In case you missed the story on Jeta Amata’s ‘Black November’ click here.
In a nutshell, Jeta Amata created a movie called ‘Black Gold.’ He later relocated to Los Angeles, reshot 60% of the completed movie and renamed it ‘Black November’ to create international appeal. The movie was released and you can see a sample review from Hollywood critics of the movie below. What’s interesting is that he ignored the African media during his initial screening, yet the few reviews from Africans seem to get his movie or what he was trying to accomplish, albeit there is still some criticism. In any event, a healthy debate ensued from my initial article shared on social media. Filmmaker and critic Charles Novia was one of the persons involved in the debate. During his input, he revealed the following information in relevant part:
“… I’m well informed to an extent about the production of the movie and I would share a bit of info on it. It started as a $500,000 or thereabouts movie with Eric Roberts and the other lady who plays Scofield’s love interest in ‘Prison Break’ ( forgotten the name now and can’t Google cos I’m typing fast) and that was groundbreaking in 2009 when we here first heard of it. Somewhere along the line, I think some addendum shoot was added for greater international appeal. The story kept expanding and budget escalated till its present $12m dollar budget with the box office stars. I don’t know what the final look of the movie is but my worry for Jeta is how the funds can be recouped especially as the movie was bankrolled by an oil magnate here in Nigeria, Captain Hosa, who ever since has not been favourably disposed to Nollywood because of the lapse and laggards in his financial returns for the movie.” ~Charles Novia
Rather interesting information which supports the concerns I raised in my initial article. I think Jeta Amata will have to rely heavily on the African audience to help him recoup that $12million investment. Lucky him, he has platforms like AML that has created awareness, and others that will follow, albeit we also discuss the lessons other filmmakers should note.
“…There’s little going on in the final product other than good intentions, as Jeta Amata always seems overreaching for the right buttons to push. The filmmaker has trouble developing scenes, characters and plots. Never have Rourke and Basinger seemed so in need of direction.” ~ LA Times
“…Don’t be fooled by the names of Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger on the marquee. Despite the tantalizing prospect of a reunion of the stars of a certain ’80s-era hit erotic drama, their minor presence is largely extraneous to the proceedings of Jeta Amata’s overwrought and preachy thriller concerning the rampant corruption and political dysfunction plaguing oil-rich Nigeria. Despite its laudable intentions and important social message, Black November is far too ineffective to have the desired impact.”~Hollywood Reporter
“Hollywood and Nollywood — the prolific, still export-resistant Nigerian film industry — don’t so much meet as exchange business cards in “Black November,” an impassioned but inert social tract disguised only notionally as a high-octane terrorism thriller. While the presence upfront of Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke lends the initial impression of cheerfully cheesy exploitation fare, their contributions turn out to be marginal: Auds chasing cheap thrills will be caught off guard by this earnestly angry study of Nigeria’s corruption-riddled oil industry, superficially bracketed by a standard-issue, Los Angeles-set hostage drama. Sadly, Jeta Amata’s film proves plodding and sanctimonious in either register. Finally getting a multiplatform release after languishing on the shelf since 2012 — following a premiere at the United Nations, no less — “Black November” (titled “Rise Up” on the copy viewed by this critic) won’t draw much international attention to its home country’s plight. ..~Variety
“…As well-intentioned as it is thoroughly inept, Black November would be a serious contender for year-end worst lists if it weren’t so painfully noble and sincere. It also benefits from timing: It’s is unlikely anyone is liable to remember the film in a week, let alone keep its hammy awfulness in mind 11 months from now.” ~The Dissolve
“…Oddly, that extra star power makes Black November look cheap. It’s threadbare for an action flick — we’ve seen Rourke glare at guns in a dozen other less important thrillers. The story Amata wants to tell is much simpler, and he might have been more successful sticking to his own guns and staying with his sturdy, empathetic heroine. We don’t need pop songs and campfire sex scenes and battered late-model sedans to make us care about his country. But, in fairness, given how little attention the West continues to pay Nigeria, it’s understandable that Amata thought we did.” ~The Village Voice Movies