Monday, April 19, 2021

With Banana Island Ghost, Alabi transits to executive producer


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Saheed Balogun (Right); Chioma Omerua; Biola Alabi and other casts from the movie

When Biola Alabi returned home from America with a well of experience, having worked with big brands such as Sesame Street, and Daewoo Motors, her dream was to establish a media outfit with the aim of contributing to the entertainment industry. But that did not materialise as she took up the challenge of Managing Director of M-NET Africa, during which time she produced leading programmes, both in English and in some major African languages.

Alabi, however, retired from M-NET to face her dream with the establishment of Biola Alabi Media, a content development outfit. One of its TV productions, Bukas and Joints, explores African cuisine and shares with viewers across Africa and beyond the story of African delicacies.

Now, Alabi has taken another step forward to produce her first feature film, Banana Island Ghost (B.I.G), billed to premiere on August 4. It’s a comedy about a ghost that is scared to go to heaven because he doesn’t have a soul mate. So, he convinces God to give him three days to fall in love. He is paired with Ijeoma (Chioma Omeruah), comedian Chigurl, who will do anything to save her father’s house in Banana Island from the bank coming to reclaim.

Written and directed by BB Sasore, the trailer premiere for the media held last week at the iMAX cinema, Lekki. Alabi said the movie is unprecedented in many regards, saying the trailer would excite viewers across Nigeria and beyond, who she advised to look forward to a rib-cracking experience when the movie hits the cinema.

While commenting on the experience of producing a feature with all the familiar hitches, Alabi said, “I have always known that I wanted to grow the industry here in Nigeria. That is why I left America and returned home to make a contribution by building the right structures by way of telling stories.

“Because I come from the structure unit, I understand what we need to do differently. We started producing content and now we have produced our first feature film, but the dream is to build a studio that will bring the right talent and stories to the screen. If there are Paramount Studios, Universal Studios and the rest of them in the U.S., why can’t there be a Biola Alabi Media studio and that is where we are going.

“I wanted to make a comedy and I wanted it to be something different and that is why it was so good to have the action scenes.”

Chigurl, who plays Ijeoma, recounted her first experience on the big screen, saying it was amazing: “I have been a part of it from conception, when the story was first shown to us; we loved the concept. Going through the story and changing a couple of things to make a better script, I feel this is pretty much part of my life and it was fun all the way, and as a comedian, I want people to watch it and laugh their heads off.”

On the storyline, Chigurl said, “There is a difference between a house and a home and Ijeoma, the character I played, wanted so much to keep the house in Banana Island, but she did not realise it was more about finding a home where there is love, family and support, which is what is important at the end of the day. We should be bothered about people, relationship and friends, and being able to love people and understand that there is diversity in culture. The movie is about love. At the end of the day, we all need it.”

Other cast in the movie include, Saheed Balogun, Kemi Lala-Akinjodu, Ali Nuhu, Uche Jombo among others.

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