2 March 2018

Nigeria: What New Animated Film Will Do for Nigerian Cinema

Jazz musician and filmmaker, Miller Luwoye, has given more insight into the much anticipated Nigerian animation movie, SADE.

Speaking at a press conference at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos on February 15, 2018, Miller, as he is fondly called by friends, says his plan was to make SADE a melting point of culture and great value, which is the hallmark of a people's identity. Miller, who has written a number of 'edutainment' materials for children, including the acclaimed animated nursery rhymes and other children songs, is furthering his flair for family entertainment with SADE, his first feature film. A Greathouse Entertainment Network production, SADE tells the story of a little girl, Sade and her family, who adopt TEJ, a wandering dog and victim of a hit-and-run driver. Soon, the society discovers that TEJ is not an ordinary dog; hence the race by the 'powers that be' to abduct the dog from Sade's family begins. Miller said he conceived the SADE idea while on a flight to Los Angeles in 2013 and it has been a purposeful journey since then.

"If anyone knows about animation here, it's a journey; it's a big journey... so I started watching CBeebies, Toy Story series to get some ideas. And I thought it would be good for SADE to be a melting point of culture and great value." According to the entertainer, SADE rekindles the African folklores, using the modern cinematic technology. "I grew up in Lagos before going to the United Kingdom to study. I thought of the then NTA with Jimi Solanke, and I wanted SADE to make a statement," said Miller who described Solanke as the World Disney of Nigeria. He also has praise for actors like Bimbo Manuel, Norbert Young, Omowunmi Dada, Gabriel Afolayan, Biodun Aleja, Jude Orhorha, Yemi Shodimu, Judith Audu, Kate Adepegba, Deji Adenuga, Ngozi Nwosu and others who voiced the different characters in the movie. "It's a privilege to have the amount of people we worked with on this project," he said.

He noted that as a Jazz musician and filmmaker, "I thought there has to be a marriage of music and animation. When Hollywood wants to pass a message across, they do it through movie," adding that "for the first time, you would hear Bata sound in animation. As a matter of fact, one track in SADE features 10 drummers." The original songs written for the SADE project feature King Sunny Ade, Cobhams Asuquo, Deola Adebiyi, Omolara Ayodele and productions from some of the hottest producers on the scene, including Young John, Ini Dminstrel, Cobhams Asuquo, Kent Edunjobi and others. According to the director, some of the activities lined up for the release of SADE include a series of music concerts and a glamorous premiere. The Casting Director/ Production Manager, Abiodun Aleja, who is also an actor in SADE said: "When I saw the script, I was wowed. We came together and made some inputs, and when it was time for casting, he said he wanted the best, and I promised we'll get the best. Well, this is about voicing, and I can tell you that the actors we have in SADE are some of the best in the Nigerian film industry." Also speaking, Line Production, Kate Adepegba, whose role on the project resonated so well with the cast members, recalled that she met Miller on a film location in the UK where they talked about film prospects in Nigeria.

"And in 2013, he came back with the SADE project, and I keyed into it, and like Biodun said, we had the finest on that set. They are highly opinionated people, but on that set, we were all in accord. SADE is going to make it big because it's huge." On his part, Pastor Olukayode Owolabi, the Executive Producer of SADE said: "As a pastor, I thought of the Bible as a big book with different segments that can be scripted and adapted into a movie. For me, it's about giving back to the people. When Miller came along, we began to look into things we can do together, and then this idea of a family oriented movie came. Not only is it full of action, it will also teach you how to treat people. If Nigerians can treat their dogs and cats very well, they will treat their neighbours very well." According to Owolabi, who believed in Miller's vision, SADE, which will be showcased in other countries, is going to be the bridge between Nollywood and Hollywood. "Why are our films not in Cannes and Toronto?" he asked. "But when they watched this one, they were amazed and shocked. And I hope we will be able to take it from here, to express our other uniqueness to the world."


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