Ishaya Bako is a filmmaker who is currently based in
Abuja. As a child, he was inspired to direct and produce films after
watching movies like Jurassic Park and The Silence of the Lambs. Before
studying film-making at the London Film School, he obtained a Bachelors
in management information systems.
Ishaya has been a filmmaker for five years now.
“It was what would let me know whether or not I would finish my course,” he said of the 25-minute short.
However, the film that brought him out, so to speak, to the Nigerian
audience was another short, Fuelling Poverty, a documentary, he says,
about the fuel subsidy scam. It was banned by the Nigerian Film and
Video Censors Board for being “highly provocative and likely to incite
or encourage public disorder and undermine national security.”
In spite of this, it won Best Documentary at the 2013 African Movie
Academy Award. Ishaya says the movie inspired itself because at the time
it was made, subsidy was the big issue in the country.
“I did a couple of other short films with PPDC – Public and Private Development Centre (Homevida Awards),” he says of his other projects. “After that I did Henna with Afrinolly and now my first feature length film, Road to Yesterday.”
The latter is a collaboration with popular Nollywood actress
Genevieve Nnaji. It is her first self-produced film based off a story
she conceived. Apart from directing the film, Ishaya co-wrote it with
his writing partner Emile B. Garuba.
On how he came to work with an established star like Genevieve, being
what some would consider next to an unknown in Nollywood himself,
Ishaya said: “We met through a collaborative medium. We were
developing a project with Uzo Iweala, who wrote Beast of No Nation, a
novel. From our conversations, she had the idea for Road to Yesterday
and she talked to me about it and said, ‘This is something I want to do,
this is a film I want to make; can you write it?’ It was a challenge
because I had really little time to fully understand her idea and the
story she wanted to tell and then to bring out a screenplay from it. But
then it was a collaboration through and through.”
He praised the actress, calling her “iconic” and noting her “wealth of experience.”