This is great! Veteran Nigerian director Tunde Kelani embracing social media – specifically, video sharing site YouTube – to inform, excite and enthrall fans as development of his latest feature film officially begins.
Not that he's a luddite. He's on Twitter and is active there. But this was particularly pleasing to see. The film is still in the screenwriting stage, but he's already taking to YouTube, launching a video series that will allow fans to follow the progress of the making of the film, via regular updates.
It was in November that Kelani revealed that, for his next film, he would continue his streak of adapting novels by Nigerian authors, and was considering of Olayinka Abimbola Egbokhare's Dazzling Mirage, as his next work.
Confirmed about a month ago, it most definitely will be his next film.
Unfortunately, for those of us here in the USA, the book isn't readily available for purchase. I couldn't even find a copy on eBay, although something tells me that will probably change soon, since Kelani has given the novel some exposure with the announcement of his planned adaptation.
But what I did find out, thanks to a Google search, was that the novel's story revolves around a female sickle cell carrier and the seemingly endless flow of problems that enter into her life as a result of her genes.
Betrayal, loyalty, love, travails, and triumphs against the physical pains, emotional trauma are experienced in the life of the sufferer as she forges ahead in the quest to be self fulfilled. It also unveils and challenges certain myths around about sickle cell sufferers.
Director Kelani added this in a statement:
‘’Even then it is an interesting love story, because all of us are connected directly or indirectly to the sufferers of this ailment. I’m intrigued by the writer’s approach to weave a love story with it and that to me, it is an attraction. I have also had personal relationship with sufferers of this ailment and I consider it my responsibility to bring their story to fore.’’
Kelani has officially commissioned award-winning London-based Nigerian screenwriter Ade Solanke to adapt the book, which she's apparently doing right now. Solanke's resume is quite impressive, so this should be a well-written work.
For starters, she has been the British Film Institute Writer-in-Residence, a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and a Hawthornden Fellow. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts, she gained an MFA in Screenwriting and later worked in the story departments of Sundance, New Line and Disney in LA. She also holds a post-graduate degree in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths College, London, as well as an Honors degree in English Literature from the University of Sheffield. A former journalist, she has written for BBC Radio 4, The Guardian, The Times, amongst many others.
And that's just a sample; Like I said, she's quite accomplished. Let's see what she does with Dazzling Mirage.
No word on casting for the film adaptation yet. But I suppose it's too early for that, as the script has to be written first.
Kelani's last film, MAAMi played on the international film festival circuit, and opened in Nigeria last year. I don't believe it ever played in New York; if it did, I missed it.
Let's hope it eventually hits DVD or VOD/Digital so that more of us around the world can see it.
Here's the first installment of his video diary series detailing the progress of the making of Dazzling Mirage (you'll find a promo poster underneath):