The writer, director, and producer of the yet-to-be released postapocalyptic Nollywood movie, ‘Ratnik,’ reveals how the coronavirus pandemic has enabled him prepare for the future.
Dimeji Ajibola, writer, director and producer of ‘Ratnik,’ a postapocalyptic Nigerian movie formally scheduled to be released in April said his eyes are set on opening a visual effects school.
When the coronavirus pandemic led to a lockdown across some Nigerian states, including Lagos where Ajibola is based, he saw it as an opportunity to focus on other projects.
Apart from making films, Ajibola is also in the production arm of advertising. This too was affected. “At the time coronavirus came I was spending a lot of money in promoting ‘Ratnik,’ and when we were getting to the point where we would be expecting returns, it wasn’t possible,” he said. “It was a bad time.”
Instead of being demoralised, and as one “who saw an opportunity in everything,” he focused his energy on other projects he had lined up. “So, I took the opportunity to start refining them, work on my content and build myself up,” he said.
Now Ajibola plans to open a visual effects school sometime in the future in respect to animation and visual effects. “With animation, you need time to put a lot of things together, and the lockdown provided that time I always wanted,” he said.
Before now, ‘Ratnik’ was supposed to be released in April but covid-19 stopped it. Ajibola said the opening of the entertainment industry, particularly the cinemas, would determine the movie’s new release date. “We are going to wait for everything to come back to normal before we make an announcement. People are still sceptical, so we would re-evaluate, because it’s almost as if we may need to start promotions from the second phase. We would do that, build the momentum and then announce a new date.”
Ajibola was first an animator before he became a filmmaker. He wanted to tell a story using animation but soon realised how tasking it was and decided to go into filmmaking. That was how he went to the New York Film Academy in the United States in 2009. When he returned, in an attempt to test his prowess, he wrote ‘Hoodrush’ in 2010/2011 and the film was released in 2012.
“After that, I got a lot of accolades. This encouraged me to follow my true calling, which is visual effects. A lot of people don’t know that I am an animator,” he said.
So, Ajibola wrote another movie titled ‘Sango,’ which has a lot of visual effects in it as well. But he realized that he would need a lot of sponsors to make it happen and he couldn’t get that at the time.
“‘Ratnik’ was supposed to be a film that would showcase our talent in that area so as to encourage sponsors. That was the plan,” he told Daily Trust. They wanted a movie that would show how good they were. So, Ajibola wrote the movie, shot it in 2016 and started the visual effects.