Benin TV chief jailed for program slamming presidential palace

A Benin court on Wednesday jailed the director of a private television channel for airing a program in which a former government aid slammed the inner workings of the presidential palace, claiming it is plagued by corruption.

The court convicted Berthe Cakpossa of having committed an offence against President Thomas Boni Yayi by having aired the September program and sentenced her to three months imprisonment.

It also fined her a total of 500,000 CFA francs (762 euros).

In September, Cakpossa's Canal 3 broadcast a press conference in which Lionel Agbo -- a former spokesman of the president -- accused close collaborators of the president of corruption.

During the press conference, Agbo said that within the palace "there are men and women who have made (a) fortune; a small group of people have become millionaires." He also suggested that the president was aware of the alleged corruption.

Cakpossa, who did not appear at her trial, has two weeks to appeal the ruling.

Nollywood star: That actresses claim to find Nollywood survival difficult, a farce — Sam Uche Anyamele

Sam Uche Anyamele is no new face in Nollywood, having featured in over 50 productions spanning the English, Yoruba and Igbo genres. Rotimi Ige caught up with the artiste, where he shared his life’s experiences. Excerpts;

How did you come into acting as a profession?
Acting started way back for me in church; Assemblies of God Church, Isolo, Lagos, with continuous participation in local drama presentations virtually weekly as a child/adolescent/teenager, under the auspices of Bro Chimezirim Odimba, who I refer to as my discoverer.

It continued from there on to many referrals/auditionings until Super Story gave me my big break, then I got a proper direction into the profession.

Tell us how being an actor was for you when you started?
It was quite interesting for me at the early stage as a result of my sheer-experience(s) in church drama.

However, as I grew in the industry (screen/stage), it became rather intriguing, as I had to daily compare the possibilities with the realities in life at large.

Did you have your family’s support?
Family’s support was hap-hazard for a long period of time in my life, as my Mum was subtle in showing her full support because my father practically referred to my artistic activities as “truancy”.

Hence, I struggled through my career, but I am grateful to God today that not only is my family proud to have me, by extension my autonomous community at large (paternally and maternally), is too.

So, how did you grow your craft to become the brand you are today?
Growing my craft, over the years, was a discreet decision taken, having told myself that I did not need to appear in every movie to make a name for myself, as all I needed to do was to clinch an important role and then, live and become it.

Making the most out of it, this, I must say, has worked out for me today that, with all due respect, I stand out today as a brand in Nollywood at large.

Any major challenges along the way?
Challenge today is rather moribund, as I had to grow by it over time, making me extend my frontiers to self capacity building strategies (artistically, academically and otherwise) in order to combat the impending situations.

Nonetheless, challenges surface in my industry relatively (positively/negatively).

In any case, I am now trained to withstand and suffice in all ramifications.

Actresses say it is more difficult for them to survive in Nollywood than actors. How true?
I object to the opinion that actresses find it more difficult to survive in Nollywood than actors because on the average,it is the art that comes first before the artiste.

Although there may be some harassments, no doubt, but we are yet to hear a case of rape. It is rather twice difficult for the guys to get a breakthrough as it were.

Please note, as you are aware, that the average lady catches the eye of a man, but for the guy in this part of the world, hmm. it is well ooo!

So you had it easy getting roles as an actor?
Getting roles for me was quite tough, first, because I was a bit selective and then, I didn’t want to feature in every kind of movie. I thank God for the few that have contributed to “Sam Uche Anyamele” the brand.

Tell us about the movies you have acted in?
My last check/count was about 50 including English and Yoruba movies, having done some major stints in screen/stage performances.

Some are English-Virginity of the goddess, Kill the Bride, Day of Atonement, Bafana Bafana, Two Brothers...(Yoruba) Etu, Ibosi Oru, The Ransome, Oogun Aje, Akorede...(Soaps) Super Story, About to Wed, White House, Images, Spider...(Stage) Idemili, Prison Chronicles, Nana of the Niger Delta, Midnight Blackout, Farewell to a Carnibal Rage...

What compromises have you had to make as a professional actor over the years?
Hmm. I have had to forfeit my professional fee to accept the producer’s mite because the script was right; cancelling major appointments because I must round off a production considering the logistics involved on the part of the producers; taking up artistic directorship in a production where I am only meant to be an actor because of the young actors involved and for the production value at large; missing classes (not tests/exams) in school because of what we refer to as continuity for the sake of my integrity as a professional actor!

Is the Nigerian movie industry where it should be?
Our movie industry is not there yet, but I must confess that our growth is rather amazing lately with our movies as regular feature in the cinemas.
Moreso, our production value is increasing geometrically with a touch of professional cast and crew from the diaspora. Thus,we are fast getting there.

What has the profession given you and what has it taken from you?
My profession has given me fame, contacts, exposure and access for which I am so grateful to God.

But then, it has taken away privacy, continuous struggle with reality as fans expect so much more. Sometimes, some fans either extort you or make sure you part with cash before you move on...

Have you changed in any way from the Sam Anyamele you were before acting till date?
Truly, I have become a better Sam Uche Anyamele since I started acting as my engagements in the entertainment industry at large, has exposed me to all and sundry giving me the sheer opportunity to daily check and balance my life.

Tell us a bit about your background and early days?
Early days for me rather a triangular lifestyle as I was either at home (apex) or the school (rear-right) or the church (rear-left).

This lifestyle contributed immensely to the brand that I am today as it help shape my life in all ramifications by making me eschew all forms of violence and vices as it were today!

Early education?
Education for me was rather challenging as I went to and through school against all odds.

I attended Farombi Primary school, Isolo Grammar School, University of Lagos (Business Education), Advanced Diploma - Advertising & Promotions Mgt - Unilag, PGD - Cultural Administration - Nasarawa State University; Masters in Educational Management - UNILAG.

How did you become a stakeholder in the Next Movie star project?
I had an intensive chat with the Executive Producer of The Next Movie Star and MD/CEO of Digital Interactive Media after which I was invited for an interview with the board of directors.

Consequently, I resumed the office as the General Manager of Digital Interactive Media and the Associate Producer of The Next Movie Star 2012.

What is NMS about?
The Next Movie Star is a TV reality show that offers a lifetime of training to conquer the world of entertainment at large.

The show has established itself as one of the most watched programmes on TV, this much was attested to by viewers who watched and interacted with the programme throughout the show on TV.

It’s been the biggest and most exciting reality show on TV in Nigeria, Ghana and several African countries since 2005! Its a 30-day sensational experience, filled with thrills with 16 housemates, 1 Winner, 2 runners up, and then the last 8 standing who would be our major feature in the soap/serial titled ‘Dormitory 8’ which runs for one whole year on terrestrial TV platforms nationwide.

How is it relevant to the entertainment industry and to participants as a whole.
Its relevance are beyond words. A brand new car, movie contracts, loads of consolation prizes, media and publicity exposure et al for the participants.

To the entertainment industry at large, NMS, as fondly called, has discovered more successful stars in the African entertainment industry than any other reality show platform.

These include, Tonto Dike, Annie Macauley Idibia, Uti Nwachukwu, Karen Igho, Kevin Chuwang Pam, Porttia Yamahan, Lydia Forson, Zerziyia Wilson, Tamara Eteimo and a host of others.

Would you say that the project has been successful over the years?
Yes! The show has been quite successful over the years because we have constructed a custom built house (bed/sitting rooms, lounges, swimming pool, rehearsal studio, laundry room, interior/exterior bar, kitchen,dining,etc) for NMS which is tastefully finished with appealing aesthetics and decor that will make it a delight for our ardent viewers.

NMS has also been nominated for and won laurels from various stables in recognition of its ingenuity.

Tell us a bit about your personal life?
My personal life is surrounded by art with music, plays, books, paintings, a bit of sculpture and ceramic works etc...then again I like to be alone sometimes for a quick recap and self motivation.

What do you fancy about women?
I love simplicity at its best, any form of godliness, being domestic, emotionally stable, industrious, respectful, morally sound, educated, beautiful, etc. Infact, just be a virtuous woman as prescribed by the Holy Bible!

Considering your fine boy status in Nollywood, how have you handled your female fans?
(Laughter) For the females, I take them in my strides which explains why I quickly draw the line when I must for safety.

But then again, I am quite accessible and amiable with guidelines though.

What other projects are you into?
For projects both personal and from the company, I will keep you updated as they unveil because with the press, I like to be double sure before making any official pronouncements as it were.

Tell us something few people know about you?
That I am Godly, detailed, down to earth and that I love academic qualifications.

How do you relax?
I listen to good and cool music either live or on TV/radio. A bit of wine and then I enjoy some intelligent jokes in a well ventilated area!

Fashion sense?
As simple as ever either in formal outfits or traditional wears and sometimes (very occasionally) in casuals.

Last words?
My philosophy is “Life is when we make the most of it”!

Source:, 1 February 2013.

South Africa: AFDA executives are pleased to announce the appointment of a number of senior staff in key positions at their three campuses in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. As part of its consistent drive to provide a high quality and relevant education for young aspiring filmmakers, TV producers and performers, AFDA has appointed a number of prominent academics and practitioners to top posts within these campuses.

Senegal: at the end of 2012, Seynabou Diop Sow succeeded to Gnagna Sidibé, head of RTS, the public “Radio TV du Sénégal”.  Source

Côte d’Ivoire: The death of Kitia Touré (CEO ONAC-CI, l'Office National du Cinéma de Côte d'Ivoire in French) causes disruption at the head of the Ivorian cinema. The Ivorian Minister of Culture and Francophonie, Mr. Kouakou Maurice Bandaman appointed a new Director General to the National Film Board of Côte d'Ivoire (ONAC-CI). The choice fell on the Ivorian filmmaker Kramo Lanciné Fadika. An official ceremony took office took place on Wednesday 23 January 2013 in Abidjan.