Video movie, Lagos 2004

Five actors in search of Grace through Lagos. Who is Grace? Grace is a woman, another actor, an author... the missing link, their hope or just another 419*)

*) Nigerian criminal code for fraud


By and with: Makinde Adeniran (Tooro), Niji Akanni (Twentydos), Niels Bormann (Markus), Matthias Breitenbach (Werner), Ehi Omokhuale (Tule) and with Ted Mukoro (Guest Character), Janvier Sossoy (Bartender)

Camera/Sound - Sunday Ogunyemi,
Camera Assistant - Ikola Omoniyi and Joseph Olandunjo
Script/Continuity - Seun Olaiya,
Production Coordinator - Ejiro Obuks-Edenya,
Driver - Wale Soremekun,
Editor - Afeez Animashaun (Lagos) und Peter Ogurzow (Berlin).
Postproduction (Lagos) - Top Ten Studio/Rulie Communication.

Artistic Director - Dirk Cieslak

Mit support from Maison de France, Lagos and Heinrich Boell Fundation, Lagos Office.

Law and beauty. There are beautification projects all over the town. They get ready to plant flowers everywhere. Traffic stops once a months for four hours throughout the whole city and you see people all over the place cleaning and rearranging their city. The government made a new law and has launched, related to that law, a campaign: KAI (Kick Against Indiscipline). They placed signs everywhere and set up a special police task force with big wooden sticks on brand-new Chinese motorbikes to enforce the new law. If they get someone on the spot he could come for three months into prison. In Lagos you have to knock on next front door and ask for using the toilet. No problem.

Industry. Every week thirty movies are on release in Nollywood. They produce, distribute and refinance movies very much faster than in Bollywood or in Hollywood. You get a script written in ten days. You rent a house and you shoot a ninety minutes movie in not more than twelve days with one DV Camera in front of that house, inside the house and behind the house. You release that movie into the market another ten days later. You have fourteen days maximum to sell the copies on videotape or DVD to cover your costs and make your profit. Then pirates have taken over your movie and start selling it all over West Africa without paying any copyrights to you. People really going for these movies and adore the stars.

Hunger Buster. Werner loves beans and rice with red pepper stew and meat. He knows very well how to pick the best pieces of meat out of the pot on the fireplace. Werner loves it to take his friends out for dinner to a new spot he discovered while walking and searching for Grace through the backstreets of Ebute Meta or Surylere on the mainland of Lagos. Usually he orders rice for thirty Nira, Beans for forty Nira and six pieces of meat for ten Nira each. The hot pepper stew comes with the rice for free. One Euro is one hundred sixty nine Nira. Werner is very happy in Lagos.

Dreamland. Ten minutes by boat from the centre of the city there is the beach where you can swim in clear blue water and hang out beneath palm trees. Tarkwa Bay. You get delicious food offered by beautiful people and tropical drinks for free. On day Tule will take his whole family there and have a wonderful time.

Blitzkrieg(er). If you move fast and with the attitude of being basically smart, friendly and demanding you get what you want. This city is not made for strolling. You have to move straight on. Cash and carry. Each corner of the city that reaches a certain density of people or traffic gets slow turns into a marketplace. You see people moving around everywhere with little or big thick black plastic bags filled with bundle of Nira. Even if you buy a car or a house you have to put the money cash on the table. All the money circulation is real, direct hand to hand, face to face. No credit given to anyone. No credit cards or payment by checks accepted. You pay your tax right away every couple of days direct to the police or to the civil servant who is on duty for your actual request. There are a lot of banks like in every other city, but it is not clear to whom they do service.

Hope. You can read about people’s character in the faces like nowhere else. You see immediately if your opposite is good or bad. People do not hide intentions. That gives you always a great feeling of control and security. Be aware that all the other people around you have all the same problems you get into.

Appreciation to: National Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Mr. Toyin Fakile, Absolut Jam Musical Shop, 45,Faloly Road off Akerele, Surylere Lagos, Jesse-King (JK), Mr.Segun Olowo, Foundry Sculpture Engeneering 23, Mary Street, Irawo B/Stop, Owode Ajegunle, Mr. Ted Mukoro International Press Centre Cyber Cafe Ogba Lagos, Mrs. Omiyale, Okbaba Market, Chairman & the entire marketwoman of Okobaba Market Agege Lagos, Heinrich Böll Foundation, 96, Omo Osagie Street, Ikoyi, Miss Juliet John, Tarkwa-Bay, Tolulope Bradley Oke Waterworld Beachbar & Restaurant, Tarkwa-Bay, Godswill Nursery & Primary School Abaranje, Ikotun Lagos 08037129414, Optimum International School
Mainland Hotel Oyingbo Lagos, French Cultural Centre, Kingsway Road, Lagos, La Source Bar at French Cultural Centre, Mr. Adebowale Olaoye, The Redeemed Christian Church of God Gethsemane, Parish Oyingbo Lagos, Mr. Hans Koeppel, Embassy of the Federal Rebublic of Germany – Lagos Office., Mr. Axel Harneit Sievers, Director and the staff of the Boell Fondation, Lagos Office. Mr. Joël Bertrand, Director and the staff of the Maison de France, Lagos Kabat Egbon, Lagos. Matthias Heeder, Hamburg.

Thank you to all the people in Lagos who welcomed us so warmly and gave us so much support to make the project possible.