A film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s time-honoured classic Aké: The years of childhood in which he covers his own childhood years at the prime of Nigeria’s colonial period 1934-1945. It is set squarely within the World War II years. Soyinka combines a beautiful child-view narrative technique with direct echoes from the war as heard and imagined down in Aké-Abeokuta.
Apart from its significant peek into his first eleven years, the political import and rumbles of the war that Soyinka covers through the eyes of a child endows it with its greatest significance at both an historical and a literary text.
Aké is filmed in various locations in Abeokuta, Ibadan and Lagos on and off through some fifteen months. A further nine months were spent in post-production, and is now set for a world-wide release on 24 December 2016.
The compendium Aké, Great Moments of a Grand Production is a pictorial narrative complemented with commentaries provided mostly by the film’s director and executive producer, Dapo Adeniyi.
Images featured are mostly cine grabs, with scant actual still photographs by photographers George Osodi and Akintude Akinleye who happened on the production while rolling.
Wole Soyinka, Africa’s foremost writer and dramatist, is also the first black winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
Aké began filming officially on 13th July 2013. The thinking was to set out on Soyinka’s 79th birthday. We had all kinds of outsize ideas as well, much of which had to be turned down in the face of prevailing realities. For example, we wanted the first day of shoot to be witnessed by “friends of Aké”. It did not take long before we came to the realization that not everyone felt as upbeat as we did about the project. The need for it. The privilege of it, of being a part of it.
It also came into manifestation that many whom we thought would leap to help out were, for reasons best known to them, bent on destroying the project even before it took off. Their machinations congealed, got quite animated and very nearly drowned the efforts on landing. All of those did not prevent us from aiming for the best. Someone commented that Aké saw the largest buildup of hardware in Nigeria’s production history. Red scarlet cam, HMIs, cranes, tracks and dollies, etc.
“I was very concerned for the part given to me because, to play the part of the mother of our Nigerian legend, is a big kettle of fish for someone like me.
Each time I try to prepare for it my mind races because of her very strong yet extremely calm and volatile personality, I’m so grateful I got thought of for the role of Mrs. Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti.”
“Wole Soyinka is the only African writer who is well known to the public in the West. A film adaptation of his childhood narrative is a very big pie to dip one’s hand in.”