Nolly-Noir According to Walter Taylaur
Walter ‘Waltbanger’ Taylaur is an award-winning producer, director, and screenwriter with 10 years of experience in the industry. He has worked on a wide array of productions across short, documentary and feature films, as well as music videos, TV productions, and reality shows. Taylaur created, produced and directed the TV drama series Married to the Game – a partnership between his company, Waltbanger 101 Productions and Ebony Life TV. He wrote the original screenplay and is an associate producer of the independent feature film Get Lucky, produced by Gateway Films in the United Kingdom and Atlas Independent in the United States. Universal Studios is the distributor of the film. His other works include; a World Cup documentary; the BBC 4 documentary – New Kings of Nigeria; The Beautiful Game; and his debut film The Wages, he produced and directed, which went on to win the Best Short Film category at the 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA). In the same year, his feature film Gbomo Gbomo Express received nominations in two categories including Best Director for the 2016 AMVCAs and Best Actor at the Golden Movies Academy Awards (GMAA). In addition, his latest crime drama feature film closed the 5th edition of the Nollywood Week Paris Film Festival, where he also gave a master class on the ‘Nolly-Noir’ film genre.
Your new film Catch.er premiered on the last day of the Nollywood Week Paris Film Festival. Why did you choose this festival?
My film Gbomo Gbomo Express had been selected for the festival the previous year and received rave reviews, narrowly losing out on the 2016 Prix du Audience Award. During the Q&A after the screening, we received positive feedback and encouragement to continue with our brand of filmmaking. When we made another film it was only natural that we share it with the Nollywood Week Paris audiences first. The French are quite open to new film experiences, so I was pretty confident that it would be a great place to premiere Catch.er and that it would be well received. The reaction from the audience was extremely positive again! They loved the film immensely because of the way it was presented—story wise, visual style and music. The film is slightly darker, more serious in subject matter than my last film Gbomo Gbomo Express, yet the audience found some amusement watching the characters play out the various parts. I was quite surprised to see how amusing they found it. The soundtrack also got positive comments. Questions were asked about how I selected particular songs. I mentioned I used to be a music video director so music has always been key to my filmmaking style. It took several months to secure the rights for the title Ibeji.
Can you tell us about your inspiration for the movie?
Tunde Apalowo wrote the original script. When I first read it, I noticed it was full of intrigue, in a style that reminded me of some of our earlier works. The Soup Kitchen jumped on it, did a quick rewrite to spice it up even more, and the rest is history.
How did you figure out the right crew and cast for the production, and how long did principal photography take?
I had earmarked a few people to work with at some point, so Catch.er was the right moment for that to happen. Others are part of the family (aka. ‘The Wrap Pack’ or ‘Agberos’) as we have worked with them on previous projects and when I call them, I am confident they will deliver. Principal photography took 4 days, not by choice but due to schedules of key cast and crew members. We had the option of shooting a film, and so chose to shoot. We entertained several questions on the length of principal photography. The audience probed further on the length of pre-production, which took 2 months, postproduction, which took 3 months, and the type of cameras used. The Sony A7s2 w/ Zeiss lens was used and we utilised two directors of photography effectively to achieve our goals.
What was the focus of your master class on Nolly Noir at the film festival?
My journey and filmography as a writer, producer and director from Nollywood, Nolly-Noir as a new entity in world cinema, and how Catch.er embodies these. NollyNoir is a fusion of the traditional elements of Nollywood filmmaking with the influences of classic film noir and dark humour. What Nolly-Noir and Catch.er bring to the table is creativity, innovation, the attitude and resilience of Nollywood while exploring the themes, character archetypes, and style of Film Noir – all marinated with a hint of dark ‘Naija’ humour.
What were your expectations from the Paris premiere of your movie and how was the reception to your Gbomo Gbomo Express, which was screened last year?
I expected Catch.er to be the icing on the cake after a week of watching truly amazing Nollywood films, and to live up to its billing as the closing film of the festival. Catch.er will be available on Video on Demand platforms over the Christmas/New Year period. The reception for Gbomo Gbomo Express was awesome— it was an instant hit with the audiences.
Are you working on any new projects?
Yes, I am. Mascara a TV series, Catch.er Vol 2 and Area Dogs – a Nolly-noir/action feature.
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