Oil on Water
Ferried in a canoe by an old man and a boy into the depths of the Niger Delta—along oil-slick rivers illuminated at night by blazing gas flares from abandoned oil wells—two journalists—Rufus, green but enthusiastic, and his mentor Zaq, an aged and cynical alcoholic—are on a search for the kidnapped wife of a European oil industry executive. “The story is not always the ultimate goal,” enunciates Zaq to Rufus at the beginning of this Conradian journey: “the meaning is.” Their quest for meaning will challenge their understanding of truth while, driven by merging forces, the immediate environment is deteriorating at a glance.
Before the publication of his acclaimed third novel, Oil on Water, author Helon Habila sent me a draft manuscript. He said, “You will get it.” Habila and I are of the same generation: that generation born in the mid-1960s at the onset of the Biafran war; the end of the brief illusion of Nigerian independence that was followed by half-a-dozen coups d’état, a change from imperial measurement to metric, from driving on the left to driving on the right, from pounds sterling to the Naira monetary system... In short, we were a generation caught in the turmoil of change. With Oil on Water, I wish to explore, cinematically, characters caught between dreams, nightmares and reality.
Newton Aduaka is a screenwriter and director, particularly recognised for his indie film Rage (2001), his short film Aïcha (2004), which was selected for the Official Competition of the Venice International Film Festival, and Ezra (2007), which won the Golden Stallion at FESPACO and went on to win twenty-eight awards, including six grand jury prizes, and was sold to multiple territories throughout the world. On its premiere in competition at the Sundance, Ezra was nominated for the Humanitas Prize, and later screened in the Semaine de la Critique at the Festtival de Cannes and was awarded the UN Prize for Peace and Tolerance, among other awards. Aduaka was named one of the 50 Greatest Cultural Figures Shaping the African Continent by the London Independent. He lives in Paris.
Éric Idriss-Kanago has been producing films for some twenty years. His films have been shown in cinemas and on television in Canada and throughout Europe and Africa. It is with a constant concern for authenticity and quality that many of his productions, such as Aujourd'hui by Alain Gomis, have been selected for and won awards from the most prestigious international festivals, including Berlinale, Venice, FESPACO and others. In 2018, he founded Yzanakio in Montreal with the clear ambition of contributing to the construction of a more inclusive and Afro-centric collective memory. Idriss-Kanago is the founder of Black-on-Black Films and a co-founder of M.É.D.I.A, organizations working for a better representation of BIPOC talents and creators.
€4 000 000
October, November 2022, Nigeria ; December 2022, Canada
Partners (funds, broadcasters), distributors, sales, co-producers from France, Senegal or the United Kingdom