By Abuchi Onwumelu
Nollywood producer and the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Purple Ribbon Entertainment, Ms. Chioma Okoye, has premiered her latest drama series, titled Anyanwu Ututu in Awka the Anambra State Capital.
The film, which aimed at promoting the culture and tradition of Ndi Igbo, was centred on the lifestyle of people living along the riverine areas of Anambra , otherwise known as Omambala first premiered in Awka, joining the likes of Chigozie Atuanya's “Chetanna” which also hit the cinemas for the first time in Awka.
Speaking on the movie project, Okoye said the project was inspired by her love for Igbo culture and family history .
According to her, 'As a filmmaker, your starting point should be telling the world about your culture and tradition . Unfortunately , about 90 per cent of us have not made movies about our states ; most of them do English films. We are going to bridge that gap by focusing on the cultures of our people , starting with Anambra . We also intend to cover other parts of the region to highlight out rich cultural heritage.
'Igbo has 623 dialects, which are very unique. Let us tell the world our true stories and rich culture. Already, we have reached agreement with state - owned TV stations in the region to show the series after the premiere. This is one way of getting our children to understand our culture and also imbibe it. I want to specially thank Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for his support towards the premiere .
'Since the story is centred on the life of Omambala people , we worked with people, who could speak the dialect . Basically, the role you play is based on your acting ability . And I must tell you , we have abundant talents waiting to be discovered.
'Veteran actor Chief Pete Edochie acted lead character, Anyanwu Ututu tells the story of Nwugo and Ikedinobi , who were in love, not knowing of the enmity that had existed between both families for decades.
'Meanwhile, Ikedinobi, the only son of Nwafor, has been forced into marrying Ugoye, whom he has no love for , thought his parents believe the love will grow with time .
'But instead, Ikedinobi falls in love with Nwugo, not knowing she is the daughter of Agbogidi, an archenemy of his family . Agbogidi and Nwafor warn their children to stop seeing each other, but their love knows no bounds.
'Agbogidi does everything within his powers to break the bond that exists between his daughter Nwugo and Ikedinobi, but all his efforts fail , as Ikedinobi passes through every storm to be with Nwugo, his love,' she narrated.
Sharing her experience on location, Okoye said, 'It was an interesting experience for me; the first thing I noticed was good relationship and understanding. Nobody buys anything and eats it alone; you don't select friends because we were all friends to each other. God was with us all through.
On the cast for the production, she said, aside from established actors such as Pete Edochie , what we did was to use people from the communities where we worked; we provided jobs for the youths.
To Okoye, film remains a viable tool for promoting culture and propagating the tradition of a people , adding that plans have reached advanced stage to ensure that all the South Eastern states get to watch the series .
For his part, the film director, Chidi Chiama , commended the producer for discovering that television stations in the Southeast were being neglected due to poor programming and decided to bridge the gap.
'This is an inspiration of a good daughter of Aamambra State, who is determined to change the face of the movie industry in the region . Due to lack of activities in the local channels, everybody tunes to foreign cable televisions .
'Let me ask: is Zee World not somebody’ s discovery ? Yet, our people are dying for it. If our people can be falling for what does not belong to us, what do you think will happen when you give them what is their own ? I think this is one of the most important projects in the region today,' he said.
For his experience on set, he said, 'If you know what it means to work in a particular location and on particular movie for a month and three weeks, you will feel it a little. All the same, it was a pleasant experience. I worked with intelligent people, both the professionals and amateurs . It was so tasking that at a point, we knew that we needed extra stamina to propel the movement. In fact ,the amateurs surprised us all with their wonderful carriage,' he concluded.
The event attracted the high and the mighty in the box office, including the likes of Pete Edochie, Patience Ozokwor, Harris Chuma, Bruno Iwuoha, Adaorah Uko, Prince Uchechukwu Ndigwe, Chinwe Owoh and a numerous other Nollywood Stars.
Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, State Commissioner for Police, Garba Umar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Anambra Broadcasting Service, Mr. Uche Nworah, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority boss, Architect Mike Okonkwo and other top government officials were also in Attendance.