History has been a strong source of inspiration for film makers. Hence, the newly released short film, ‘The Encounter’ directed by Tolu Ajayi and produced by Emeka Mekwunye is not different from other historical films previously produced.
The film is a poignant historical drama adaptation based on the short story “The Encounter” written by historian, Henry Onyema.
The film tells the story of a moment in the history of the nation and how the events that transpired helped in determining what Nigeria is today. Set in 1967 during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, an imprisoned Ifeajuna is summoned by Biafran Commander-in-Chief General Emeka for one last conversation – one last encounter.
The Encounter goes a step further by not only addressing a highly significant issue of the time through seamless storytelling; the film entertains, educates and also informs the audience on the importance and value of Nigerian history by delving into the subject matter and dissecting and analysing the roles played by pivotal historic personalities.
The two defining characters in the short film are critically juxtaposed in order to depict the tension that was characteristic of the time. Their ensuing conversation causes the audience to engage in meaningful reflection.
The role of the main characters General Emeka and Emmanuel Ifeajuna were played by Gregory Ojefua and Amara Onoh respectively. The film was directed by Tolu Ajayi, produced by Ekene Mekwunye and the screenplay by Sammy Egbemawei.
The original story writer, Henry Onyema said he decided to rewrite how Emmanuel Ifeajuna was perceived in history. “I decided to tell the story of the civil war outside of politics. I decided to recreate the story of Emmanuel Ifeajuna, who was an activist and a close friend on late Emeka Ojukwu. People see him as a traitor,” he explained.
The film director, Ajayi said he saw the script online and fell in love with the story line. He decided to contact the writer and later it was adapted into film.
Gregory Ojefua, who played the role of General Emeka Ojukwu said it was quite tasking to play such a big role. “I had to master the way he speaks. He speaks pure Queen’s English. I had to do this to internalize his character. It was not only challenging and difficult but it was fun,” he said.
The full version of ‘The Encounter’ is available for viewing on Youtube via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UZbKboaP50