Daniel,ijeoma Agu husband pays special tribute to filmhouse boss on his 50th birthday

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Sometime last year as we were about to embark on the journey with FilmOne on a script titled Taxi Driver – Oko Ashewo, something unfortunate happened.

Once FilmOne got involved they immediately scheduled a production timeline and release date for the movie. A timeline that required the movie to be ready in 6 months from the date of commitment. They equally made suggestions for the script to be more accessible to a wider audience and being an artist and economist I totally understood the implications.

Immediately with no time to spare I sort to secure one of the most talked about writers in the Nollywood space to help us come to a common ground with our new partners.

For reasons best known, that so-called writer not only prolonged delivering a draft at the expected deadline date but failed to deliver a draft in line with earlier discussions and expectations agreed.

This led to disappointment, panic, uncertainty and fear that our new partners would pull out of the project.

Then it happened, we were invited to FilmHouse head office for a meeting with the CEO Kene Mkparu. As we were being led to the top floor of the building I jokingly commented we were being led to the BIG MAN for our final judgement. However I was praying silently for everything to be in our favour.

After some minutes the BIG MAN arrived, exuding every attribute of a successful entrepreneur. Instead of being judgmental he smiled and started to encourage us to keep hopes alive. He reassured us of his belief and commitment to our project and was certain it would be a commercial success. After that meeting we knew we could write that script and sort to do just that.

Months later, Taxi Driver not only beat James Bond’s Spectre in Nigerian cinemas, set a record opening weekend for a Nigerian film, it went on to become the 3rd highest grossing Nigerian movie in Nigeria cinemas in 2015.

Taxi Driver has equally been a critical darling screening at the prestigious Toronto International film festival and other festivals worldwide.

At one of these film festivals in Paris I was privileged to pick his brain while he went shopping for a French dictionary as he was determined to be fluent in French before the end of 2016. I listened in awe to this amazing guy who wants nothing but the growth of an industry with so much potentials. He spoke of his struggles and ambitions with such an honesty only a few can possess. He left me with one advice; Speak after you’ve proved yourself through your actions.

Happy Birthday Sir on your BIG 5-0!

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