I cannot o. She is Bolaji’s wife, and Bolaji is the financial power behind the massive new documentary named after my mum – Inyang Ibok
By the time I sent the initial rushes to my Anerican Agent- she screamed. Edgar, this is exciting. I am on holiday in Dallas, and by the time I get back to New York, I will start pitching it to buyers. Welldone.
I have always wanted to do documentaries. Everybody has said after theatre go to films. I won’t ever. I don’t like films, I don’t even have the presence of mind to sit still and watch the thing from end to end except the other kind. Even that one sef na 5 minutes.
So I always knew I would do a documentary, and theatre would be my subject. When I was ready, I went shopping for a producer.
I knew nothing about the process, so I needed a steady hand that would give me a product I could take to the international film festival circuits.
I spoke to a few directors but cdnt feel them. I wanted depth something different and something that would shock.
I didn’t want a safe vehicle that would be boring and say the same things over and over again.
Over the last few years, I have amazed a rich flow of material from our plays and knew that the documentary would be very rich.
It would be an expose on society and also expose theater and its practitioners in a way that it has never been done before.
I was now hearing budget figures that could buy a house in ikoyi. I wasn’t scared of figures. I have never been scared of numbers, but these numbers I was hearing didn’t make sense
Cue in Bolaji. Bolaji is a brilliant banker and very calm. I went to market him to sponsor a play, and he mentioned that he would like his wife to work with me on the said play
I said ok….. then he said, “Oh, she is into films and have done some nice things and I said ok…. I am looking to shoot a documentary. Can I meet her.
She is dark with deep penetrating eyes. Very serious looking and not too open to humor. Very professional but not with the intimidating look of most women of her status
She immediately took control and said Edgar I have the director.” He is the best and can work within our budget.
Pudie came in. He was cuddly with my kind of hair an ijaw man but very friendly. He looked like a soft pillow, and u suddenly felt the urge to just hug him and sleep.
We told him the budget. We had the first visioning session in my house. Olisa Adibua and Yemi shodimu, who would eventually narrate the documentary where in attendance.
After the meeting, I went back to Bolaji to cut the financial deal and closed with him. Funding was now no problem, and work began.
Toyin worked very astutely. She got almost 90% of our chosen subjects except Bolanle Austen Peters, whose tight schedule made tracking her down with an expensive camera crew running all over Lagos very herculean
We got Ken Etete the ever busy oil and gas magnate at his GYm and tied down Austen the handsome MD of Anchor at Insurance.
Toyin coordinated the shoot, the interviews, the technical parts, and most especially me.
I can be very impatient and erratic. If something is not going my way, esp within the creative process, I will rant, shout, and curse.
She held me down perfectly. It is on record that not for once did I shout even when I called to say the Olu of Warri was coming and I needed a crew in place, and she said it was not possible. I was just gentle.
The most herculean shoot was carrying over 300 actors with the DG of the national theatre. to shoot what is looking like the largest ever theatrical photo shoot in our history.
Toyin came with Bolaji straight from a family stuff and watched very carefully as her people performed magic.
It wasn’t easy pulling and pushing over 300 mad people into positions, and what I saw at the documentary made me almost cry.
As I preview the last rushes of the documentary, I see a brilliant work of art, and before pple starts saying ohhh Edgar u are brilliant.” Ohh u are a genius. Ihh, how do u do these things? Let me quickly say na Toyin and Pudie no be me
Toyin has been remarkable on this project she kept to budget and even gave me back N100k – unheard off.
Put together a magical team who much more importantly delivered the very best in cinematic quality, telling the story that I really want to tell.
This documentary named after my mother will tour the world. We will be submitting it to Film festivals in Canada, South Africa, Brazil, and the rest in my bid to celebrate Nigerian theatre.
*But before then, I will exclusively premier it to 300 of my closest friends who will pay N5k each to attend, and then I will give all of the N1.5m raised to just one widow.
Just one widow o.
Thank you, toyin
Duke of Shomolu