A lot of effort goes into finding and sharing the quality of historical information Imoh Umoren offers in his new film, The Herbert Macaulay Affair. The film is what its title implies: a dramatic record of the life of Herbert Macaulay, the legendary Nigerian politician and activist. The inspiration for this film came to Umoren in 2014 during his time working with the writing team that supported the ‘Nigeria at 100 Years’ documentary.
Herbert Macaulay is an imposing figure in Nigeria’s history. Yet, only a few Nigerians are really aware of the details of his life, or the impact his life had on the development of our country. Macaulay is popularly considered the father of Nigerian nationalism. He was a journalist, a politician, a violinist, an engineer and according to some sources, an Ifa priest. His grandparents were returnee slaves who settled in Sierra Leone before they returned to Lagos. His father, Thomas Babington Macaulay, was a strict missionary and educator of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), as well as the founder and first principal of the CMS Grammar School, Lagos. Herbert’s mother, Abigail Crowther Macaulay, was the daughter of Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a descendant of King Abiodun.
The film’s teaser trailer begins with an interesting paragraph that talks about the bubonic plague that struck Lagos in 1924. The film is set at this point in time, and so we meet Herbert Macaulay in his 60’s, one of the most tumultuous and exciting periods of his life. His political escapades before and during this time earned him dislike and mistrust from the colonial government.
Herbert Macaulay was an advocate for the people until the moment of his death. He was rushed back to Lagos from Kano after he collapsed during a nationwide tour by a delegation of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) in 1945. At that time he was 81, but the old man, who was also a co-founder of the NCNC, had insisted on accompanying the delegation on its mission to explain its aims and objectives to the Nigerian people. Nnamdi Azikiwe was named Acting President after Macaulay’s death.
Imoh Umoren is a well known producer of independent films. He launched his career in the production of commercial television shows like The Maze, Malta Guinness Street Dance, The MTN XtraConnect Game Show, Project Fame and The Station. He funded his first film, Lemon Green, with the salary he earned from working on Project Fame. The film was released in 2009. Lemon Green won several awards and was screened at multiple film festivals. The poor treatment of Nigerians in the production of franchise shows was what motivated Imoh to attempt making films on his own.
Umoren is a prolific producer, but he is also a meticulous filmmaker. His experimental film, Hard Times, won an Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) for ‘Best New Media (Online Video)’ in 2015. In 2016 he wrote and directed The Happyness Limited and in 2017 he wrote, produced and directed the film Children of Mud which was nominated for four AMVCA Awards in 2018, including Best Actress for 11-year-old Mariam Kayode’s role in the film.
Imoh has released three feature film trailers this year, The Coffin Salesman, Dear Bayo, and Lagos: Sex, Lies & Traffic, an M-Net commissioned film. The Herbert Macaulay Affair is his latest project, and it will be available sometime in September. Watch the trailer below.
This Day Live
The Guardian NG
Featured image source: This Day Live