Nigerian actress Stella Damascus is pretty much angry right now and in a new video, that’s going viral, she’s questioned the authority Leila Djansi has to liken the Nollywood movie industry to Hitler.
From what Ghbase.com has gathered it appears, Nigerian A-List actress Stella Damascus took offense to the statement Leila made and in a video which has gone viral, Stella angrily questions why Leila would liken Nollywood to Hitler.
Let’s give you a quick gist on what really happened. Leila in a documentary, ‘Jimmy Goes To Nollywood’ that was shot some four (4) years ago, mentioned that, new film makers or producers in Nigeria shouldn’t tag themselves with Nollywood and that they should call themselves Independent Film makers.
“I don’t think this new crop of film makers should be put under the umbrella of Nollywood, I think they should be called Independent Filmmakers, because a name carries a lot, if you start tagging it Nollywood, every negative conation that comes with it, it’s like calling your son HITLER” she said in the documentary.
Although the documentary is 4 years old, Stella Damascus must have just seen it and found it necessary to address the statement Leila made. Stella also questions why Leila would say that, they wear the same clothes in movies in real life even when they are not acting.
According to Stella, Leila has insulted all of the Nigerian big names like Omotola, Tonto Dikeh and even herself by comparing Nollywood to Hitler. We have embedded her video below, so you can watch it for yourself below.
It’s surprising this is coming up when the documentary in which Leila said that is 4 years old already, so your Favorite Entertainment Blog, Ghbase.com had an exclusive chat with Leila Djansi to answer some questions.
Read through our interview below:
Question: Why did you say, new Producers should not tag themselves as Nollywood?
Leila Djansi: On two separate occasions, I have had Nollywood distributor friends tell me: Leila, let me teach you how to make a Nollywood film. They gave me the formula and to be honest, that is not the best way to structure a story. But, there is a huge market for them. The audience palette has been trained. You cannot change that nollywood and you should not try. It is serving it’s purpose. Yes, as the world grows, people are shying away from that style. Screaming, voodoo, parts 1-20 etc. New nollywood films are creating a whole new audience and structure. You cannot blanket both phenomenon. One will sink. Every films industry in the world has been through this phase. Look at art. We have cubism, modernism, avant gardes, expressionism. In film, we have the Italian new wave, we had the nouvelle vague. These were all groups of people who rose up to create new art forms. So, saying that New nollywood films should be called something different is not a knock on Nollywood at all. I’m simply saying, consider it. Because Nollywood has its identity, what you’re doing is different. You can’t call some of these new films Nollywood films. You short circuit it’s life because someone will misunderstand the reference and think it’s the same old. Why are they themselves referring to it as New Nollywood then?
Question 2: Why do you feel it’s wrong for a Nigerian actress to wear the same dress she wore in a movie outside the movie scene?
Leila Djansi: It’s not about the ‘dress’. Its about the character. You PLAY a character. You are not that character when the film is out on DVD. Costuming in film is a creative form. You create a character.
Question 3: Stella feels hurt when you said: ”tagging them as Nollywood is like calling your son Hitler” what do you have to say about that?
Leila Djansi: I think we need to find someone who speaks English to solve that little problem for us. If the lady is referring to Nollywood as Hitler, she should not put it on me! When Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed and likened it to heaven. Does that mean heaven is a mustard seed? How will we all fit into one seed if heaven is a seed??
I used one phrase, to illustrate why a name change is needed. Hitler is a name. Jesus is a name. Obama is a name, judas is a name. Real names. But who had that name. My mums middle name is Stella, and unfortunately, the lady who did the video is also Stella and so I did not even bother to watch cos I keep remembering my mum. Nollywood is a brand, u call something else that’s above it nollywood, you taint it. I didn’t create that system. That’s how life works.
Question 4: What’s your own definition for Nollywood?
Leila Djansi: What’s my definition of Nollywood. It’s the film industry of Nigeria.
Another reason why I believe new nollywod needs a change of name because they are cutting across nations. It could become a movement that unites other African filmmakers of like mind, wherin we create a formidable industry on the continent and change how the world views Africa.
Question 5: Do you have anything against Nigerian film makers?
Leila Djansi: Why would I? Why should I?
Question 6: Stella stated in the video that, your statement suggested that you had indirectly insulted all of the big names in the Nigerian industry like, Tonto dikeh, omotola and co.
Leila Djansi: She wants to rile them up against me. I am not surprised. Not everyone was happy when Elija, though he was on foot overtook Ahab who was on a chariot.
Question 7: People are of the view that, because you went to Film School in the States, it’s made you arrogant and that you feel, you know it all about film, what do you have to say about that? Would you still have been the famous Leila Djansi if you have not went to film school abroad?
Leila Djansi: Not sure how to respond. But i’ll illustrate. I just shot a film in Ghana. I was given 500 still photos. 300 of those pictures were of the 1st AD and the PM and the still photographer himself. I was upset. If we run an ‘industry’ where the 2 key people on a film set have the time to take pictures, on a hot set, then I thank God I could go somewhere, study a true art form and know something that will help me. If I tell you stories. You should read interviews the Beast of No Nation director gave about working in Ghana. MLK talked, Kwame Nkrumah talked, Mandela, they all jumped up and down and went to prison until change came. Call me any name, I will talk until change comes.
Question 8: A follow up to your response in q2. Stella stated that, they bring their own clothes to support the producers, because the budget for the movie is usually small, there’s no funding anywhere, so that explains why they wear the clothes again because it’s their own clothes they bought. When you are making your film, do you supply the cast with clothing
Leila Djansi: The follow up question:
Yes, I provide clothes for the cast. Even brassieres we provide. But, we also costume out of the actors closet. The wardrobe supervisor goes into the actors closet and and picks clothes that will suit the character. Wait, I get it now. In the interview with Jimmy, I talked about same clothes. I was not referring to that very same out fit. Goodness gracious!! How will I recognize that? I was referring to a sense of style. You see how misunderstood I am? It’s not about the green jacket or the jeans jacket. Oh God. It’s about how a character is put together by clothes.
Leila Djansi concluded the interview with this message to Stella Damascus:
“I have no energy to give to a woman who decides to twist my words and use it as “I am standing up for Nollywood” campaign to clean up her tattered image. I have read all about her. There are easier ways of reinventing yourself, Madam Stella. And you can start by making amends, not videos“
So what do you think? Was Stella just exaggerating or Leila went overboard? Share your views in the comment box below
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