Danish artist Jacob Boeskov flew to Lagos, Nigeria to make and star in a short action film he wrote titled, Dr. Cruel and the Afro-Icelandic Liberation Front with the noted Nollywood director Teco Benson. The film was produced by Creative Time Global, a new series of international initiatives launched this year by the NY public art organization.
Nollywood is known for its vibrant, near-zero-budget film industry, which should probably be called a video feature industry, since HD, DV, and even phonecams are the norm, and everything goes straight to the street on DVD. Dr. Cruel premiered in May in New York, but Creative Time recently posted Boeskov’s production diary online:
It has been a long day and Teco has surely delivered. He really is the finest action director in Nollywood. We have filmed chases and fights. I have destroyed a pair of my pants in one of my amazing stunt moves. He has been great to work with. He has an ability to make actors and crew feel good, even when he shouts at them. But it is late now and everybody is tired.
Just as we’re wrapping up a scene, I hear the sound of a generator dying and the room goes black. The production manager runs down to the street to look for black market fuel. There is a fuel crisis in Nigeria because of the absence of the president and… well, it’s a long story.
I go to the window and light a cigarette. The room is dark, lit only by the cell phones from the actors and the crew. The mood in the room is intense, but okay, I guess. People talk low, or are silent. The production manager is back, looking triumphant. He has managed to buy some fuel in the street, and the generator is running again. The lights are turned on. Back to work.