“Black Gold: The Struggle of the Niger Delta” is a feature film written and directed by Nigerian filmmaker, Jeta Amata. Based on the film synopsis, Black Gold sounds fairly straightforward. A community protests against multinational oil companies and the Nigerian government but to little effect. Enter militants and war is declared. Its not possible to evaluate a film based on a 2 minute trailer but there are a number of reasons to feel positive about the film. Apart from a BBC production some years ago, most films on the region have been documentaries which have to a very large extent been accessible only to western audiences. As a feature film and a Nigerian production Black Gold, has the potential to reach local audiences. This is especially important now as the US Supreme Court rules on whether US based corporations can be sued for human rights abuses committed overseas with specific reference to Ogoni activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others [Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuinewho] who were executed on November 10th 1995 for protesting against Shell.
Over the past two years there has been a growing number of literary ventures focusing on the Niger Delta: Ayo Akinfe’s “Fueling the Delta Fires”, Helon Habila’s “Oil on Water”, the yet unpublished graphic novel, “Light Sweet Crude”, a collaboration between Kenneth Coker and Chris Feliciano Arnold; and Christie Watson’s, “Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away” [I will be reviewing this shortly]. The film’s timely release is further evidence that the region is finally seeping into consciousness of Nigerians.