As far back as I can remember, Africa Magic has always prided itself on telling contemporary African stories that could resonate with anyone in the world. Asides from licensing films and series from Nollywood, the company also take it as a matter of utmost importance to invest in local talent through their original films and shows.
I have vivid memories from childhood of Africa Magic Originals I saw growing up. If I pressed the I button on the DSTV remote control and saw that a film was an AMOF (short for Africa Magic Original Film), I always eased myself into watching regardless of whatever the logline said, regardless of who the director was or the year it was made. I didn’t care for those. The AMOF tag was all the convincing I needed to watch.
I knew Africa Magic films to be three things: simple, familial, and heartwarming. Those three features were what endeared them to me, such kinds of stories appeal to me the most. They were also better than the average Nollywood film, in terms of writing, directing, acting performances, and production value. In a nutshell, Africa Magic Original films came to represent excellence to me.
Years later and as they celebrate 20 years of excellent storytelling, I’m glad to know that Africa Magic Original films haven’t compromised on those core features that made them stand out years ago.
Africa Magic is currently running a campaign under the hashtag #MarchMovieMadness. What DSTV promises is a month filled with an overload of Nollywood films. 55 new films are to premiere this March on Africa Magic channels Showcase and Urban, channels 151 and 153 respectively. 25 of the movies to premiere are a mixture of acquired and commissioned films; these are all new films. The rest of the 30 are acquired films that will show on the Urban channel. And guess what? Some of these films are Nollywood classics, starring veterans of the industry like Pete Edochie, Olu Jacobs, Jim Iyke, Ini Edo, and Mercy Johnson. But my interest really is in the 14 commissioned Africa Magic original.
I made a tweet earlier in the month when DSTV announced the #MarchMadness campaign to see all the films and share my thoughts on some of them.
because I see a few of my faves here, I am going to be watching a couple of these films and will share my thoughts about my favourites of them for my substack. Who wants to watch with me? pic.twitter.com/QWnse7qLQV
— final champion. (@DikaOfoma) March 2, 2023
I have seen some of them and will now share my thoughts on them bhere:
(Premiered on AM Showcase on 04-03-2023)
Summary: Nonso (Eso Dike), an ‘accomplished playboy’ is collating a playbook. Aiming to share his vast knowledge and understanding of women and how to control them. To prove his theory and gather data, he decides to conduct a practical study with his close friends. He asks each of them to pick a woman of their choice, preferably one that is way out of their league, and then he gives them guidelines to help them get the girls. His advice works for all except one of his friends, who says that not a single one of the guidelines worked with the lady he picked. Convinced that his friend did not properly execute his instructions, Nonso decides to test his theory on her by himself and prove to his friends that all women are the same. He soon finds out that he is the way in over his head.
Thoughts: I enjoyed this. It was fun to see the master playboy fail at what he considers a profession. But what I liked most about The Playbook was the new faces the film introduced me to. It was pleasant to see actors whom I knew from nowhere really give good performances. My favourite actor was Oladipo Olarenwaju who played Femi. He was charismatic and effortless in his role.
The Playbook is directed by Muyiwa Aluko, who is the director of one of my favourite Nollywood romance films North East. And I think this says it enough. If you are a fan of fun romances where love triumphs at the end of the day, you should see this.
Now We Are Married
(Premiered on AM Showcase on 05-03-2023)
Summary: A romantic drama that follows a couple through the very rarely explored timeframe between the end of the wedding and the beginning of the marriage. Grace and Luke are newlyweds who are learning how to merge their lives together. They are living in the same house for the first time and finding out things about each other and marriage that is making them reconsider their vows mere days after saying them!
I like that Now We Are Married was a romance drama and stayed a romance drama, that it didn’t veer off course to become a political thriller or a crime caper or a PSA. Just like the synopsis, it explored the life of newlyweds with nuance and a clear understanding that there are no heroes or villains in the marriage, just two flawed people trying to make their new life work to the best of their abilities. I think Eso Dike and Tope Olowoniyan were believable as a couple, their chemistry gave me cause to root for them. It was also heartwarming. There were moments I found myself smiling with them and other moments where I was saddened by their dilemma and hoping that they reach an understanding that works best for them. Kudos to the writer and director, Lota Chukwu.
Other titles are yet to be released and one that I look forward to especially is Kelvinmary Ndukwe’s Chimamanda based on his stage play Omugwo. I saw the play in 2020 and can’t wait to see how he adapts it for the screen.
It concerns the titular Chimamanda and her battle with postpartum depression. She is at odds with her husband (who cheated on her while she was pregnant) and has now been visited by her cantankerous but loving mother for an Omugwo visit that she was specifically asked not to come for. On this day when her husband has the biggest work pitch of his life, and her mother is determined to teach her how to be a mother, Chimamanda will shock them all by redefining what it means to be wife, daughter, and mother – and all on her terms. No matter what lies, secrets and horrors will come spilling out.
Chimamanda is billed to premiere on the 31st. I’m looking forward to watching it.
Another title I look forward to watching is Holy Trouble by Uduak-Obong Patrick. Here’s the synopsis: Sister Obiageli is a staunch women’s church group leader, constantly aware of the slippery slope between good and evil. But when financial pressures culminate in her troublesome son’s creditors threatening his life, she is forced to renege on her values and syphon money from the church account. This single act quickly spirals out of control as Sister Obiageli finds herself committing more and more rapidly escalating sins to cover up the first one!
The story of Holy Trouble is reminiscent of moralistic tales of old Nollywood, so I can’t wait to see what a modern take on such storytelling would look like.
Holy Trouble will premiere on the 25th of March, 2023 on AM Showcase. Do see it.
These days what dominates conversations around Nollywood are films that achieved a theatrical release. I love that Africa Magic and its March Madness campaign introduced me to films that I may not have bothered about but for the campaign. But what is most important is that I enjoyed the films. And I’m recommending them to you now. Do see them and share your thoughts with me.
The post #MarchMadness: Here Are The Africa Magic Original Films You Should See This Month appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.