Movie Review

Embracing the Unconventional: Niyi Akimolayan’s Mikolo Breaks New Ground With Artistic Potential—Kolapo Mustapha

Embracing The Unconventional: Niyi Akimolayan’s Mikolo Breaks New Ground With Artistic Potential – Kolapo Mustapha

Throughout the years, I’ve always seen myself as a filmmaker before taking on the role of a film analyst or critic/reviewer. I stick to this perspective, and it’s non-negotiable. My filmmaking background and extensive education keep me grounded, preventing me from crossing certain lines.

I often advise my filmmaker friends to ignore those who mock their work on social media. These critics aren’t filmmakers, and they never will be. True filmmakers don’t find joy in the failure of their peers; they understand the challenges of the craft.

Harshly criticizing a film often boils down to one thing—naivety. Filmmaking is neither cheap nor easy. Being part of the film production process instills a profound empathy when watching a bad film, as I know from experience that nobody sets out to make a poor movie. Every filmmaker believes they’ve created a masterpiece until the audience sees it. However, some basics need attention.

Just because anyone with money, connections, or equipment can call themselves a filmmaker doesn’t mean we should stay silent about subpar films. I encourage film critics to be critical without being excessively harsh. Many lack an “educated opinion” due to a lack of understanding about the intricacies of creating a film with solid “entertainment value.”

This piece doesn’t focus on donning my cap as a movie reviewer or film critic. I trust my colleagues will excel in those roles. Instead, it’s time to wear my cap as a Film Analyst, shedding light on an observation that may have eluded many of my peers.

Mikolo spins around two siblings, Funke and Habeeb, stumbling upon a magical creature, Mikolo. They set off on a journey to the mystical Irumole forest, seeking wondrous creatures to help Mikolo return home.

Sure, Mikolo wasn’t perfect, and it didn’t hit international standards. But credit where it’s due, Niyi Akinmolayan took a bold step into the world of CGI in African filmmaking. Despite the expected clash between CGI and real-world elements, Mikolo reflects a leap towards aesthetic growth in African cinema.

Niyi Akinmolayan, with his unconventional approach at Anthill Studios, has shown a knack for embracing the unexpected. Mikolo, alongside works like “Kasala” and “D.O.D,” stands as a testament to their fearless pursuit of visual adventure, breaking new ground in artistic potential.

Mikolo may have flaws in blending CGI and real-world elements seamlessly, but let’s not forget that storytelling should be our primary focus. Technology is a tool; a compelling story remains our greatest asset, a lesson from the pioneers of African cinema.

While Mikolo lacked African cultural nuances in its CGI design, addressing such challenges isn’t just on Niyi Akinmolayan and Anthill Studios but demands collective efforts from filmmakers, producers, and even the government.

Most importantly, this is majorly a call for the government to invest aggressively in Nollywood, as the industry has a significant track record of being a provider of employment, addressing the issues of unemployment in the country. Their investment should not just be centered on providing scholarships to film schools but also aiding film production companies that have a track record of embracing the unconventional, offering opportunities for internships, and creating platforms to groom the next generation of filmmakers.

Spending billions on a film academy initiative to train people for two to three months is a step in the right direction, but it is crucial to also invest billions in filmmakers and production companies that will hire them to do the actual training. 

This initiative is poised to unlock numerous opportunities for animators in Nigeria, providing them with a platform to exhibit their craft and firmly establish their presence within the dynamic landscape of the entertainment industry.

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Kolapo Mustapha

Kolapo Mustapha is a Writer, Director and Film Analyst. He's also a Story Consultant and Script Editor who is passionate about storytelling and filmmaking. An Alumni of EbonyLife Creative Academy, where he studied "The Art of Screenwriting" (2021), "Visual Post-Production" (2022) and "Directing" (2023). He also studied "Sound Design" at Terraculture Academy and "Introduction into Filmmaking" at KAP Academy. He also works as a freelance Content Creator and Political Analyst for Opera News Hub Nigeria. He has written several films, both short and feature length (and TV series), with the likes of "TAINTED LOVE" "SCARRED" "LOOSING BATTLE" "TAINTED BLOOM" "ELASTIC LOVE" "TWO WRONGS" "MISDIRECTION" "OMOLASO" and "FOREVER SO LONG(Season 1&2)'. He has directed three short films so far. "JOURNEY TO FREEDOM" "ENIGMA" and "IMOLE." ENIGMA has received official selections from film festivals beyond African countries. It's his passion to tell (make films) that will captured the African society and tell our unique stories with global audience. He has also received training in various stages of film and television production and subsequently got involved in various productions at different capacities, which has made him well-versed in all aspects of filmmaking process, from pre-production to post-production. He also believed that film could be used as a tool for social change, because visual storytelling do not only possess the ability to change an individual but a nation.

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