Lancelot Imasuen wins Africa’s slot in 26-segment movie

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While many Nollywood filmmakers are seeking government appointments, with many more struggling with the association’s politics and hinging their excuses on the piracy-ridden film industry, one man who has remained consistent in the art is Benin, Edo State-born filmmaker, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen.

Known for historical flicks, Imasuen, the director of Adesuwa, is breaking new grounds, not just with his much- publicized epic movie, Invasion 1897, but he is also currently basking in the euphoria of being the only African director among the 26 selected directors making the short horror thrillers of The ABCs of Death series.

Only last September, the prolific filmmaker was at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he announced, alongside his associates, the birth of a new project, Feva TV, a 24-hour broadcasting meant to serve North America with African contents and rid that clime of the dearth that had led to huge pirating of Nigerian films.

Imasuen’s inclusion in the second part of The ABCs of Death has shot him to global limelight as millions of movie lovers await the next 26 segments of the horror series.

The first part of The ABCs of Death 2012 American anthology horror comedy film was produced by Ant Timpson and Tim League, a thriller of 26 different shorts, each by different directors spanning 15 countries.

The 26 chapters assigned a letter of the alphabet and the directors were free to choose a word to create a story involving death. The varieties of death range from accidents to murders. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and was released on VOD on January, 31 and in theatres on March 8, 2013, with end credits featuring the music of Australian band Skyhooks’ 1974 song, Horror Movie.

Known for movies that focus on the unexplored aspects of the African experience, including tribalism, witchcraft, crime, poverty, religion and folk beliefs, Imasuen has just concluded his own segment for the Alphabet P, a three-minute piece entitled Prince Venom, which explores the horrors of death anthology in Benin.

For The ABCs of Death 2, a contest was held for the role of the 26th director. The winner was UK-based director, Lee Hardcastle, who submitted the claymation short for T. The horror anthology runs with the tagline: 26 directors, 26 ways to die. For the first 25 segments, a group of 25 directors were engaged and each was given a letter of the alphabet and then tasked with creating a short film about death inspired by that letter. The result was a string of shorts, including “D is for Dogfight”; “F is for Fart”; “M is for Miscarriage” and more twisted titles to get the viewers’ heads spinning.

The filmmaker is expected to be in London later for the British locations of Invasion 1897, featuring Nigerian- born Charles ‘Chucky’ Venn, who is famous for his roles as Curtis Alexander in Sky’s One’s Dream Team; Tremaine Gidigbi in Footballers’ Wives and as Ray Dixon in EastEnders. It also stars the St. Lucian-born English actor, Joseph Marcell, who has acted in over 34 films and three TV shows, including The Santa Trap, Brothers And Sisters and The Bill- he is also popularly known for his role as Geoffrey, the English butler on the NBC sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The top Nigerian stars in the epic include Segun Arinze; Paul Obazele; Mike Omoregbe who played the lead role as Oba Ovoramwen; Charles Inojie and the late Justus Esiri.

Invasion 1897 has been endorsed by the Benin monarch, Oba Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopolo and the Edo State government.

The film production is co-financed by Senator Daisy Danjuma and South Atlantic Petroleum Limited and is supported by Capt. (Dr.) Hosa Okunbor, the chairman of FEVA TV in Toronto, Canada.

Meanwhile, UK-based J2konsult, which is marketing the movie, is also planning the London unit of the movie.

Invasion 1897 (Nogbaisi Ovonramwen), according to the filmmaker, is based on the invasion of the Benin Kingdom by the British Empire in 1897 and the looting of the priceless ancient artifacts of the Benin kingdom, including the famous commemorative head and pendant of ivory mask representing Queen Idia (from court of Benin, 16th century) who was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550.

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