movie lovers are getting increasingly more enlightened and conscious about production value when it comes to movie making. You can’t keeping giving them the same kind of movies over and over again and expect your audiences not to get tired. If the game is not changed, these producers will go out of business.

The Viewers Choice Awards by MNET will take place in 2013 and people are predicting that this will upstage the acclaimed “African Oscars”...AMAA. Will this be the case in 2013? Our fingers are crossed and we are waiting. AMAA has made African filmmakers sit tight and set up a situation where filmmakers are shooting for Awards now. If there is anything to learn from this unfolding drama, AMAA get your act together and keep the ‘legacy’ you have established or else brace yourself for an extinction.

I want to say a huge thank you to all the Nigerian producers and directors that brought us great films in 2012. May God continue to increase your inspiration, wisdom and give you the resources to do bigger things in 2013. I also want to say thank you to all the actors who gave us spectacular and unforgettable performances in their films. I salute!!!

I never make new year resolutions. I don’t. I just make sure that I have a list of things I want to achieve for the year, I place them before God in prayers and as they happen I cross them off the list...simple! My list for 2013 is rather long and “ambitious”. Don’t laugh and do not expect me to tell you what’s on the list now but as it happens you will find out first right here. Maybe the first thing on my list is to get married to Oprah may never know! Yipeee!!

I want to wish everyone the very best in the New Year. May all your drams come true and may you find happiness in all the positive things you do. Don’t just expect a miracle,  go out and BE a miracle.

Monday 24 December 2012


I have received hundreds of emails based on my last article “IF YOU WANNA SHOOT...SHOOT! DON’T TALK!”. Jesus! I am super excited that several people were inspired by that article.   I believe that when knowledge is shared, someone else will take it from where you stopped and push it to a greater hight; that is how development can come to an industry like ours where the evolution of creativity is key.

I got an email from James Nsoro who lives in Lagos and he asked me,

“Mr Ademinokan you were lucky to have a brother in-law who owns a Sony Hi-8 camera. What if I don’t have anybody who owns one and is willing to give me to use free of charge what will I do?”

Thanks James for the email. I will say that this is a very common problem that young or first-time filmmakers face. The great thing now is that you really don’t need a super camera to get your work done. I have seen film festivals that accept movies shot with smart phones. You can use your iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Samsung, etc to get high quality pictures. Remember, you are not filming to screen at the AMC Theatre on 42nd St, New York. What you are trying to achieve is to kill the spirit of procrastination and break the jinx. Also, you will have your name on a film...kapish!!

Another thing you can do is to meet someone who has a camera and strike a deal with him. If he is a cinematographer who has a camera and some gear, agree to give him/her credit as co-producer, associate producer or if he can, let him be your Director of Photography (if he has any measure of experience). One thing you should be careful about is not let this person dictate to you what you will do with your film or how you want to do it!

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying you should not open your mind to suggestions and opinions from people. The filmmaking process is a collaborative one and you can not know it all but do not put your film at the mercy of someone else to the point that they will begin to dictate how you should do the film and things you should throw out.

Remember these points:

1. It is YOUR film. It is YOUR idea: The idea to make the movie was yours in the first place and you brought this other person into the picture, right? If he is there to help you achieve YOUR dreams, then let him do that. Don’t let anyone try to revive their careers though you. You know how you want your film to look and what you saw in your head before you set out to film. Take good advice and filter what you don’t need.

2. You are not trying to make a box office least not yet: What you are trying to do is to get used to the concept of running your own show and calling the shots. You want to get the feel of the filmmaking experience on a small scale. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. I believe that every filmmaker has at least 3 bad films in them so why not start early and make all the bad films you can make before you are famous, right? Just make sure that you learn some serious lessons from whatever mistakes you make. If you make mistakes as regards “line of action”...big deal! Just don’t make it when you are doing the next on

3. Take notes: Yes! Keep a small journal and document the challenges you encountered as you were working. Write down what happened that made you start work at 1pm instead of 10 am that was your call time. Notes like this will help you plan better when you are doing another production. It works like magic!

4. Don’t rush: One phrase I hate to hear on production sets is “Let’s go! Let’s go!”. Damn!! This drives me nuts because in my opinion, you spend 2 months planning for a production and by the time you get there for the actual photography/filming, they want you to get it done in 5 minutes. Yes you have planned so why not just let all the elements come into place properly then capture it because it is what you capture that will be frozen in time..not the duration of preparation. Nobody wants to know how long you planned for; we just want to see a good film with creative shots and good story telling. We can only evaluate your film based on what you have captured. Do not let anybody rush you as you want to get your shot. If you feel the lighting is not the way you want it, fix it. If you need to re-frame your shot to get the right it. If your director of photography is impatient, let him know he has to chill for you to get your job done. Now, this is not a license for you to become a snail when your working. This can be permitted because its your first film and also its a “no-budget” film. When you start working for big studios though, the story will change because every minute you waste costs money but by then, you will be more experienced. They YOU KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT EVEN BEFORE YOU STEP OUT OF YOUR ROOM IN THE MORNING TO GO OUT AND FILM!

In 2010, while filming ETI KETA with Saidi Balogun in Kwara State, I had an idea for a campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDS with the use of condoms. I shared it with my friends on set and they thought it would be hilarious and a fun thing to do. A couple of months later, I met a friend named Iykeman who had a Canon 7D camera a few lights I could use. I shared my idea with him and he loved it. He agreed to give me his camera and lights to work with and in return he would share producer credits with me. Iykeman was also a director of photography and that was a huge advantage. I wrote the script and titled it NO JERSEY NO MATCH, got the locations, planned logistics and we were good to go. We got our friends who were working actors to feature in it and they jumped at the offer because they loved the concept of film. Even when we could clearly afford more, this short film did not cost us more than $200 to make because everything we used ... we owned.

NO JERSEY, NO MATCH has gone on to win Best Short Film at the Abuja International Film Festival, nominated for Best Short Film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards, nominated for Best Short Film at the Hoboken International Film Festival in New Jersey, Official Selection at the Dubai Film Mart at the Dubai International Film Festival, screened at Naija Villa in Brooklyn, New York and it has screened at a host of other festivals I can’t even remember.

I thought it would be cool to finally share this movie with the rest of the world as a christmas present. Emmm...age restriction applies here ooo! For mature audience only.


Saturday 22 December 2012


One major thing that most young and/or new filmmakers complain about is financing. They never seem to be able to lay hands on the right kind of money that will enable them make that film...that masterpiece. It can be very discouraging and several people have gone to their graves with their scripts that never got made because they could not get those projects bankrolled. Some never even got to make one single film. They never got the chance to make that ‘big” film.

Robert DeNiro

As a young man growing up in Lagos, I saw countless movies and had several ideas as I metamorphosed into a writer/director. I saw movies like Terminator, Robocop, Jurassic Park, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Never Ending Story and all sorts of dreams, visions and ideas filled my head. I could picture myself at the premieres of my films in Hollywood with actors like Robert Dinero telling the press how excited he was when he heard he was going to make a film with me. Hey, its good to dream. Like I always say, dream big because to dream is absolutely free! But at some point I had to wake up and realize that they were what they were...dreams. To achieve them, I would have to work hard. I went on to write some amazing scripts with extreme gun fight sequences, car chases, aliens, space ships and … well, things in my dreams. Writing is one thing, filming is another. None of those my scripts have been made, at least not yet. It’s been almost 20 years since I wrote some of them...they are still there. I could have ended my dreams of being a great filmmaker touring the world but I discovered something very early in my career and that is why I am where I am today.

I figured out that I was unknown to anyone as a filmmaker, even to my family so why would anyone give me money to make a film. People knew I was a serious musician that could play over 9 musical instruments so they probably would have invested in my career as a musician. But for way! I had never done any work before that time to show my abilities (at least the one I believed I had) as a filmmaker. All I could do was talk to people and talk without substance (which is your experience in that field of work) would never amount to anything. I clearly could not physically afford the millions of Naira required to make those films but I was hell bent on being a filmmaker.

I looked around me and found the simple elements that I could get for free without having to pay a dime. I grew up in a mechanic village in the Surulere area of Lagos State, Nigeria so I had access to lots of abandoned cars and metal scrap that I could mess around with.  At least they had been lying down there unused for years. I had access to my brother in-law’s Sony Hi-8 camera with a few tapes I could re-use. All I had to do was point, press record and bingo! I had a few cousins and a brother that were willing to act free of charge just for the heck of it. I had a bass guitar that I could get from my church for free because I was the church bass player. My mum was a caterer and this meant lots of pots, cooking utensils and coolers at my disposal. Wow! Great props! So, with the abandoned cars, the camera, the bass guitar, tons of pots & coolers and free actors...i decided to write a short film about a skilled but poor bass player who lived in an abandoned car. His fortune turned when he helped an old lady and she gave him a magic cooler such that whenever he played the bass, the cooler would be filled with food at all times and the food was so good that people came from everywhere to buy it. He was okay till he started getting caught up in his success then he got drunk and he broke the cooler. After that, he went back to being poor. End of Story.

Sony Hi-8
Now this was not supposed to be a Box Office hit but at least I could try out all the great shots I had in my head and experience how it felt to be on a movie set. The good part was that I did not need anyone breathing fire down my throat for production deadlines. Neither did I have investors bugging me to know how much we would make from the movie. All I wanted was to have my name on a production that said directed by Daniel Ademinokan that I could show to anyone after introducing myself as a filmmaker.  That was the ultimate plan. I knew I didn’t have lights to shoot so I decided to write all my scenes as exteriors and day scenes. I also decided to make the film as short as 10 minutes. For a first time filmmaker, nobody was going to sit for 2 hours to see my film then decide if I was good enough as a filmmaker. Well, I knew I was not going to do that if I were in the person’s shoes because there definitely wouldn’t be a Ramsey Nouah or a Genevieve Nnaji in the movie. So with ‘highly’ unknown actors (like my cousin and brother), I had to make my point in the movie as quickly as possible. A short script with a sharp introduction was the key. I will deal with the concept of script writing and structure in subsequent articles.

I finally shot the film in the crudest and most sincere way that I could. I begged my friend who was an editor to help me cut the film and he did the best he could to save a desperate filmmaker like me. For those of you who are wondering what the title of the movie is and where you can find it...I never gave it a title, you will NEVER see it anywhere because it is the most horrible movie I have ever done in my life. Probably in the history of the Nigerian Movie may never know.

If the movie was so bad, why did I bother to write all this long talk about the process and blah blah blah? I learnt several lessons while making that short film. I was excited to wake up everyday to film even when it seemed that my cast and I had no clue what we were doing. I was very focused and was willing to experiment with different angles and options while filming. I didn’t have to ask from any studio executive or producer’s permission to include certain elements or alter my story. I quickly realized the need to plan properly before starting a production. I learnt quickly how to deal with and manage actors who were doing you a favour. You can learn a lot of things from books and the class room but in this business of filmmaking, nothing comes close to getting your hands dirty and doing the “actual work”. Practical stuff, getting the gear, casting, schedules, quick decisions on your feet, telling the story and watching it come to life...that’s the ultimate high in this business. Some will argue that making the money is the ultimate problem. Chase the money first and that will probably be the ONLY time you will lay hands on it. Focus on your craft...and the money will chase you around! Above it all...i had on the movie “Directed By Daniel Ademinokan”. Although only my family and a few friends got to see it, it gave me the drive to keep pushing; knowing that one day I would be at the oscars.

I have gone on to film all over the world with all kinds of people and I have enjoyed an amazing, yet rising career as a filmmaker. I have won awards locally and internationally with my films showing in festivals on different continents. I did not need anything special to jump-start my career. I had ME, MY DREAMS, ZEAL TO SUCCEED and that was good enough. Do not let any circumstance or people discourage you. Let them laugh at you; one day they will come and celebrate with you and start to “form familiarity”.

A few years after I made that “first” film, I went on to film school and came in contact with Robert Rodriguez who directed the movie "DESPERADOS" that starred Antonio Banderas. He was a guest lecturer at my school and he shared his story with us. Shockingly, it was not so different from mine! He made his break out movie “EL-MARIACHI” at the age of 23 and his story was exactly the same as mine. He even wrote a journaL about his experience making the movie in his book “REBEL WITHOUT A CREW”. This further solidified my concept of taking the bull by the procrastination.

Stop giving excuses on why you have not done the film you want to do. All the time you spend complaining to your friends and convincing potential investors...especially for first time filmmakers, write a short film, grab a camera and get out there to shoot something. Don’t wait till you go to film school. Don’t wait to do that BIG project or else, you will end up just as a dreamer.

Thursday 20 December 2012


The movie Journey To Self was premiered in Lagos recently and the reviews have been quite positive. Regardless of who the filmmaker is, I have always been a sucker for good films. The interesting part for me though is that the movie was directed by a female and for me this is like the icing on the cake! Would I refer to this movie as a chick flick? I probably wouldn't but because its an all female ensemble you would be tempted to but this movie touches issues that everyone can relate to...male or female.

Tope Oshin Ogun
I had a chat with the Director, Tope Oshin Ogun who has been one of the leading female directors in Nigeria for quite some time. She is one of the directors of the popular MNET drama series TINSEL. Before her journey into the directing world, Tope was a seasoned actress and formidable TV host. Enjoy our conversation.

Amaka Igwe has been one of the leading female directors in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the most prominent. Did she inspire you in anyway to become a director? Also, why the transition from acting to directing?

Amaka Igwe sowed the directing seed in Tope Oshin Ogun about 10 years ago. I was discussing a movie of hers that I was starting in and after the creative discussion, she told me "you should be a director". Of course I thought she was crazy at the time.
My transition from acting to directing happened on its own. My quest to know more about directing got me concentrating more on it and seeking to develop a career in it and somehow, my acting career got sidelined while fueling my new passion.

Why your choice of the director of photography for the movie Journey To Self?

I had worked with Nodash on 3 other projects in the past, 2 of which were my multiple award winning short films. I have a great working relationship with him. He understands my language, style and what I want, so it was just natural for me to choose him for my next project.

What camera did you film with and why?

I shot on the Canon 5D Mk II. I like the unusual, and wanted the challenge and experiment of shooting a whole feature length movie with a DSLR and since I also had a DP that's very much at home with DSLRs, I thought why not?
When you were filming what choice of lenses worked well for you and can you break down why you used those lenses? 

We basically shot on all canon lenses. A mix and match of primes and zooms but mostly primes.

The movie looks really great and the editing was on point. Who was your editor and what program did he use to edit?

Nodash the DP was also the editor. I chose him because I felt he had an advantage having shot the movie and also cos he had a clear idea of what I was trying to achieve. He edited on Final Cut Pro.

What file format did you edit the movie in? Did you have to convert to Apple Proress 422 or did you just edit straight as H.264?

It was shot on 5D like I said earlier and yes it was converted for editing.

How long did it take you to film JOURNEY TO SELF? How long was pre-production, principal photography and post production? Did you have to do any pick up shoots?

Journey To Self was shot in 10 days. All estabs and pick ups inclusive, except for the Abuja estabs which were shot by a 2nd unit. Pre production ran into a couple of months and post pro took a little over 2 months. 
Your husband is known for his amazing writing skills. How do you guys work together (if you ever do)? Also being a mother, how do you balance that with directing?

My husband Yinka Ogun is a renowned screen writer of note, television content provider/consultant and producer. Both my award winning short films were written by him and we have worked together on a couple of other briefs as director and producer respectively. 

Being a mother of 4 boys and a director is not easy but beautiful. I have tremendous support from my husband who makes time to fill in for me when I'm busy and I do same for him. We have a live in nanny but try as much as possible to spend quality time with the children as much as we can. We don't subscribe to surrogate parenting. We are very much hands on as regards the raising and care of our children. At least one of us is always present with them at any given time.

Any tips for women who want to become directors?

Just go for it. See your self not as a woman, but as a human. Equal to any other achiever out there. Get up, get out, develop yourself regularly and be the very best you can be. No holds barred.

Tope Oshin Ogun
Relentless 2008
Eventide 2006
Eternal 2006
Maroko 2005
The Accursed 2005
Blast from the Past 2005
Two Circles 2004
Trees Grow in the Desert 2002
Prize Maze - Mnet new directions film 2002 
Oro Ajoso 2002
Heritage 2001
Didun Iru 2001
Yemisi Owereke 2001
Time to Kill 2000
Fugitive 1999

Whatever It Takes (Super Story) 2007
Behind the Siege 2004
Dear Mother (Guest appearance) 2003
Izozo 2002-2004
Tightrope 2001-2002
An Eye for an Eye (Super Story) 2002
Saints and Sinners 2001
The Mistress’ Revolt 2001
Paradise Park 1998-1999

Women of Owu – a Nigerian adaptation of Helen of Troy 2003
The Divorce – NANTAP’s FESTINA play 2003
Childe Internationale 2000
Ahamefuna 2000
Oyela 2000
The Marriage of Anansewa 1999
Muse Before The Millenium 1999
Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels 1998
A View from the Bridge 1998

One Thing at a Time 2007-2012
Direct Entry 2004-2011
Story Story (Yoruba version) (A BBC radio drama) 2006
ONGA Delicacy (Yoruba) 2005 - 2009
I Need To Know 2001-2003
Shakara -The Dancehall Queen (A BBC radio drama) 2004
See You at the Polls2002 , 2006
Mama Grace 2001
Constable Joe 1999

Maltina Danceall (2) 2008
‘Lagos’ - Documentary for Stanbic Bank 2007
Drumbeats 1999
Youth Magazine on EKO 89.75FM - Radio Presenter/Anchor 1997-1999