Using recycled items, some Nigerian teenagers are making what most people use sophisticated software to make. Because of that, the group has transitioned to a social media sensation. The group of eight, known as ‘The Critics’, consists of Godwin Josiah and his cousins who are located in Kaduna State in the North-Western part of Nigeria.
They made their first film titled ‘Redemption’ in 2016. Through watching YouTube tutorials, they learned how to do visual effects. In order to buy the green fabric for the Chroma key, they had to save for a month. Despite facing the challenges of power cuts and slow internet, they managed to make a film of two boys who form an organic bio-fuel. Raymond Yusuf, another member of the group, spoke about these challenges.
“The system is really slow; it takes time to render. Our five minutes short film called “Chase” took us like almost two days to render and not only the fact that this system is slow, the electricity where we stay here is pretty poor.”
Nigeria’s Nollywood Film industry is ranked the second largest in the world, after Bollywood, based on the number of films produced. Nollywood films are mostly based on themes of witchcraft and family-related issues. This crew, however, decided to defy this notion and take Nollywood to the next level by diving into the sci-fi niche. They have so far made twenty short movies of up to ten minutes. The movies are mostly about superheroes, aliens and supernatural powers.
They make their films at no cost since they do it all by themselves. It is interesting to know that all they use is a smartphone with a broken screen as the camera and a broken microphone stand as their tripod. The green fabric and a wind machine give their production a little extra magic. However, they have to make the videos short, since longer ones take too long to upload. A Nollywood movie producer, Kemi Adetiba, was so much fascinated by the work that she wrote a tweet about them. Since then the group has received much recognition.
Speaking about their videos going viral, Godwin Josiah who is nineteen years old, says that at first, that was not their aim.
“Well the main aim was not for our stuff to go viral, we just wanted people to see that okay there are kids in Kaduna doing something different, so that was just the main aim. So it all of a sudden just started happening, it blew our mind and it made us happy.”
There was a funding campaign for the group which garnered them a donation of around $ 5,800. The money will help them upgrade their equipment. Josiah now hopes to challenge the Nollywood industry by doing something that people have never done before.
“One of the targets we aim for in the years to come is to make the biggest film in Nigeria and probably beyond. We want to do something crazy, we want to do something great, something that has not been done before, and from what has been going on now, we believe quite well that it is going to happen soon enough.”
The crew is now working on a new film. They would, however, not speak much about it until it is finished.