Nigerian Teenagers Are Making Slick Sci Fi Films With Their Smartphones

Some­one should real­ly snap up the rights for a movie about The Crit­ics, a col­lec­tive of self-taught teenage film­mak­ers from north­west­ern Nige­ria.

The boys’ ded­i­ca­tion, ambi­tion, and no-bud­get inven­tive­ness calls to mind oth­er film­mak­ing fanat­ics, from the sequestered, home­schooled broth­ers of The Wolf­pack to the fic­tion­al Swed­ing spe­cial­ists of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Be Kind, Rewind.

While smart­phones and free edit­ing apps have def­i­nite­ly made it eas­i­er for aspir­ing film­mak­ers to bring their fan­tasies to fruition, it’s worth not­ing that The Crit­ics saved for a month to buy the green fab­ric for their chro­ma key effects.

Their pro­duc­tions are also plagued with the inter­net and pow­er out­ages that are a fre­quent occur­rence in their home base of Kaduna, slow­ing every­thing from the ren­der­ing process to the Youtube visu­al effects tuto­ri­als that have advanced their craft.

To date they’ve filmed 20 shorts on a smart phone with a smashed screen, mount­ed to a bro­ken micro­phone stand that’s found new life as a home­made tri­pod.

Their sim­ple set up will be com­ing in for an upgrade, how­ev­er, now that Nol­ly­wood direc­tor Kemi Adeti­ba has brought their efforts to the atten­tion of a much wider audi­ence, who donat­ed $5,800 in a fundrais­ing cam­paign.

It’s easy to imag­ine the young male demo­graph­ic flock­ing to a fea­ture-length, big-bud­get expan­sion of Z: The Begin­ning. It’s pos­si­ble even the art house crowd could be lured to a sum­mer block­buster whose set­ting is Nige­ria, thir­ty years into the future, a nov­el­ty for those of us unversed in Nol­ly­wood’s prodi­gious out­put.

The post-apoc­a­lyp­tic short, above, took the crew 7 months to film and edit. The stars also inhab­it­ed a num­ber of off­screen roles: stunt coor­di­na­tor, gaffer, prop mas­ter, com­pos­er, con­ti­nu­ity…

What’s next? Ear­li­er this month, Africa News revealed that the boys are busy with a new film whose plot they aren’t at lib­er­ty to reveal. We’re guess­ing a sequel, to go by a not so sub­tle hint fol­low­ing Z’s final cred­its and a mov­ing ded­i­ca­tion to “the ones we’ve lost.”

“Hor­ror, com­e­dy, sci-fi, action, we do all,” The Crit­ics’ pro­claim on their Youtube chan­nel, care­ful­ly cat­e­go­riz­ing their work as “films not skits.” (Their films’ length has thus far been dic­tat­ed by the unpre­dictabil­i­ty of their wifi sit­u­a­tion—Chase, below, is five min­utes long and took two days to ren­der.

“One of the tar­gets we aim for in the years to come is to make the biggest film in Nige­ria and prob­a­bly beyond,” God­win Josi­ahZ’s 19-year-old writer-direc­tor told Chan­nels Tele­vi­sion, Lagos’ 24-hour news chan­nel:

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.

Watch The Crit­ics’ films and mak­ing-ofs on their Youtube chan­nel.

Sup­port their work with a pledge to their recent­ly launched Patre­on.

via Kot­tke/Africa News

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Strange and Won­der­ful Movie Posters from Ghana: The Matrix, Alien & More

High School Kids Stage Alien: The Play and You Can Now Watch It Online

Direc­tor Robert Rodriguez Teach­es The Basics of Film­mak­ing in Under 10 Min­utes

Hear Kevin Smith’s Three Tips For Aspir­ing Film­mak­ers (NSFW)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inkyzine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 9 for anoth­er sea­son of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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