The Nigerian Army has made a bold venture into the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, with a feature film soon to be premiered.
The movie is based on the events surrounding the failed 1976 coup as seen from the eyes of an officer’s wife.
Executive Director of the movie, Prince Tonye Princewill, revealed that the most difficult challenge that faced the production of the film was the effort to secure a working relationship with the Nigerian Army.
Meticulously executed, the pre-production period took two years including eight months of trying to secure all necessary permission from the Nigerian Army and seven months of shooting.
The script was scrutinised and supervised by an army officer appointed to monitor each step of the filming process, from beginning to end.
Most of the scenes were shot at the Mokola Barracks in Ibadan, Oyo State. As the 200-member cast and crew stayed together for about seven months, bonding as a family was inevitable.
The movie, which cost about N100 million to produce promises to shine in the theatres and earn more applause for Director Izu Ojukwu.
The award-winning director is known for his work in other movies like ‘Mirror Boy’ and ‘Last Flight to Abuja’.
’76 is a love story that challenges the myopia of ethnicity and bigotry. It brings to the fore the suffering and tenacity of the average Nigerian woman-mother and wife.
’76 is the story of a young army officer of Middle Belt origin who gets involved in a romantic relationship with an O-level student from South-eastern Nigeria.
In a twist of fate, their relationship gets strained by constant military postings taking the officer away from home most of the time.
The soldier gets accused of being involved in the unsuccessful 1976 military coup and assassination of Nigeria’s late Head of State General Murtala Mohammed. His heavily pregnant wife, goes through a phase of emotional trauma as a result.
Princewill thinks ’76 is watershed of sorts in Nollywood, being the first time the Nigerian Army would encourage that level of involvement in a movie that comments on military history and an epoch in the Nigerian Army.
’76 – First Nigerian Movie Produced Over A Timeline Of 7 Years
This is the first Nollywood movie that took seven years to make, quite unusual with Nollywood movies.
According to Executive Director Princewill,
“It took seven years to make this movie. We were not in a hurry at all. We avoided all the errors possible because we set our mind on a global audience from the first day. For close to one year, we were pursuing approval from the authorities of the Nigerian Army. The movie was shot at Mokola Barracks in Ibadan and the story of how the actors were made to fit into the environment should be reserved for another day.”
Director Princewill is confident that ’76, which is actually based on reality, will generate different emotions because of its careful combination of acted scenes with real life footage and historical material.
Watch movie trailer below: