Ojuju

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Ojuju
OJUJU Official Poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byC.J. Obasi
Produced byOge Obasi (nee Ugwu)
C.J. "Fiery" Obasi
Written byC.J. Obasi
StarringGabriel Afolayan
Omowunmi Dada
Kelechi Udegbe
Chidozie Nzeribe
Brutus Richard
Meg Otanwa
Paul Utomi
Music byWache Pollen
David Jones David (score)
Beatoven
CinematographyTunji Akinsehinwa
Edited byC.J. Obasi
Production
company
Fiery Film
Release date
  • November 11, 2014 (2014-11-11) (AFRIFF)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryNigeria
LanguageEnglish (Pidgin)
Igbo
Yoruba

Ojuju is a 2014 Nigerian zombie thriller film, written and directed by C.J. Obasi. The film which has a zero-budget, stars Gabriel Afolayan, Omowunmi Dada, and Kelechi Udegbe. It premiered at the 4th Africa International Film Festival, where it won the award for "Best Nigerian Movie".

Cast[edit]

  • Gabriel Afolayan as Romero
  • Omowunmi Dada as Peju
  • Kelechi Udegbe as Emmy
  • Chidozie Nzeribe as Fela
  • Brutus Richard as Gaza
  • Meg Otanwa as Alero
  • Paul Utomi as The First Ojuju
  • Yvonne Enakhena as Aisha
  • Jumoke Ayadi as Iya Sikiru
  • Tommy Oyewole as Officer Lade
  • Emeka Okoye as The Chemist
  • Kelechi Joseph as The Kid
  • Klint D’ Drunk (cameo)

Production[edit]

Aerial shot of the slum where Ojuju was shot

C.J. Obasi had been visiting a friend in a slum location. He observed unique features of the area; which included for example, the area has a single point of entry and exit, the area also had only one source of water, which everyone fetched from. Obasi then decided to develop a story based on this premise, since it was feasible to create a story based on the consequences of pollution to the common Nigerian. In an interview, Obasi stated that he chose the name "Ojuju" because he didn’t want to use the word "zombies" in any manner or form, as he believed that if such an outbreak occurred in the slums of Lagos, the "Zombie" word would hardly be used to describe it. Obasi also felt it would be more realistic to eliminate any supernatural elements to the plot, and localize the Zombie genre for the Nigerian environment, rather than trying to do a Hollywood-version of what a zombie film ought to be.[1]

L-R: Gabriel Afolayan, Oge Obasi, and C.J. "Fiery" Obasi, at the audition for Ojuju in Surulere

The first actor to be cast in Ojuju was Gabriel Afolayan, who would play the lead character of Romero in the film. Next was Paul Utomi, an actor who Obasi had wanted to work with for some time. Other members of the main cast, including Omowunmi Dada and Yvonne Enakhena, were in an open audition for the film.

Principal photography for Ojuju began in November 2013, in a close-knit slum location in Ikeja, Lagos. Additional establishment scenes were shot around Bariga, while the police station scenes were shot in "Compact E-Schedular", a film and television production company at Opebi, Ikeja in February 2014. Initial budget for the film was ₦5,000,000 ($30,000); however, no investor showed any interest in funding the film. Eventually, Obasi, along with Oge Obasi, the producer of the film struck pro bono deals regarding equipment leasing, and with cast and crew. Most of the extras featured in the film were real inhabitants of the slum, where the film was shot.

Music[edit]

The film was scored by Wache Pollen, with additional soundtrack by Beatoven. Original background scores were composed by David Jones David. The lyrics of the closing song “Run Things” was penned by C.J. Obasi.

Release[edit]

A teaser trailer for Ojuju was released to the public on 10 August 2014. The film premiered at the 2014 Africa International Film Festival on 11 November 2014.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Todd Brown of Twitch Film concludes: "There is no question at all that Ojuju has its limitations. But it also shows a clarity of vision and a broad base of skills that mark Obasi as a director to watch out for".[2] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Although made on an obviously minuscule budget, this enterprising genre pic is very well crafted. Infused with both sly humor and genuine thrills, it puts many similarly themed American efforts to shame, with the exoticism of its setting only adding to the overall effect."[3] In a 2019 IndieWire article, Ojuju was listed as the 12th best zombie movie ever made. [4]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 Africa International Film Festival Best Nigerian Film Ojuju Won[5]
2015 Golden Icons Academy Movie Awards Best Film (Drama) Ojuju Nominated
Best Film (foreign language) Ojuju Nominated
Best Editing C.J. Obasi Won
Best Sound Dayo Thompson Nominated
Best Cinematography Tunji Akinsehinwa Nominated
Best Makeup/Costume Funke Olowu Nominated
Best Producer Oge Obasi Nominated
Best of Nollywood Awards Best Actor in Leading Role (English) Gabriel Afolayan Nominated
Best Supporting Actor (English) Kelechi Udegbe Nominated
Best Supporting Actress (English) Omowunmi Dada Won
Movie with the Best Screenplay Ojuju Nominated
Movie with the Best Editing Ojuju Nominated
Best use of Make-up in a Movie Ojuju Won
Best use of Indigenous Nigerian Language in a movie Ojuju Nominated
2016 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards Best Make-up Artist Funke Olowu Nominated

Cultural references[edit]

While exploring the evil dead theme, the film's hero, Romero, is named after Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Iwuala, Amarachukwu (11 May 2015). "'Every Single Day I Spent Not Being A Film-Maker Was Torture To Me.' – C.J. 'Fiery' Obasi". 360Nobs.com. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  2. ^ Brown, Todd. "OJUJU Is A Promising Effort From An Obvious Talent". Twitch Film. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  3. ^ Scheck, Frank (2 April 2015). "'Ojuju': Film Review - Hollywood Report". The Hollywood Report. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  4. ^ Lattanzio, Christian Blauvelt,Tambay Obenson,Eric Kohn,Ryan; Blauvelt, Christian; Obenson, Tambay; Kohn, Eric; Lattanzio, Ryan (2019-10-09). "The 12 Best Zombie Movies Ever Made". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  5. ^ "AFRIFF 2014 Winners | AFRIFF". Africa International Film Festival. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  6. ^ SmartMonkeyTV (2014-12-09), C.J. Obasi on his Nigerian horror film Ojuju, a love letter to George Romero, retrieved 2016-07-15
  7. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. (27 March 2015). "New Voices in Black Cinema Festival: Award-Winning 'Ojuju' (Impressive Subversion of Zombie Genre, Nigerian Style)". IndieWire. Retrieved 8 September 2015.

External links[edit]