Heroes” star Hayden Panettiere and her boyfriend, world champion boxer Wladimir Klitschko, received a chilly reception Friday in the Japanese fishing village of Taiji, where they called for an end to its annual dolphin hunt.
Panettiere said she would “love to be a spokesperson” for the town if it abandons the hunt. Her visit to Taiji comes just weeks after “The Cove,” a gory depiction of Taiji’s dolphin slaughter, won the Oscar for best documentary.
The celebrity couple arrived in the morning with a small group of environmental activists. Panettiere tried to meet the mayor and representatives from the local fisheries union, but she and Jeff Pantukhoff, an anti-whaling activist from the U.S., were blocked at the door of the town hall.
“We are trying to peacefully come up with better ideas as to how to generate income and utilize the nature here,” Panettiere told reporters. “We’ve been to Taiji before and it’s a beautiful place with beautiful wildlife.”
If Taiji were to quit killing dolphins, “I’d love to be a spokesperson or to help generate tourism,” she said.
Fishermen in the village on the rocky coast of southwest Japan consider the hunt a proud legacy. But it has long been targeted by hardcore environmentalists and animal lovers, and the Oscar has given the opposition more mainstream attention.
Panettiere, followed by a crowd of media throughout the day, later walked through a large hole in a barrier along a path leading to the famous cove depicted in the movie. The cove was strewn with nets used to trap the dolphins, as well as firewood and debris left by the hunters.
Panettiere posed for photographs as she walked along the small pebbly beach for several minutes, but then two town officials ran up and after a tense exchange everyone left. A fisherman pulled up several minutes later in a truck and boarded up the hole.
“We just wanted to have a very peaceful and relaxed conversation,” Panettiere said.
Panettiere, who plays an indestructible cheerleader on the hit U.S. TV series “Heroes,” is also the spokeswoman for the “Save the Whales Again!” campaign, which wants to halt Taiji’s dolphin hunt. The campaign cites studies that show dolphin meat contains dangerously high levels of mercury and is unsafe to eat, and says killing the animals is cruel and unnecessary.
The 20-year-old actress also protested the Taiji hunt in 2007, when along with five other surfers she paddled out into the cove where the hunt takes place in a peaceful protest that was broken up by fisherman. Scenes from that encounter are briefly shown in “The Cove.”
The Japanese government allows about 19,000 dolphins to be killed each year. Taiji hunts about 2,000 dolphins every year for meat — less than other places — but is singled out in part because of its “oikomi” method of herding and killing them near the shore. Some are captured and sold to aquariums and dolphin shows at water parks.
Residents once welcomed foreign visitors, but in recent years have grown weary of what they feel are one-sided portrayals and grisly snapshots shown out of context. Overzealous protesters and photographers are occasionally approached and scolded by rough-and-tumble locals looking to defend their town’s reputation.
Seven Notable Moments In Late Baba Suwe’s Life
Renowned Nigerian comic actor, Babatunde Omidina, popularly known as Baba Suwe, passed away on Monday, November 22 at the age of 63.
Baba Suwe’s demise was announced by his son, Adesola Omidina, on social media.
Here are seven key things to remember about the popular late Nollywood comic actor.
Baba Suwe was born on August 22, 1958.
State of origin
Baba Suwe was a native of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
He was born and grew up in Lagos Island.
Baba Suwe had his primary and secondary education in Lagos and Osun States, in the South-Western part of the country.
Baba Suwe was renowned for the comic role he played and featured in scores of movies – including those produced by him – such as Iru Esin, Ebi Olokada, Baba Londoner, Obelomo, Elebolo, Larinloodu, and Baba Jaiye Jaiye, among many others.
Baba Suwe’s health worsened as Tampan denied abandoning him
Omidina began acting in 1971.
He, however, came into limelight after he featured in a Yoruba movie titled ‘Omolasan’, which was produced by Obalende.
Demise of his wife
The comic actor was, married to comedienne Omoladun Omidina, who died in September 2009. It was one of the most devastating moments in the life of Baba Suwe.
Drug Trafficking accusation
In 2011, Baba Suwe was accused of cocaine trafficking by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) .
The allegation was later described as false and defamatory by a court in Lagos which ordered that Baba Suwe should be paid N25 million as compensation.
He, however, lamented that he did not receive any payment years after the ruling.
The veteran actor died on Monday, November 22, 2021, after he was said to have battled an illness for a long period. He was 63 years old.
ENIFF Showcases 50 Films From 15 Countries
The Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival, ENIFF, last Wednesday, in Enugu commenced the showcase of 50 films from 15 global countries.
The four-day event features among other films, a Moroccan movie, “Ultimate King”, Nigerian best narrative movie, “Yahoo Plus” and other award-winning movies.
Co-founder of ENIFF, Obianujuaku Akukwe-Nwakalor, who spoke with newsmen in Enugu at the commencement of the premiere, on Wednesday, disclosed that the film festival features the participation of major Nollywood actors such as Pet Edochie.
Akukwe-Nwakalor however regretted that Nollywood, which had its roots in the southeast has been taken away from the zone due to equipment deficit and support for the dwindling fortunes of actors and artistes, who are based in the east.
She also said that the development had forced most of the southeast-based actors and artistes to relocate to Lagos where there are better opportunities for the industry.
She said, “They (actors and artistes) are struggling because they don’t have the right equipment; they don’t have the right support; they don’t have money.
“To produce a film that can compete, that can at least be on NETFLIX, you need millions of Naira and the people here(East) don’t understand what it means to invest. If I tell you to invest N100 million into my film, you don’t understand and because you don’t understand how you are going to make N300 million from it, you are not going to invest”.
Akukwe-Nwakalor, with the co-founder, Mr Chris Odili, is hosting a film festival called Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival (ENIFF) in Enugu through the Eastern Nigeria Film and Arts Initiative, said the idea was to bridge and set up a creative hub in the southeast.
“We’re basically bridging the entertainment space or grid and set up a creative hub in the southeast part of Nigeria.
“Yes, we have pockets of things going on here. But, you will agree with me that we’re taking a back seat. We’re the backbenchers right now when it comes to entertainment space. Everything happens in Lagos.
“I came from Abuja and things as basic as finding a projector were very difficult. This is because people don’t use nor demand such here.
“We have forgotten that the Nollywood industry actually started from here in the southeast. But we have lost the steam”, Akukwe-Nwakalor said.
The idea of the festival, she explained, was to come back home, set up a space where the young ones, particularly those in the schools, could be trained to learn about film education, bringing in facilitators from different parts of Africa and the world so that they can learn from best hands what the creative space is about.
“We are starting from education. We are teaching them first to understand how this works. Until you understand, that will shift your mindset and when your mindset is shifted you can now begin to think of how to make money.
Ramsey Nouah Accuses Directors Of ‘Mediocre Nollywood Production’
Nigerian veteran Nollywood actor, Ramsey Nouah, has blamed directors in Nollywood of mediocre Nollywood production.
According to him, Nollywood needs a lot of improvements before it can be considered satisfactory for viewers.
Our source reports that Ramsey Nouah said, “I still find a lot of disconnect between the technicality and creativity in my industry right now. I see that the creative, which is the art part of filmmaking, is still not as deep as I want it to be.
“Performances from the actors are not deeply rooted. We have good quality techniques going on, but it’s almost like oil and water not mixing properly.
“If you can’t get an Oscar-winning performance from an actor the fault is not the actor, but the director’s. If you can’t deliver as an actor, the problem is the director that cast you”.
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