10 Key Takeaways ‘Breath of Life’ Seminar Hosted By Film One and Nemsia Films

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An insight into the successful making of the Nollywood film Breath of Life and all that it represents.

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One of 2023 most admired Nigerian films is Breath of Life directed by BB Sasore and produced by Eku Edewor. The faith-based film stars Genoveva Umeh, Wale Ojo, Chimezie Imo, Ademola Adedoyin, Sam Dede, Bimbo Manuel, Tina Mba, Ashionye Michelle Raccah, Melanie Atari, and Eku Edewor.

The title was Prime Video Commission and debuted on the streaming platform on December 15th 2023.

The script-to-screen workshop hosted by @filmoneng in collaboration with the producers of Breath of Life @nemsia_films was on 7th March, at the landmark, film house Cinema.

10 Key Takeaways from the Script to Screen Workshop

1. Breath of Life movie was 1 out of 5 pitches to Amazon executives in 2021. The studio heads were introduced to Prime Video executives based on the positive reception of the Before 30 series made back in 2015. The film references in this pitch was described as

“The mystery and fantasy of a special person from movies like Forest Gump, Benjamin Button meets the heartwarming relationship story of a curmudgeon and a young man from films like Scent of a Woman in the genre vehicle of God Calling.

Other genre pitches included a kid adventure, 2 drama narratives and a before-30 feature.

2. ⁠ Notes From Amazon: The script revision of Breath of Life written by BB Sasore was done more than 3 times. In the notes were revisions for clear-cut personality scenes for Elijah, more fleshed-out female sub-characters, less use of voice-over, and the introduction of the demolishing of a church to increase the stakes in the second to third act.

3. Movie budget: Breath of Life was commissioned on a $500k production and $500k marketing budget. During the seminar, the producers shared that based on the production value seen in the film, a $1 million check could have been cut if a bid for the acquisition was ever done.

4. ⁠ Hiring a creative director: Traditionally, Nollywood productions don’t make use of a creative director. The producers of the film commented that hiring one was quite instrumental to the output of the director’s vision.  The creative director made the production team well-aligned. Department heads of Costume, Art and Makeup teams followed the overall feel, look and references of locations, props and characters all documented by the creative director which made the film more cohesive on a production design level.
5. HOD meetings: Breath of Life Shoot was strictly done for 12 hours per day. Nemsia head of production who was assistant director held meetings every 2 days after the shoot. This meeting ensured the film output was consistent and no delays in the production schedule.
6. Casting: In a surprise reveal, Mavin Rapper Ladipoe and Warruche Opia were to be cast as Elijah and Anna on a paper. Tomiwa Edun, Daniel Etim Effong, RMD and Funke Akindele also had roles. Only Wale Ojo was a locked cast member as the title was built around him as the lead character Timi.

7. Most expensive Costume: Princess Alexandra of Kent represented the Queen at the Independence celebrations of Nigeria. She flew to Lagos on 26 September 1960 and was welcomed in Nigeria by a crowd of tens of thousands of people. In Breath of Life, a depiction of the queen’s dress was shown at the 5-minute mark and is labelled as the most expensive exact look to replicate.

8. ⁠The Baby Fire Gang were real local okada riders and not actors. They were styled in costumes, which was a very unpopular style of red.

9. ⁠Nemsia hired an Acting coach for Chimezie Imo to play his role as Elijah.

10. All the VFX work was done by a local Nigerian team, led by Jerry Ossai.

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