Monrovia -Alexander Wiaplah, alias ‘Usher’ is an international Audio Visual Producer and Cinematographer from Liberia. He Served as Associated Producer and Additional Camera for The Land Beneath Our Feet and Cinematographer for the documentary film In the Shadow of Ebola. During his stay in Liberia he worked for the Liberia Broadcasting System National Television Station, the state broadcaster of Liberia, which was closed for 15 years during the country’s bloody civil war. Over the last several years, Usher has worked on international and national projects. He has also worked for international broadcast stations, including CNN, NBC News, ARD TV, and ITN Channel 4. Wiaplah is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Kreative Mindz Studio –the umbrella institution that currently runs Liberia’s biggest and most followed online television station called KMTV.
“Liberia Entertainment Industry has great untapped potentials,” says Alexander Wiaplah in an exclusive interview. “All we need is change. I am not talking about political change, but new revolution that will enable us to compete globally,” he further added. The passionate film maker is the first Liberian to buy a Red Dragon Scarlet Camera valued at ($US35, 000.00), a real milestone for the emerging industry.
He was deeply entranced in grass-root film making in Africa for many years before his adventurous Hollywood success –which makes him more compelling to the taste of both African and western audiences. He stands out as the only Liberian to work on a Hollywood set as a Camera Assistant in a blockbuster film titled: ‘River Runs Red,’ which is expected to premier at the Silver Bird Cinema in Liberia at the end of the year.
“Working in Hollywood was a dream come true,” Usher pointed out as he firmly gazed in the tin air in reference to God. “I think it was the zenith of my career because it shaped by destiny even though it was just a glimpse of the future,” he lamented.
Since his return, he has shot, edited and directed several music videos, including Baby O by Stunna, Woomi by Bucky Raw, Weekend –CIC Ft. Iyanya, a popular Nigerian musical icon, and his recent effort was a bizarre music video shoot starring US based Liberian musician Tamba Hali –which was shot with the Red Dragon Scarlet Camera.
“Lollywood is blessed with great actors and crew members that can transform our industry to a much appreciable level. I recently worked on a short film set and I was thrilled by what I saw,” says Usher. Ashes, The Liberian Cinderella is a story based on an ancient folk tale exemplifying a myth-element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward of a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances in the home of her stepmother that suddenly change to remarkable fortune when the President’s Son falls in love with her. The provocative new film will change the way you think about Liberian film, because it meets professional standards in terms of lighting, sound and picture.
The project came to Usher by way of Allyson Brown, an acclaim Liberian producer and screenwriter with years of industry experience. The film represents another great opportunity for one of Liberia’s most distinctive voices to be heard at a time when identity and culture clash, if not fractured –in a generation that embraces western life style to the core.
The timeliness of the film and its early acclaim –has prompted many to declare that Usher is back in the Liberian Film Industry.