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  • #Nollywood Entertainment #Nigeria News: A Nollywood Stunt That Almost Went ‘Sour’

    So, there was no truth in the report that an emerging actor, Mr. Ani Iyoho, suffered third degree burns, while playing fire-stunt on a movie set being directed Mr. Stanley Ohikhuare. News that the actor was badly burnt while interpreting a fire stunt on the set of Behind the Wheels went viral on various social media platforms as soon as images of the actor, made up as a burnt victim, was released by the crew ostensibly to create a buzz for the movie.

    However, as Ohikhuare later explained, what was intended as a stunt to promote the movie eventually caused panic in the industry. This was due to the twist talebearers on social media gave to the incident. Some said the actor was rushed to hospital and was placed on life support. So-called friends of the actor even took to social media to solicit funds for ‘urgent medical attention’ for the actor.

    One of the notices for help for the ‘badly burnt actor’ read thus: “Ani Iyoho, our friend and brother was badly burnt while trying to play a fire stunt on the set of a movie and he is lying helpless in an hospital on the Island. Please, let us not allow Ani to die. No help will be considered too small to help me get over this unfortunate tragedy”.

    Soon, request for the actors account details trended on social media. Those who offered to make donations ignored comments by those who had made enquiries that it was all a publicity stunt. It, however, took a press conference, addressed by the production team of Behind the Wheels for the true story behind the alleged fire incident to be unearthed. At the press conference held in Ikeja, Lagos, Ohikhuere, who was flanked by stuntman, Ani Iyoho, stated that contrary to all the news trending on social media that an actor got burnt during a movie shoot, the actor was “doing fine and great.”

    Ohikhuere further stated that although the actor did the fire stunt ‘under strict professional guidelines,’ he pulled the stunt through. According to him, “Ani Iyoho was contacted to act in the movie and do the stunts. He signed a release form after confirming that every safety measure was in place. Measures include the provision of five working fire extinguishers, a water source, which in this case, was a stream nearby from where we pumped water, a fire blanket and absolute professional preparation for the stunt, using the recommended media. We ‘set him’ on fire following strict professional guidelines.

    “Contrary to several speculations that he got burned and that the stunt was a failure, we, indeed, did succeed at pulling it off and Ani Iyoho is here with us today very healthy. He did it willingly from the beginning”.

    Ohikhuere explained that what the crew set out to achieve with the location images they released was to activate “that which is professionally referred to as ‘media influence’. In his words, “Media Influence refers to the actual force exerted by a media message, resulting in either a change or reinforcement in audience or individual beliefs. Today, we are all here because of the outcome – which is professionally referred to as ‘Media effects.’ Our friends at the Lagos Business School would know much about those phrases. These are measurable effects that result from media influence, or a media message. Whether that media message has an effect on any of its audience members is contingent on many factors, including audience demographics and psychological characteristics. These effects can be positive or negative, abrupt or gradual, short-term or long-lasting”.

    However, even though the incident climaxed as publicity stunt, it has raised concerns about safety of cast and crew on movie locations. A filmmaker, Obi Okeke, who saw the video clip of the stunt and who has followed the development, said the whole episode has merely exposed the fact that players in Nigerian movie industry do not consider safety and the health of practitioners.

    As he put it, “They are lucky the stunt did not fail. If not, we would have been talking something differently. What will five fire extinguishers and a nearby stream do in the case of heavy fire? The professional thing to do is to have men of the fire service on standby because they are professionally trained to manage fire incident and to also have an ambulance on standby. But the guys (the crew of Behind the Wheel) only relied on five fire extinguishers and water from a stream to stop fire should incase. How crude?”

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