Codename 1.0 is a short action film of sound quality and production by 18 year old Nigerian filmmaker, Nicolas Oduniwe. I spoke to Nicolas, commonly known as Kuddi recently about his films and his plans for them.
Your name is Nicolas but you go by the name Kuddi. Why’s that and how did this come about?
I always wanted to change my name. I picked Kuddi when I started making music because obviously, it was weird having ‘Nicolas’ as a stage name. To me it wasn’t really catchy. I really can’t remember why I specifically chose ‘Kuddi’.
Tell me about your craft.
I make short films. My films are short because making longer films (features) or 10-15mins films need funding and lots of man power, if not you’re going to end up making trash which I feel is a problem in the Nollywood of today.
I invest a lot into my craft. My dad buys all my cool gear (and it was really hard to convince him to let me study film but I had to prove my passion to him.) I have so much gear including my Canon C300 which is $10,000 and my lenses which cost up to $2000. I take this very seriously.
I’m interning at Warner Bros soon and also get access to information from films that aren’t out yet such as Thor: Ragnork, Kingsmen: Golden Circle. As well as footage from films like Mad Max also work with cast from top Hollywood films like 100 Street. iBoy, Avengers and the rest.
I’ve been on this film thing since 2014. Back then I was still studying sciences but when I noticed I was spending hours on my laptop trying to watch other films and learn than reading my chemistry books, I knew I was going on the wrong path. I spend (on average) 12 hours a day editing/ writing/ scoring/ producing a film. But I wouldn’t say it’s a hassle because I’m studying film in university so I guess I’m doing what I like and chasing my dreams.
I’ve watched the video myself and it is very good. Quality, production, everything is really good. It’s a short action film but what was the premise? What was/ is your intention for the video?
Codename 1.0 follows the story of a young girl being hunted by a shadow organization called the Oculus, this action packed film is the first release of a 3 episode franchise titled “Codename: Codename”. The film features two actors, One who featured in Marvel’s Doctor Strange & the other in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
When I was creating this film, my intention was to show the world that Nigerians have the ability to make industry standard films if we put in time, planning and effort into it.
I love what it is you’re trying to do and I’m probably out of my league here but because your film is so short, it would make sense if you provided a bit more context in your next one. Had you not explained, I would’ve merely thought it was a 4 minute fight scene because there was nothing to go on.
That being said, how do you intend to fix this? Or what lesson will you take from this first film into your second? (You said it was a 3 part episode).
The reason people might say they don’t understand is because it’s only the first episode. People don’t usually get the whole plot in pilot episode. Honestly this ‘4minute film’ cost around $600 to make.
Paying the actors, covering transportation, food on set, props (guns, fake blood) wardrobe and renting camera equipment et al. I’m no expert, but with time I would like to enhance my skills to tell people stories within a short amount of time People think it’s all about getting people to fake things on screen but it’s more about the cinematography; telling a story visually. For example, an emotional scene where a mother just watched her son die on the hospital bed would require a close up shot to show the emotion on her face which brings us closer to the mother, making us pity her based on what we see because we feel what she feels.
I don’t only direct the films, rather, I shoot, edit and colour grade themI learn with each film I make. This film has had the best Foley yet. The next film has to have a better cinematography because I’ve learnt more shots and camera movement techniques with this 4 minute film alone.
Okay, so are the other two in the works?
Yes, Codename: Neptune & Codename: Final Chapter are in works, they’re set to arrive in July 2017 and October 2017 respectfully.
This isn’t your first short film is it?
Before this I posted two experimental films that caught the eyes of Nigerians: Oh death & We don’t need fancy cars. I have also shot a music video for Abuja artist Psycho.
You’ve said Nigerians have the ability to make industry standard films. Surely you must be aware that not everyone has the means or opportunity to go ahead with this. And do you intend to take this back to Nigeria? I understand what it is you’re trying to do, but how do you want to do this?
When I master my craft, I will be taking this back to Nigeria to try and improve the standards of films made there. I think Nigerians just need a little push and motivation to excel. I recently founded a production company called 5th Dimension Company. My vision is to make this and dominate in the technical and visual aspect. In other words… we intend to provide high end gear and equipment for the industry which can boost quality. We are also working a film school for Nigerians that want to live their film dreams. It’s unfortunate we don’t have lots of people in the film sector because of how strict Nigerian parents are about what their children should be studying. If I can do it then anyone can.