Filmmaker Kunle Afolayan has addressed the controversy surrounding his new movie Anikulapo and the Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) for the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Led by Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, the committee, responsible for submitting a Nigerian film in the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars, faced heavy criticism over the decision not to submit the three films that made it to the final of the selection process for the 2023 Oscars.
Biyi Bandele’s Eleshin Oba: The King’s Horseman, Femi Adebayo’s King of Thieves and Kunle Afolayan’s Anikulapo made it to the final selection process but were not submitted.
The filmmaker had earlier made it known that the Nigeria Oscar had rejected his movie after deeming it unworthy.
Addressing the matter in a recent interview with Channels Television Kunle said:
“For a film to qualify for Oscar in the US, different countries will pre-select and then present the film to the Oscars and then I submitted and I know a number of people submitted and last year when they said no film was eligible, we ensured that we meet all the criteria, as a matter of fact, Anikulapo is supposed to be exclusive to just Netflix we were not supposed to do cinema but because Netflix also would like to submit they gave a bit of window because one of the condition is you have to do at least seven days in the cinema so we met all the conditions and then they went to vote.
“If you have films that qualify, why would you eight members of the committee say no film is eligible? Up to now, they haven’t come out to explain the meaning of no film is eligible, because they wrote to us to say ‘oh you didn’t have enough votes’. and it’s just a shame because this is the first time you are going to have this quality of the film. Maybe the Oscars need to change and not put fate in the hands of a few colleagues because most of them are colleagues and some of them happened to work for some of the competing films.”
Anikulapo is the story of Saro, a travelling clothe weaver, who was beaten to death for having an affair with the Alaafin’s youngest wife.
A mystical bird brings him back to life, leaving behind a gourd with the power to raise the dead.
Set in the 17th-century Oyo Empire, the movie stars actors like Bimbo Ademoye, Kunle Remi, Sola Sobowale, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Taiwo Hassan, Faithia Williams, Aisha Lawal, Ronke Oshodi-Oke, Dele Odule, Yinka Quadri and Adebayo Salami.