Admin l Friday, January 19, 2018
LAGOS, Nigeria – In 1985, a bored Delta Steel worker and former Nigerian Observer reporter and showbiz writer sold his VW Beetle car and used part of the proceeds to publish a small book based on his escapades with the vibrant deejays of the 1970s in the former Bendel State.
As no significant profit accrued from the little known pictorial , book, whose remnants rested on the author’s shelves in Lower Erejuwa Road, Warri for over 30 years until his children, who were either babies or unborn before or at the time of writing, began flipping through the fading pages as they were growing older as primary and secondary school kids.
Suddenly, in the last one year, two of them who are filmmakers developed a brilliant idea of turning the book titled, “Bendel Deejays” into an exciting docu-drama titled “My Father’s Book (MFB)”. Now, Idhebor Crowther Kagho and Akpor Harley Kagho are both graduates like their veteran journalist father Caesar O. Kagho, from the elite National Film Institute (NFI), Jos, Plateau State.
Idhebor, the older of the two Lagos-based filmmakers, is a well-known cinematographer, award winner and nominee while Akpor, the younger, is a prolific film and television scriptwriter and award nominee.
Though they never knew star deejays like Charlie Bee, Melis Menta, Ray Samuel Jnr, Richmond “Bloodstone” McGray, McEarl Spinn, Barry Bee, Stagger Lee, Chris Morris, Kelly Bee, Nosa Black, Emma “Dirty” Boogie, Murphy Okojie, Godfrey Okosun, Tony Azeta, Monday Midnight, Isaac Brew, Silver Forgy, Fred Parker and the Magic Feet, and others who bore sway in the disco world of former times, Idhebor and Akpor got extremely fascinated to discover that there was a beautiful and glorious era long before they were born.
They were equally thrilled with the fact that there were night clubs and discotheques bearing names like Sharps (Benin) Mr. A (Benin), Lisa Mona (Benin), Go-Go Room (Warri), Genesis (Warri), Exodus (Warri), Nova (Benin), New Langa (Benin), Adesua (Ubiaja), Rabbit Club (Warri) Holiday Hotels (HH, Asaba) and even as far as to Bolingo Hotels in Onitsha, Anambra State
What was the motivation to make this document?
There were a couple of elements that motivated me to produce this documentary but the one I will talk about for now is my dad. My dad was my motivation because having accepted a career as a filmmaker; gradually I started realizing how inspirational knowing my father has been to my craft. So when the opportunity came to tell his story to the world, that alone was a very big excitement. I grew up reading my father’s book and I have always felt it was something special but it never clicked until I found myself working as an artist.
Tell us what the documentary is all about? (Akpor)
The documentary, aptly titled “My Father’s Book” might sound like a sentimental piece of nostalgia at first glance, but really it is deeper than that. At the heart of it, it is a battle cry, though a lone howl in the wilderness, urging us to remember when we were kings, reminding us of our finest hour, and never to forget. Because life is fleeting and the things that truly make us immortal can be easily forgotten when we are old and feeble if we do not make an effort to cast them in stone or on film, as it is.
What do you plan to achieve with this documentary? (Idhebor)
What we plan to achieve with this documentary is to inspire as many people as possible, especially young people trying to build a career, that it is very important to understand the value of continuity in what we do and also what it means to be authentic in what we produce as craftsmen and artists, because truly our work is what will do the talking in our later days.
What do you plan to achieve with this documentary? (Akpor)
We live in a time where the coolest things are quickly forgotten, overtaken immediately by something cooler, grander, more… wow-inspiring. This has spawned a culture of forgetfulness. The documentary featured a lot of people who, at the time thought they would live forever, stay forever young and relevant. Look at it, just a few decades ago and it sounds like ancient history. We sincerely do hope this phenomenon never happens to us. This is why we made this documentary.
Is the documentary going to start a revolution in the entertainment scene today? (Idhebor)
Yes, I do believe this documentary, if wildly disseminated, will serve as a major empowerment tool for young people who are already famous, or are on that trajectory, and are successful in their own rights. Also, to those aspiring for greatness, the stories of people featured in this documentary, especially the story of Charlie Bee who was an outstanding deejay, known for various innovations he embedded in his craft as a major showbiz player. I believe his story alone will challenge the mindsets of Nigerian Deejays/beatmakers, his life will serve as a major source of encouragement to them, to be more dynamic in their crafts, to be mad about it.
Why a documentary instead of a feature? (Akpor)
The documentary is a precursor to something greater to come, and that’s why we made it short, brutal and bite-sized. It is evocative, makes you want to scream. Or have a child. Or make a movie. It is more resonant that way. What comes after is a dream, a moment in time that can be visited again and again.
After this what’s your next project? (Idhebor)
After this, we will be working on another documentary film, a more cultural piece, which will also be a collaboration with my brother, by the way. MFB is just the start of a series of projects that our production company BCBLUNT Films, will be spinning out in the next few years. This is actually a start of something huge, we believe.
Since you both are directing, how do you make it work? (Akpor)
Speaking plainly, I’d say I’m not a very technical guy. I can’t tell you the type of lens you’d need for a particular scene but I can block it so well I can make a stone weep. My brother is the fstop philosopher. Together, we make an incredible synergy.
Since you both are directing how do you make it work? (Idhebor)
Apart from being a cinematographer I also have a great passion for directing and our collaboration started in film school where I won the best student short film as a director at the Zuma Film Festival 2009 with a script titled “Little Babel”, a script my brother wrote as a project for our class production workshop. After school, we have worked together on different projects, one of them got us both nominated as best Cinematographer and Best Script Writer at the 2014 African Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) with the short film “Living Funeral”.
The film was further screened at various international film festivals, including the Festival de Cannes short film corner. So, working together on this project (MFB) as co-directors was seamless and it is something we hope to continue doing.