With a plethora of exciting and not so exciting television programmes and movies to feed on this year, TV and movie buffs have not had it so good in recent times, although many opined that the presence of too many reality shows, on just about everything - many similar ones airing at about the same time - made it almost impossible for viewers to follow accurately and religiously.
For movies on the other hand, while some will complain of lack lustre performances and funny titles like Shakira, Be Yourself, Hottest Boys, Kill the Orphan, there were, thankfully, a few stand out flicks which found their way to movie theatres, something that used to be rare.
As such, we can tag 2009 as the year that saw a return to the cinemas for our movies, as the Nigerian movie scene witnessed quite a number of movie premieres at home and overseas.
While the industry didn't churn out large numbers of movies due to piracy and distribution issues, we saw a complete diversification of some of our brightest acting talents trying their hands out at directing, scripting and - wait for this... singing!
For a lucky few also, it was money in the bank from telecoms company, Globacom when Ramsey Nouah, Desmond Elliot, Jim Iyke, Nonso Diobi, Funke Akindele, Uche Jombo, Chioma Chukwuka- Akpotha and Monalisa Chinda, amongst others, were made Globacom Ambassadors.
Others clinched endorsement deals. There was Mike Ezuruonye as the face of Malta Guinness, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal as the face of Onga Seasoning and Rita Dominic as the face of Nokia.
Here are some of the memorable TV shows and movies that shaped 2009 for better and for worse.
Big Brother Africa:
This was obviously the high point of all reality shows held in the year. Dubbed ‘The Kevolution' after 27 year old Nigerian Kevin Chuwang-Pam clinched the $200,000 (approx. N30 million) prize money, from September 6 when the reality show began airing, the aspiring rapper and entertainer was the clear favourite in the show that included fellow Nigerians Nkenna and Geraldine.
Maltina Family Dance All
Although so many reality television shows were airing at the time, the show anchored by TV personality and director, Kemi Adetiba, was widely followed. The Ibiam family from Ebonyi State was voted best in the 2009 edition of the annual competition and went away with the N2.5 million prize and a brand new Toyota mini-van.
The winning family was decided before a live audience at the Landmark Village, Victoria Island on September 26 by fans during the final episode of the two-month long show.
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
The show this year did not parade a very impressive bevy of beauties and brains, however, 24 year old Youth Corps member Glory Chukwu was named MBGN 2009 on April 4 during the event held at the Sam Mbakwe Hall of the Concord Hotels, Owerri, Imo State. Ms. Chukwu represented Nigeria at the Miss World Competition which took place on December 12 in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was won by 23 year old Gibraltarian, Kaiane Aldorino.
This music reality show that had to compete for attention against MTN Project Fame West Africa, but it more than held its own. Jon Ogah, 18, from Abuja won the grand prize of $100,000 (approx. N15 million) and a performance slot at the 2009 Channel O Music Awards. Jon already has a single and accompanying video for the song, "Gbedu" featuring his Storm label mate Sasha.
Gulder Ultimate Search VI
The show was devoid of the usual razzmatazz typical of the previous editions. Nonetheless, after 21 days of rigorous tasks and adventure, Uche Uwaezeapu grabbed the ‘Horn of Valour' to become the Gulder Ultimate Man VI on Aug. 7. Mr. Uwaezeapu's winning prize package included N7 million cash, an SUV worth about N10 million, a N500,000 wardrobe allowance and other benefits.
This highly criticised reality show, conceived by the Koko Master himself, D'banj, in search of the ideal kokolotte. drew to a close on August 9 with 21 year old Lagos State University undergraduate Bolanle Okhiria emerging winner. Bolanle, the surprise choice, went home with a new car, N5 million and a Chris Aire diamond ring.
The unpolished Rita Isoken Igbinedion was a fan favourite from the beginning, but missed out on top spot. The show aired on Nigerian satellite station HITV.
Twenty three year old Ivie Aviomoh Okujaye emerged winner of Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) 5 on December 5. The University of Abuja undergraduate edged out runners-up, Shade Olowu and Ovie Atori, to get to the star prize of N2.5 million, a brand new Honda City car and, of course, the lead role in a Nollywood flick to be produced by Amstel Malta.
MTN Project Fame West Africa
Mike Anyasodo emerged winner of this keenly contested competition touted by many as an improvement on the previous editions. The 26 year old undergraduate of the Ambrose Alli University won by polling more votes from viewers across West Africa to beat other finalists, Nicholas Builgar, Tomiwa Sangonuga, Krimi Johnson and Madonna Robinson to the coveted prize of N2.5 million, a Toyota RAV 4 and a one year recording contract. He recently released his debut single titled "Sweet Pass".
Celebrity Takes 2
Compared to the debut edition two years ago won by Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, this year's edition, which features a blend of music and movie stars, hasn't quite lived up to the hype. The contestants include Fred Amata, Yinka Davies, Kel, Zaaki Azzay, Fathia Balogun, Stella Damascus, Yemi Blaq, Obiwon, Faze and Dakore Egbuson.
It wouldn't be out of place to say that this was the most watched and talked about movie of the year, with an appeal that transcended beyond Yoruba speaking people. With the expressions "Suliat kan, Ayetoro kan!", "Yelz!", "Ooouushhh!" and "Gbo Gbo Bigz gals!", you are certain to remember the Jenifa phenomenon.
Released in late 2008, it exploded into a monster hit this year, shooting lead character Suliat, played by Funke Akindele, to super stardom. So popular was the movie that it inspired a song by Amplifyd Crew featuring ID Cabasa titled "Big Girlz". As the buzz slowly died down, catchphrases from the movie found their way into regular conversation. Ms. Akindele also became an official big girl as she was made a Globacom movie ambassador, won several awards and clinched several other endorsements deals. The Law graduate no doubt had a great year and has promised a sequel to the movie titled The Return of Jenifa to be produced by Kingsley Ogoro.
The Figurine: Aromire
Riding on the success of his first movie, Irapada, Kunle Afolayan raised the ante in movie making in Nigeria with the thriller, The Figurine: Aromire. The movie, shot with state of the art equipment, gulped over N50 million and featured some of Nigeria's finest artists. It also successful premieres in London, Ghana and Nigeria.
Through the Glass
This, Stephanie Okereke's directorial and movie production debut, was one of the top grossing films of the year. Not only did it open a vista of opportunities for the New York Film Academy alumnus, it also set the pace for other Nigerian movie makers to follow suit. The movie, shot in the United States, featured a Nigerian and American cast and raked in a reported N10 million in box office sales in just about two weeks of release.
This was yet another international movie project written, produced, and directed by Jude Idada and Lucky Ejim, two Nigerian emigrants in Canada. It was shot at various locations in Canada and Nigeria with Dare ‘Baba Dee' Fasasi as co-director. The movie was premiered in Lagos and won several awards such as the Hollywood Black Film Festival Viewers Choice Awards. It featured at the Mid Atlantic Film Festival and was the opening movie for the Canadian Film Festival.
Veteran Nigerian cinematographer Tunde Kelani has always had a knack for producing top notch movies and in Arugba, he was at his best. The movie, which is set against the backdrop of a corrupt society seeking cleansing, rebirth and nationhood, had the backing of the Lagos state government. As such, the movie was premiered in select local government councils in the state.
Banker turned movie producer Vivian Ejike premiered this movie to positive reviews in Ghana and Nigeria. The movie tells the tale of a young and very successful lady who struggles with life as a career woman and single mother to a wild and free-spirited teenage daughter. It featured Nollywood's ‘it girl' Genevieve Nnaji, Ghanaian movie star Majid Michel, Uche Jumbo, Ebele Okaro and many others.
Actress Uche Jumbo and award winning producer Emem Isong were the brains behind this satirical comedy which explored the behind the scenes intrigues of movie making in Nollywood. The movie witnessed an impressive turnout at its Lagos premieres and featured Monalisa Chinda, Ramsey Nouah and Genevieve Nnaji playing themselves, as well as cameo appearances from the likes of Sasha and Derenle Edun.
This is yet another Emem Isong collaboration, but this time around with Desmond Elliot. The movie, which was premiered on the same day as Nollywood Hustlers, is a love story about a pampered but bored housewife who feels emotionally neglected by her husband, a controlling, busy business executive. She soon becomes emotionally entangled with his attractive brother-in-law. The movie featured Nollywood's breakout actress Nse Ikpe Etim, best remembered for her remarkable performance in the 2008 Emem Isong movie Reloaded.