REVIEW of "THIS AMERICA"
Review By our Staff and Other media
THIS AMERICA: An African comes to New York for a short vacation. Before he settles down to enjoy the good times of New York City, things happen rather too quickly in Nigeria, forcing him to stay back in New York caught between starting life afresh and going back to his top-Executive pleasures in Nigeria at the risk of his life, he reluctantly begins considering to settle in New York City. However, the experience of his cousin who has lived in New York for more than 15 years without succeeding in his many attempts to get the US green card, gives him an insight of what he is bound to encounter as an immigrant in New York. Left with no choice, he tries to take his chance in making a living in New York City but his encounters make him wonder about this America for between his gun packing and violent neighbors, mistaken arrests by the Police and his domestically abusive wife who also packs a gun like a gangster, he was in for a true culture shock... - Written by Oliver Oscar Mbamara (Screenplay by Bethels
film, THIS AMERICA tells the story of the typical immigrant in a manner that
makes every immigrant identify with it. It is revealing and makes the host
citizen appreciate the situation and motivation of every immigrant while giving
a hint to all intended immigrants of what may lie in store for some of them upon
arriving in the foreign land. - Our Review Staff
During one of the screening of the new film "THIS AMERICA" at the TRIBECA CINEMAS, this writer stayed behind to witness the question and answer session. It turned to be very interesting as a bunch of American attendees opened up against another bunch of Americans in the audience exchanging points, arguments and sharp view points. The point of contention was whether the film stereotyped Americans. One faction argued that the film did while the other argued that the film was simply honest. "This is a film, not a documentary, so don't expect it to address issues like a documentary," one of the attendees argued in reply to a Lady who felt that the movie stereotyped African Americans. The truth is that the film is so real that many forget that it is simply a film. They get carried away by the ability of the film to replicate life.
The argument raged on till the film makers Oliver O. Mbamara, Bethels Agomuoh, and Felix Nnorom who stood and watched the controversy brew right after the screening, called the audience to order. The filmmakers couldn't have it any better. However, Oliver O. Mbamara, Esq., who wrote the story pointed out that the intention was never to ridicule or stereotype anyone, but an honest attempt to let the average American know what the typical immigrant goes through, while at the same time creating awareness amongst Africans back home to have an idea of what might be in store for some of them who go through a lot just to come overseas.
Interesting enough, since the movie was released on DVD, it seemed that the Americans have embraced the realities addressed in the movie while some African immigrants are now heating up the controversy in another direction Green card. "You are exposing our green card secrets to INS," one immigrant contended. Yet, again, the filmmakers contend that any immigrant who thinks that the United States Immigration Service does not know that immigrants get married to Americans to qualify for citizenship should actually think again and reexamine his or her preparation to deal with the USIS. However, many other Africans strongly maintain that people who think that the film reveals any secrets probably have no idea of the intelligence of USIS and that such people should go and do their homework if they hope to succeed with USIS. An elderly woman who watched the film begs the filmmakers to make sure they release the film in many African countries. According to her "it is those in Africa who really need to see this move before coming to America. They need to know what goes on in America,"
We have seen the film and we agree with the point made by the elderly woman above. Whichever way you look at it, the film "THIS AMERICA" has something in store for every audience American, African, immigrant, or intended immigrant. Produced by African Film Company, directed by Bethels Agomuoh, with Technical Direction from Felix Nnorom "THIS AMERICA" is a feature of 98 solid minutes filled with intense drama of immigrant predicament and dilemma displayed on screen. It is a highly recommended movie destined to stay around a long time and it is our prediction that it will launch this bunch of African talented filmmakers and actors into limelight in both the film industries here in the West and Africa as well.
Whether offended by the alleged stereotyping of Americans, or the exposition of green card secrets, or pleased with the awareness it makes available to host citizens and intended immigrants, one fact that cuts across the factions of differing perspectives and controversies is that the film is worth every penny spent on it. The shooting and editing are all great and the acting quite impressive. No wonder it is the most demanded movie in African stores today. Every immigrant in America could identify with the travails of "Ozobio" played by Oliver O. Mbamara, who interestingly enough is an Administrative Law Judge with the State of New York in real life. We recommend you watch the movie, see which group you belong, send us a note and give us your take. At the moment the controversy rages on.
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Photo coverage of opening event.