ABFFF: 'Rise Up' Premiers in North America in NYC
Arts and Culture Lifestyle

‘Rise Up’ Dazzles at ABFF North American Premier

Fimmaker Jeta Amata is seen at the American Black Film Festival. (Image: Richard Spiropolous)
Jeta Amata attends ABFF in NYC "Rise Up" north America premier

Amata says, “It feels gratifying to be able to bring this story of the suffering of the people of the Niger Delta to the big screen.”

Like many other Nollywood movies, the film started production on a shoestring budget–about $300,000–and as shooting progressed, more people requested to get on board the funds ballooned. Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, is the “second largest in the world.”

Amata also talks about working with a diverse cast of international and American actors saying, “Akon and Wyclef are great guys and so is Mickey Rourke. But we come from different societies and cultures and we speak different languages and act differently. It was a challenge both for me to try to fit into the shoes that they wanted me to as well as trying to get them to fit into my shoes but somehow we made it work.”

He also commented on the recent announcement that the petroleum company, Shell, had made an offer of $51 million to the Niger Delta to clean up two massive oil spills in the region. An offer that has been rejected by lawyers representing the region.

Amata says, surprisingly, he hasn’t received any blowback from any of the several oil companies operating in Nigeria that might have taken offense at the film. He says that’s because he doesn’t point any fingers specifically at any one group. He says several disparate groups are complicit in the rape of the region.

“It’s not just the oil companies. There is the government, the youth, the chiefs, it’s our problem. All of us. It has become abundantly clear. No one sits back anymore and sees it as just an oil company problem.”

The film has been picked up for distribution by RLJ Entertainment. RLJ has also announced a multi-year output partnership with KonLive Distribution, founded by multi-platinum recording artist Akon.