“You Just Can’t Stop”

Picture in Nigeria Photography Book

Picture in Nigeria Photography Book

That was the humorous response one of my friends had to my latest email announcing the publication of my book “Picture in Nigeria” (as well “It Started With Yellow”, a book of some of my oil paintings). This friend knows me well. My entrepreneurial addiction.

I just returned from an excellent trip to Nigeria. This was my third trip there and second time as a Cinematography teacher for the African Film Academy. The AFA is the brain child of Peace Anyiam Fiberesima, CEO of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). She is also the star, if you will, of the documentary “Peace Mission”, directed by Dorothee Wenner which premiers at the Toronto Film Festival. The film academy provides two functions: 1. to improve the quality of Nollywood films (the third largest film industry in the world) and to 2. improve the quality of life for Nigerian youth.

This trip had so many highlights and to the best of my ability, I tried to capture those moments in “Picture in Nigeria”. Some of the highlights:

Two dear friends and colleagues joined me on this trip. Toni Barton taught Production Design and Cinque Northern taught Editing. Everyday before class, we’d each discuss our lesson plans for the day. Each night, we’d cover what worked, what didn’t and would generously offer each other suggestions on how to improve class the following day. Beyond being my friends, both Cinque and Toni I so respect professionally. They had so much to offer their students and I got to learn quite a bit as well. For a nugget of wisdom, ask Cinque about the “tapping foot” or Toni about color theory.

Another delight was that the majority of my students were members of the Nigerian Society of Cinematographers. All of my friends know how much I want to be “Cybel Martin ASC” so I felt I was inching closer to that dream. I also must say that it was really such a joy to teach advance students and really delve into the complexity, aesthetics and philosophy inherent in Cinematography.

One HUGE treat happened before we even left. My friend Anthony Artis wrote an incredibly insightful and all encompassing book, called “The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide”. Its a big success at Barnes n Noble and Amazon. It just had a wonderful review in American Cinematographer Magazine. I emailed him and asked if he could donate a book to the AFA. I figured he might be open as he had already donated books to my other cause celebre, The Ghetto Film School. So anyway, he emailed me back that not only would he donated one book with DVD but would also give me the remaining 12 “Down and Dirty DV – Vol. 1.: Documentaries” books. The latter carries all of the same information only in black/white. On the first day of class, all of my students received a copy of this book. I felt like a rockstar.

In brief, some other highlights: my grilled fish and plantains at La Cachette, the band at Legato and the press conference on the last day in Lagos. Ok. I can’t be brief. One note about Legato. It was this super-cool club with a band that was undescribably funky. Some bad ass Fela meets James Brown meets Coltrane meets Angie Stone meets…It was 2am and we had to drag Cinque out of the club.

The title of my book “Picture in Nigeria” came from obviously that pictures were taken in Nigeria, but also as if one would say, “picture this, in Nigeria”. Most people, it seems, hear “Nigeria” and can only envision internet scams, corruption, oil and poverty. All of those “activities” also exist in the US, however, we want to be noticed for our diversity and contributions to the global community. Nigeria is no different. I mean, this is Fela country. All around NYC I see cool ass dudes wearing hats and button down shirts looking a whole lot like Fela.

Before I left, I chatted with another NYU alum and hard core film hustler, Pete Chatmon. He is the one who suggested that I create a book. I think its safe to say that I am pretty aggressive in my entrepreneurial pursuits, however whenever I go to Nigeria, I feel perhaps slacking now and then. Knowing there are more people I could call or more deals I could make, if I wanted to. So when Pete suggested that I publish a book, I knew he was correct. And published two titles just to be solid.

Auntie’s Advice: You can always do more. So do more.

Auntie’s Other Advice: Tap your friends. They are an incredible resource.

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~ by Cybel Martin on August 29, 2008.

2 Responses to ““You Just Can’t Stop””

  1. […] post is a reprint from my Auntie Carrie site. For obvious reasons, I had to mention it in Fed Artist. One thing I am noticing and loving about […]

  2. well the training i will say was a master class for the pros, we interact as colleagues and oen eye on celluloid filmmaking, trash out all about designing a creative footage with light and more.

    i from the experience i had from likes of CNN, SABC, FOX SPORTS, MYRIAD GLOBAL UK, MEDIALINKS UK ETC HAD MY LITLLE INPUT ON HOW TO SKILL EXERCISE TO OTHER STUDENTS.

    ALL I CAN SAY NOW AS THE PRO OF THE NIGERIA SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHER TO CYBEL, PEACE AND OTHERS IS TO KEEP IT UP AND DO MORE.

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