Acclaimed filmmaker, Imoh Umoren’s new film ‘The Herbert Macaulay Affair’ explores the life of nationalist.
Macaulay was one of the first Nigerian nationalists and for most of his life a strong opponent of many colonial policies.
In 1944, Macaulay co-founded the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) together with Nnamdi Azikiwe and became its president.
The NCNC was a patriotic organization designed to bring together Nigerians of all stripes to demand independence.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, Umoren explained that the film dives into Macaulay’s personal life, struggles and love for Caroline Pratt.
According to several historical sources, Macaulay married Caroline Pratt, daughter of an African Superintendent of Police in December 1898.
The marriage came to an end in August 1899 upon Caroline’s death during childbirth and Macaulay was reported to have vowed never to marry again.
Umoren said, “The Herbert Macaulay Affair is the story of Young Herbert who returned from studying overseas to sow the seeds for the revolution that would eventually lead to our Independence.
“The story takes place between 1898 and 1925. It dives into his personal life, his love for Caroline Pratt and the his family and his love for the people.
“We see different sides of Herbert; The Lover and The Revolutionary,” he said.
Umoren also told NAN that he was inspired to make the film in 2014 based on his findings as a member of the writing team for the Nigerian ‘100 years’ documentary.
He said, “In 2014 I was part of the writing team for Nigeria’s 100 years anniversary documentary and as we delved in I realised there were so many parts of our history that we did not touch.
“For me, I choose to make the story about him to remind Nigerians that we as a people had never stood for tyranny. We spoke in one voice and overcame oppression together.”
Umoren explained that funding was a major struggle while he tries to make the film as “some people did not believe that a Nigerian director could pull this off.”
According to him, the film is intended to teach Nigerians more about the country’s history and the founding fathers.
He said, “I want the audience to learn about their history. You will be surprised just how many people thought Herbert Macaulay was white.
“Also, how many people don’t know a thing about him. I am talking grown adults here. I hope this film also encourages us to speak out against oppression and corruption and also to remind us of our heritage as a people,” he said.
Umoren is known for his socially conscious work, especially producing the first black and white silent film in Nollywood ‘Hard Times’ which won an Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) in 2015.
Umoren gained acclaim for making Indie films after his 2009 production, ‘Lemon Green’ got nominated for many awards and premiered at several film festivals.
Since then, he has worked on other indie films including primetime drama shows such as ‘Oghenekome’ which featured Nollywood stars, Ramsey Nouah and Segun Arinze.
In 2018, his work ‘Children of Mud’ got four nominations at the AMVCA including a Best Actress nominations for one of its actors, 11-year-old Mariam Kayode.
Umoren has also worked on ‘MTV Advance Warning,’ ‘Project Fame,’ ‘Don’t Forget The Lyrics,’ and ‘Malta Guinness Street Dance.’ (NAN)