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Entertainment of Saturday, 25 December 2021

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

Remembering Chico Ejiro, prolific Nigerian filmmaker, who died on Christmas Day

Nollywood‘s pioneer director and scriptwriter, Chico Ejiro Nollywood‘s pioneer director and scriptwriter, Chico Ejiro

It’s one year since one of Nollywood‘s pioneer directors and scriptwriters, Chico Ejiro, passed on but his footprints in the industry remain evergreen.

Mr Ejiro died in the early hours of Christmas Day, December 25, 2020, as a result of complications arising from high blood pressure.

He had only just concluded directing his new movie on Christmas eve.

Despite the festivities, the Christmas of 2021 turned gloomy when one of Nollywood's finest exports made his eternal exit from earth.

He was 57.

Ejiro was buried on February 20, 2021.

Nicknamed Mr Prolific, in his lifetime, he directed over 80 movies within a five-year period—each one was shot in as little as three days.

While the exact number of movies he has worked on as either director, producer, or both is unknown, his colleagues said they were over 300 movies.

The late veteran filmmaker epitomised the creative genius of early Nollywood and the survival spirit that spurred their artistic race.

The straight-to-home video productions became popular in 1992 with the production of ‘Living in Bondage’ by Nek Video Links headed by Kenneth Nnebue. Nollywood’s soaring popularity at the time piqued his interest.

Ejiro, who bagged a diploma in Agriculture from the Obafemi Awolowo University and a degree from the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, soon kicked off his very rewarding career in filmmaking.

As a screenwriter, he partnered with over 30 different movie organisations for television and film productions through his company, Grand Touch Pictures.

He held what is obviously an unbroken record of being the Nigerian director with the greatest number of home videos produced for public viewing.

The prolific director’s last works were filled with humour.

The likes of Jim Iyke, Ramsey Nouah, Victoria Iyama and Uche Iwuji, whom he discovered, owe their careers and success to Ejiro.

Even in death, the late filmmaker has been remembered and honoured for his enormous contributions to the industry.

He was the most popular filmmaker between the late 90s to the early 2000s which included movies like Full Moon (1998), Blood money (1997), Outcast (2001), Outkast (2001/2002), Ashanti (2003) and Deadly Desire (2004).

Ejiro was featured in the American movie and documentary film director,

Jamie Meltzer’s 2007 documentary titled ‘Welcome to Nollywood’.

Meltzer followed Ejiro as he shot ‘Family Affair 1’ and ‘Family Affair 2’ which was released in the same year.

The film explored the peculiar inner workings, economic challenges, and diverse array of colourful Nollywood movies.

It premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Avignon Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival in the summer of 2007.

The recent ‘Aki and Pawpaw’ movie, which was released on December 12, was also dedicated to late Ejiro and Sam Loco, two industry stars who are greatly missed in Nollywood.

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He is survived by his wife, Joy, three children and two brothers (Peter Red Ejiro and Zeb Ejiro). His last son, Viano, died in November 2021 after an illness.