AND THEN THE WORLD WENT WILD!!!
Unfortunately, practically all leading blogs, some gossip - oriented Radio Stations and Presenters as well as some so-called notable and trusted TV Stations like CHANNELS TELEVISION, SILVERBIRD TELEVISION, ITV, EBS among others aired the Unconfirmed report because of their lack of required skill set in Investigative journalism.
After 72 hours, we held a press conference and revealed to the media and journalists alike what had happened. Then we released a press statement in accordance.
And also released the following videos to show the world - especially Nigerians, how we did it.
CHECK OUT SOME BEHIND THE SCENES FOOTAGE FROM THE MOVIE
READ THE PRESS STATEMENT RELEASED BY THE DIRECTOR BELOW:
ON THE ALLEGED FAILED STUNT ATTEMPT
30th July 2016
Concerning the Trending news about the alleged fire incident on the set of BEHIND THE WHEELS, We the production Team would like to state the following.
Ani Iyoho was contacted to act in the movie and do the stunts. He signed a release form after confirming that every safety measure was in place. Measures includes the provision of FIVE working Fire extinguishers, a water source which in this case was a stream nearby from where we pumped water, a Fire Blanket and absolute professional preparation for the stunt, using the recommended media.
We set him on fire, following strict professional guidelines.
It is noteworthy that when this new broke, I only got one message from a reporter. It was from Segun Odejimi of TNS. And I told him to debunk it. We knew the craze for trending news would override the truth - even if one reputable source was projecting it.
But contrary to several speculations that he got burned and that the stunt was a failure, we indeed did succeed at pulling it off and Ani Iyoho is here with us today, very healthy. He was willingly in on this from the beginning.
What we did was to activate that which is professionally referred to as Media influence
Media Influence refers to the actual force exerted by a media message, resulting in either a change or reinforcement in audience or individual beliefs.
Today, we are all here because of the outcome - which is professionally referred to as Media effects. Our friends at the Lagos Business School would know much about those phrases.
These are measurable effects that result from media influence, or a media message. Whether that media message has an effect on any of its audience members is contingent on many factors, including audience demographics and psychological characteristics. These effects can be positive or negative, abrupt or gradual, short-term or long-lasting.
We utilized what is called Micro Level Media approach using:
It has indeed been a media perception experiment geared at attracting attention not just to our film project, but considering the fact that we now have an audience - the attention dovetails into several realities.
1. CONCERNING NOLLYWOOD.
We believe the society at large should harness the strong influence of the media and entertainment world on people; in a positive way using strong communication materials that are well crafted and creatively dispersed to cause positive social change.
A couple of Nigerian Films have served as historical references to a generation that was not born when certain events unfolded. October 1 by Kunle Afolayan and 76 by Izu Ojukwu come to mind.
Steve Gukas' recently premiered movie 93 days is also poised to document historic facts and showcase tremendous acts of heroism by Nigerians.
However, Stephanie Linus' DRY is where I would like to focus. In the movie, she tackles a present and recurrent anomaly which is often downplayed by society - even Government.
Those are the key areas we should focus on as Filmmakers – We should be change agents.
Film makers in Nigeria need to be equipped. They need to get some work load off their heads so they can be more creative and imaginative.
Issues like funding, Marketing, Distribution and recovery of movie investment have consistently hampered growth through the years.
2. TO NIGERIANS
Now, back to the reason why we are all gathered here today, the situation which was realistically depicted in the dispersed scene could have easily occurred on any film set in Nigeria, because there's no provision for the infrastructure and skilled personnel that would prevent such.
Nigerian Film makers strive everyday to raise the bar and win the hearts of fellow Nigerians first, with the hope that someday, the world would not only celebrate us with regards to the volumes we churn out, but also because of the tastefulness and professionalism inherent in our movies.
Producers, Directors and Actors alike risk their lives each day they go out to shoot and there are countless cases of harassment by locals and thugs on film sets.
Nigerians should please support NOLLYWOOD.
3. NOW, TO US - NOLLYWOOD.
What the industry needs at this point is not stringent laws and ordinances that curb creativity; but timely intervention in assets acquisition, investment in Film Making Equipment, Organization of distribution processes to ensure sustainability of the business and participation by other creatives like the Advertising Agencies to ensure that Marketing; referred to as P&A in the film world, is effective and measurable.
Thanks to the inventiveness of dynamic industry practitioners like Film One distribution, we are beginning to see the prospects of actualizing that dream of Nigerian Films and Film makers penetrating international spheres.
We believe the relevant authorities should study and at least attempt to implement engagement tactics used by other countries to boost the productivity of their film and entertainment industry.
We do not need more Film Associations, or guilds neither do we need to make an attempt to enforce unpopular bills and laws that do not reflect the interest of all and sundry.
If we search deeply, and just stop and think about it - we would realize that our efforts ought to be geared towards making the existing guilds, associations and standard ethics work. But it has to be an all inclusive endeavor where everyone is carried along in a seamless agenda that is void of sentiments, resentments, pre-conceived notions and mistrust.
There's no such thing as Old Nollywood and New Nollywood. There's just NOLLYWOOD.
We should explore the richness of our culture as Nigerians; where younger people respect and admonish the older ones. But respect is earned, not to be demanded. Young film makers need role models. Every practicing film maker should operate an open door policy for younger talents who might want to learn and grow under them.
That is how the future of the industry will be preserved.
I would like to commend Lancelot Imasuen for his attempt so far at actualizing this.
4. TO THE PRESS, JOURNALISTS AND BLOGGERS ALIKE
We must maintain a high level of professionalism in our reporting. Journalists and pressmen - even bloggers; can linger on a social cause till the needful is done. The #BringbackOurGirls campaign is still relevant today because of the good works of some of you.
But there's a lot more to be done. We still need #JusticeForBridget.
Before publishing that post or making that comment... STOP and THINK again.
If you get the green light from your conscience and the requirements of professional ethics, then go ahead.
If the media and entertainment industry could contribute in such a big way to the Rwandan genocide, what it means is that the same industry can help in curbing such.
With films, we can quench the ugly flame of religious and tribal conflicts that are plaguing us as a nation today. Some of such sentiments were even expressed by people online concerning the Alleged Fire Incident.
We can address the government and let them know what the masses - who are often too far away from the political class are thinking.
With films, we can preach the gospel of ONE NIGERIA and influence people to be more accommodating towards one another.
Through films, the Government can update the people on its recurrent goals and achievements.
Through films, we can learn to understand the plight of policemen and see why many of them often step out of line.
Through films, we can appreciate the Military; remembering that those men on the battle line have left their families technically defenseless while they defend your freedom against the enemies.
We can shoot films that will propagate the message that ALL NIGERIAN LIVES MATTER - whether you are Muslim, Christian, Pagan, Traditionalist or even altogether Faithless. We can highlight the often subdued truth that Nigeria is a SECULAR nation.
NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION
NOT A MUSLIM NATION
NOT A NATION of TRADITIONALISTS.
But A NATION where everyone can believe in whatever Faith that inspires them to be the best they can be and make Nigeria great again. Where we respect each other and speak up for the truth and against evil - even if it is being perpetuated by those we gave pledged allegiance to due to the various ethnic and religious classifications we have adopted.
We can tell the narratives that the Religious leaders; whom we all follow ardently have failed to deliver.
We can become the GIANT OF AFRICA AGAIN!
A Nation where UNITY, FAITH, and PEACE bring about lasting PROGRESS
A nation where JUSTICE is upheld and delivered to grieving victims
If Nigerians and Nollywood can resolve thus, then we can really become that nation bound in FREEDOM, PEACE and UNITY.