A group of professional filmmakers, actors, and film scholars under the aegis of Ibadan Film Circle (IFC) has described a recently released video of the burial ceremonies of late actress, Moji Olaiya, as unethical and wicked, alleging profit as motive of its producers.
Entitled ‘Canada to Grave’, the video, produced by Gbenga Adewusi’s Bayowa Films and Records company for his online streaming site, Yoruba Swag TV, IFC, in a statement made available to the media, said it finds disturbing, the action of Mr. Adewusi, an independent film marketer, who allegedly made a production of the recording of the burial of the late ace actress, with the intention of selling and profiting. The group therefore calls on other practitioners, including members of Theater and Movie Production Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners (ANTP), and official regulatory bodies such as the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), and members of the public to join in condemning what it describes as “the wicked opportunism of Bayowa Films and others who are in league with such a heartless production.”
Meanwhile, Adewusi who got wind of the IFC’s statement is spoiling for war, claiming that the IFC is misunderstanding his intentions.
In a message to some members of the association, Adewusi is demanding retraction and apology, failure to which he will press legal action.
He wrote: “I never release or plan to release any recording on VCD/DVD. My recording was showing on my Yoruba Swaga television channel 310 on CONSAT and YOUTUBE. If you don’t stop this malicious propaganda and write an apology I will take legal action against you.”
But the group is of the opinion that whether or not the video is for sale via VCD or DVD, Adewusi still makes money by streaming the video on YouTube.
Adewusi however claimed he contributed immensely to the burial ceremonies, thus, IFC cannot accuse him of profiting from its outcome.
He said: “If you don’t know go and ask the chairman and members of Moji Olaiya burial committee. I contributed a lot to the farewell service of song and tribute night and none of you bad ‘belle’ people attended.”
According to the statement signed by IFC ‘s Administrator, Mr. Niji Akanni on Tuesday, there are no indications that the grieving family of the late actress is aware of the alleged intention behind the documentary, ‘ Canada to Grave’.
“There is no indication that the grieving family of the late actor is aware of this production; neither is there any indication that the production is going to be only for charity or support purpose,” said IFC.
“By this act, Mr. Adewusi’s company has done something provocatively unethical and criminal worthy of sanctions by all stakeholders in the Nigerian creative arts industry. In its entire concept, the project is obnoxious and dehumanizing, just as the “documentary” is inappropriately titled – absolutely spiteful, vulgar, careless, sarcastic and gloating, as if Ms. Olaiya’s predicament was self-inflicted and therefore worthy of jest.
“We ask “who sells a film on the burial of a colleague, and where is Mr. Adewusi’s sense of decency and respect for the dead?” It may be argued that very little thought went into the making of the ‘project’, but we aver that so much deliberate but selfish thought went into the production.”
Continuing, UFC said, “We believe that, unless otherwise determined by her immediate family, the video of Ms. Olaiya’s burial is legally the private property of her estate. It is absolutely distasteful and brutally wicked for an enterprise like Bayowa Films, its owner(s) and collaborators to engage in acts which tend to show them as reaping from the sweat, sorrow and tears of others.
“IFC condemns Bayowa Films production of Olaiya’s burial ceremony for commercial purpose.
“IFC is committed to contributing to the education of the film sectors of the Nigerian creative industry. We use this opportunity to reject the idea of free but uncivilized market practices where anything goes, where professional decorum is only secondary to the scramble for wealth,” it stated.
The Nation, last Saturday, had described as uncreative, the title of the said video.
Adewusi has been under huge criticism in the social media since the release of the video.
Source: The Nation.