When it comes to the African film industry, the Nigerian industry called Nollywood is at the forefront of entertainment in the continent, thanks to movies that are rivalling production in quantity and quality from other territories like America and India. It’s safe to say, that the future of the Nigerian movie industry is bright, especially when you consider the fact that we have young people like The Critics Company investing their time, energy and creativity in her.
The Critics Company have made a name for themselves on social media and have become a budding production company that the whole world is watching. I remember when I came across a video a couple of months ago on Twitter. It was about a secondary school student who made a Nigerian version to the intro of popular CW TV show, The Flash, and in his video, he called himself “Akezua Flash.” Some people laughed at the poor effects, but I, and many other tweeps were truly amazed at how young school children could come up with effects that definitely outlcassed quite a number of piss-poor VFX that we have grown too accustomed to and are tired of seeing in Nollywood.
Thanks to initiatives by Kemi Adetiba, Sterling Bank, and even international brands, who have supported The Critics Company both financially and with equipment needed to take their movie production game to the next level, this group of amazing teenagers and children, who dare dabble into the sci-fi genre (a genre that is practically non-existent in our industry), have gone from creating videos out of nothing, using beat-up smartphones, to making jaw-dropping videos that are a marvel to both the African industry and the world at large.
In a short interview with The Critics Company, I asked them about their journey, the challenges they faced along the way, their goals and aspirations, what to expect from them, and more. Read my full interview with The Critics Company below.
Can you introduce yourselves to us?
We are nine in number; Godwin Gaza Josiah (19), Raymond Yusuff (17), Victor Josiah (15), Ronald Yusuff (15), Richard Yusuff (14), Lawson Titus (17), Rejoice Josiah (12), Rachael Yusuff (8), Rachael Ken (5).
What made you guys start this journey?
The quest to begin this journey came into existence seven years ago. We were five movie buffs and meeting for the first time, all we did was spend hours criticizing blockbuster Hollywood movies and highlighting the parts we liked and disliked.
We also had one thing in common; we weren’t big fans of the Nollywood movies being released at that time, so we went from making comedy videos criticising Nollywood, to actually making short films that can contribute to shaping the industry into what we want it to become.
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1 year ago today we went Online, we posted our first short film ever called Stupid Argument. It's so inspiring to see how much we've grown in one year, shout-out to those who have been with us since the beginning and those who came along the way, a big thank you to everyone who has believed in us. We hope to keep creating good content for you guys. #1yearonlinetoday #thecriticswhorule #Hollywood #nollywood #trailer #instavideo #instagram #Nigeria #teens #teenagers #1mimnotusing #indie #actor @kunleafo @funkejenifaakindele @gene6ixwill @_godwinjosiah @raymondyusuff @oladipupo_odelola @nadineibrahimfilms @davidoofficial @ramseynouah @desmondelliot @tejubabyfaceoyelakin
How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been easy so far. There are so many happy and sad moments, but overall we haven’t regretted walking this path.
Are there any challenges you people are facing, especially when you consider the fact that you aren’t based in a more commercial state like Lagos?
We faced a lot of challenges shooting and making films and it came in different ways. We lacked support even from some people close to us, they never saw the worth of what we do. To them, when we were going to shoot movies, it was like we were playing and messing around.
We come from a state were people label you ‘jobless’ for doing something different and rare. We didn’t start out all good and the support we lacked was quite demoralizing to the extent that it broke us down in different ways.
Electricity is also another major problem. Our ten-minute short film ‘Z’ took us seven months to shoot and edit, and approximately a year to publish because electricity at the time was inaccessible. We basically got two hours power supply a day, so for 4 months we had to walk every day to our aunt’s house to finish editing the film just in time for the release.
We also get this constant quote from people that “we won’t make it if we are not in Lagos,” which is quite true in only the fact that Kaduna isn’t really a state that appreciates the art of filmmaking, but we hope to change that by connecting with like minds and creating a community for us all.
How did you come up with the name “The Critics”?
Initially, we started out as five kids seven years ago. The love for movies brought these five kids together and we loved one thing in common which was to criticize Nollywood movies. So one day we all came together and decided to stop criticising and try to change the way movies are made. This notion grew with us and we called ourselves The Critics.
How do you balance being students and being filmmakers?
When we are not in school we’re making short films and trying to create time for ourselves which is mostly on weekends.
You recently just started a YouTube Tutorial channel, what was the idea behind it?
We discovered that our breakdown videos tend to get more recognition and we have been getting a lot of request for tutorials on YouTube. This fuelled the idea to start making tutorial videos. It’s also a way to give back to our growing YouTube community.
Which Nollywood and Hollywood director/producer would you like to work with?
We would love to work with Nollywood directors Kemi Adetiba and Abba T. Makama. Regarding Hollywood, there are so many directors we would love to work with but we basically believe collaboration is key.
Any plans to start shooting full length movies soon?
Yes, there are plans to make full length film but we still want to develop our skills to a certain point before we go into making full length films.
Did you people attend any school or you’re self-taught?
We learnt all we know about film-making on the internet and basically taught ourselves.
What would you say is/are your goals in the movie industry?
Our major goal is to keep creating and also inspire young creatives like us in Africa and beyond. We also hope to make films that won’t only be watched, but would be loved by viewers.
What should we expect from The Critics in 2020?
Well, there’s a lot to expect, 2020 is a promising year already for us. We have so much cooked up but is confidential for now (laughs).