There Are Depths Of Stories Film Makers In Africa Can Unearth Tell Rogers -What’s the WURA project all about? WURA (meaning Gold in Yoruba language) was set against the backdrop of the gold mining industry in Ilesha, Osun State. The gold mining industry is a narrative that has not been fully explored yet and a lot of Nigerians are not aware of what may be happening there. One of our locations is very close to the mining site and that probably also worked for us because most of the extras and other actors, other talents that we found around that place could easily identify with the kind of story that we are telling..
And we are hoping that WURA would open the eyes of Nigerians to the activities there, the solid minerals sector and away from petroleum industry. This is something else that can actually help with the GDP of our economy in Nigeria.”
How would describe the process of shooting the over 260 episodes of WURA I mean , What was it like ?
Shooting the series, WURA was fun. One thing that worked for us before we started, was that we did a risk assessment project of the production. What is the implication of taking the show out of Lagos? What is the implication of situating this show in a place like this? I think one of the battles we had was shooting in Ile-Ife known for constant rain. I think it rains on a daily basis in IFE and there has to be rain up until October. It starts in the beginning of the year and then ends around October, November. So you practically have January, February, and the early part of March as the period that you can shoot there. But during our risk assessment, we felt moving the location out of Lagos was going to help in the style of filming that we wanted to do. Of course, it’s a television series and also we had the benchmark, ‘The RIVER’, a South African production where WURA was adapted from. And ‘The River’ was beautifully shot.
So we wanted to make sure that we don’t fall below the standard that has been set by The River. So we wanted another style of filming, which is every episode has to be a short film in terms of the technicalities involved. So we needed a bit more time away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos, away from the traffic, away from everything.
Moving to Ile-Ife helped us in saving a lot in terms of travel time. We were all in about thirty-five acres location. We had almost all of our sets in that place. We had that camp there.
So what we just needed to do as actors and crews just come out of our rooms and then straight into location for 90.pee cent of the time. So we had a lot more time to put into production, to put into telling the story, to put into ensuring that the project came out as we wanted it.
We chose the speaking part of Nigeria. So 40 per cent indigenous language and 60 per cent English helped in connecting our viewers to the world of WURA. To make our story resonate with our viewers, we stayed within the world of believability. We also tried to the technique of storytelling that we also used was also part of it. We veered away from the South African style. We took the story and made it our own.”
After shooting the first series, what was your take home..Would you say there are further improvement?
I think if showmax will listen to the cries of the international audience, it is a fertile ground right now. I said something to be the marketing director of showmax. Every other platform is struggling to tell African stories. To be honest with you, every other platform is struggling to tell African stories. Showmax owns the market. It is easy for showmax to tell African stories. That’s what they are meant for.
That’s what they are there for Now. Africans in diaspora are screaming for content. They want something that can bring them closer to home. They want something they can identify with. They want stories. They want stories that bring them closer to home and that’s very easy ground for showmax to step into.
Rather than let pirates take over the market, let pirates feed fat on you for something they’ve not broken a sweat for, just your market. Expand your subscriber base and you’ll be fine. The market there, like I call it is a ready made market. All showmax just needs to do is expand. And I can tell you once they do that, they are very likely to drive every other platform,” Rogers submitted.
What unique topics did you explore in the project?
Part of the topics that we tackled is the very sensitive one, which is the LGBTQ or the queer story. That’s a very sensitive one. And we decided to go that route. Again, that was a very heated debate amongst writers and the producers. Should we not do it? But we decided to approach it from, look, that’s a subject matter that we’re running away from Africans. Some parents don’t know that their kids are into this. Kids cannot come out to their parents and say, this is what I am, or this is who I am. For us, what we wanted to do is, you know what? Let’s be very open minded with this story.
How do you do these lofty things without making noise?
Someone actually sent me a message and said, Rogers, I hear you’re the executive producer of WURA. And I am like, yes. And he said, Bro, you’re not making noise. You’re not making noise. People need to know who you are. And I’m like my brother. I am a filmmaker. I am not a noise maker.
That’s me, because every good job will sell itself. I hardly post. I don’t even think I’ve spoken about WURA once more than three or four times. But every body is talking about the show. That’s what happens with entertainment. If a show is good, it’s going to sell itself.