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DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film is screening this week at the Durban Intl. Film Festival.
Afolayan spoke with Variety about the chancing face of Nigerian cinema, the impact of Netflix on African filmmaking, and why more international players need to come to the table to recognize the continent’s untapped potential.
Range - Genres - Themes - Career - Drama
You’ve experimented with a range of genres and themes across your career, from the supernatural drama “The Figurine” to the romantic comedy “Phone Swap” to the historical thriller “October 1.” “Mokalik,” on the other hand, was inspired by an actual day in your life. What made you want to dig into your own personal experience with this film?
Sometimes we evolve in an environment where you haven’t paid a lot of attention to things that go on around you. I hadn’t been to a mechanic workshop in a long time. And at that time, I wanted to properly restore a vintage car—that’s what took me there. I ended up spending a week, going every day. Every time I was there, I saw different things, their way of life. Most of them are not university graduates. But somehow, they train on the job, and they’re getting things done. I thought it would be nice to tell their stories from a different point of view.
Movies - Generation - Filmmakers - Aspirations - Industry
When you started making movies, you were among the first of the current generation of Nigerian filmmakers with bigger aspirations for an industry that was long known for its roughshod, straight-to-DVD releases. Your films had bigger budgets and were made for...
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