Film Business, Music Business

Film Review: Jeta Amata Misses the Plot in ‘Black November’ by Toni Kan

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Black November(On or about) a week prior to the private screening of Jeta Amata’s ‘Black November’ for Hollywood press and critics, which I had no idea of, I wrote a preliminary and informal review of the movie on Facebook based on the trailer and had engaging discussions there (my discussions were limited to the trailer). I discussed the same identity issue I subsequently raised on AML in my article, ‘‘Black November,’ Jeta Amata’s Highly Disappointing & Unnecessary Identity Struggle in Hollywood.”

The same week I published my article, I again voiced my opinion of the film’s trailer when I was alerted to Variety’s scathing review of the film. While ALL Hollywood critics stated and/or seem to suggest that Jeta Amata was a novice filmmaker, at best; and some even called his work “incompetent,” I made it clear I felt he was a “great” filmmaker but missed the boat on ‘Black November’ as a result of forgetting his true identity.

In response to my comment on social media (twitter) Jeta Amata called me out of the blue solely based on my criticism of his work. I had never given him my number and never authorized the sharing of my number with him, without my permission. He wanted to know why I was criticizing his work and asked, also out of the blue, that I promote his work. I refused but made clear I will be glad to provide my platform (my podcast show) so he can respond to critics, if he wishes to come on the show, however, it would not change my view and criticism of his work.

He gave me his email address which I never had. He shared his information with me to send him the standard official invitation I sent any guest and created an urgency in wanting to respond to his critics. I obliged and sent a standard pre-canned invitation I send to guests I invite on the show. He subsequently sent me a response declining based on an “emergency” and that he would reschedule at a more convenient time. No big deal. I moved on with life and of course sharing my 50kobo, for all it is worth, with the public, something I have done since college, law school and writing for others, including my law school newspaper.

So, why did Jeta Amata turn our brief dialogue into deliberate  false stories he created about me, and shared it with third parties? What’s equally disturbing is that Jeta Amata praises the Hollywood critics and says that their scathing reviews are great because he is “lucky” they would even write about the work of an African man. However, for me, the critic of Nigerian heritage, he moves forward with defamatory, slanderous and libelous stories, again underscoring my point of his immense identity crisis and issue that affected the outcome of his film.
Jeta AmataI have a big problem with his conduct that has been quite injurious to me and will take the appropriate course of action where necessary and in due time.

For now, suffice it to say that based on the money spent on this film, $12million plus, I do not believe Jeta Amata or his investors will recoup his /their investments. I also think his perambulation  of the film in Africa will only go so far. Nigerians, particularly, are a more enlightened audience and this idea that filmmakers can continue to exploit their own, after they have been rejected by the West and kept their own at arms length is becoming outdated. Nigerians/Africans should not have to deal or eat the left overs from their own people who do not believe they are worthy enough of the best servings, like their white counterparts/or the West. Enough is enough.

Jeta’s inability to also handle constructive criticism especially from his fellow country man/woman also shows a very bad attitude and a filmmaker that needs a reality check. You do not wage unnecessary war with the press/media just because you do not like what they have to say.

This film by all accounts, including from yet another critic of Nigerian heritage that you can read below, missed the boat.

I did not need to see the movie to make preliminary observations from the trailer about my impressions and concerns. The film was ready since 2011 with a very strong Nigerian narrative. You remix it numerous times and take the heart and soul out of the film, as reflected by the remixed trailer and all reviews so far. Surely you don’t expect great minds to rubber stamp your film just so you can feel good about yourself, do you?

I followed this movie from the onset and granted the first major exclusive interview to Mbong Amata, and usually, knock on wood, when I call or make my predictions, it is as I say they are. I called this before anyone of the Western or Nigerian critics even saw the remixed film. Why am I not being praised by Nigerians for always being steps ahead and on the pulse of the creative industry? Do I have to be white for Nigerians like Jeta Amata to appreciate me and my immense work and contributions to Africa’s creative industries? Such identity crisis projected on me, I reject. 

The bottom line is that Jeta Amata is a filmmaker suffering from a serious identity crisis that has clouded the result of what would have been a great film. He needs to deal with that reality and stop throwing a temper tantrum when one of his own says exactly what the White man has said, even before the white man says it.

-Uduak

(P.s.: The few “positive reviews,” if they can be called that, have been sponsored posts on blogs like Bella Naija and Linda Ikeji, and a handful of the persons giving so called praises include the actors/talents in the film, a clear showing of bias and a conflict of interest.)

Jeta Amata Misses the Plot in ‘Black November’ by Toni Kan

“Black November attempts to be many things all at once; it is both advocacy and propaganda, Nollywood and Hollywood but it fails woefully in becoming something of character and substance.” ~ Toni Kan

“I really wanted to enjoy watching Jeta Amata’s movie Black November but like an errant step child, it kept rebuffing my love. I had read scathing and devastating reviews from journals like the Hollywood Report, Variety, LA Weekly all of which eviscerated the movie and wanted to see it and review it, to show the world that Jeta Amata has done something worthwhile and impressive. So, I went looking for it and found it.

Black November attempts to be many things all at once; it is both advocacy and propaganda, Nollywood and Hollywood but it fails woefully in becoming something of character and substance. And the fault lies squarely with Mr. Amata who is a triple threat on this one; writer, producer and director. Scratch that, he is a quadruple threat actually as writer, producer and director and SONGWRITER. Yep!

This movie does not make Jeta Amata look good. This is the simple truth and a very kind way of putting it.

The movie has a fine story, one anyone familiar with the devastation and environmental degradation of the Niger Delta must be used to; a young girl, US educated thanks to a scholarship grant from an oil company returns home to a tragic incident which for want of a better word ‘radicalises’ her but her radicalisation is fraught with indecisions; she is a half-hearted revolutionary; wanting the oil company to pay yet not quite sure how to go about it. In one scene, Ebiere Perema played by Mbong Amata in trying to convince Dede (played by Hakeem Kae-Kazim ) massacres the English Language when she says ‘We can do this without resourcing [sic] to violence.’ But then who would blame her and Jeta. Their thoughts must have been on resource control. Moving on, I did say that the movie has a good story but then a story is different from a plot and here lies the problem.

Many people mistake the story for the plot a problem Mr. Amata clearly has. The story, to use a simple analogy, is a journey while the plot is the means of getting there. Black November is not an easy journey. The first ten minutes in America are the best. Jeta, who must have dreamt of shooting an action thriller packs a wallop in those opening moments. There are guns, rippling muscles, big cars, car chases, road blocks and a hostage situation. All in ten minutes and then the movie hurtles downhill as we go to Nigeria.

The Nigerian scenes and even the picture quality are drab and very Third Worldly as if they dropped the hi-tech equipment in America and picked up antiquated ones here in Nigeria. Mbong Amata, the star of the movie is a former beauty queen, Miss Akwa Ibom no less. She may be good in so many things but acting is obviously not one of them. She is stiff and wooden and is neither revolutionary nor matyr…. “

The Netng.net has the full story.

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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1 Comment

  1. RichyGame says:

    Where's Bagalore?

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