My father was one of the most successful filmmakers in Nigeria —Kunle Afolayan - Report Minds

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Saturday, 19 May 2018

My father was one of the most successful filmmakers in Nigeria —Kunle Afolayan


 

Read the Excerpts culled from Tribune:

How in your opinion has the movie industry contributed to the promotion of tourism in Lagos?

Generally, I believe, movie production contributes to the development of tourism and revenue generation in any society. This is because when a movie is done, it engages a lot of hands; there is a lot of financial and cultural exchange. Specifically, Lagos is peculiar in that aspect. The Nigerian film industry pretty much started here. If you ask me, I’d say just as Los Angeles contributes immensely to the GDP of United States as a whole, Lagos serves that purpose for Nigeria.

How do you feel when you hear of the impact of Nigerian movies abroad?

To a large extent, African movies, especially Nollywood, has penetrated black communities not only in Africa but also in the Caribbean, United States and other black communities of the world. I think that is the future. This is why Lagos is making sure it makes the environment conducive for filmmakers to operate. And I feel proud about that.

Are there also criticisms about Nigerian movies?

Of course, yes, quality is chief of the criticisms. But the quality of our movies is improving. Filmmakers, who are innovative, who pay attention to details, will survive.

What do you think you achieved with Figurine?

I simply did my beat as a filmmaker. It is one thing for you to create a product and another thing for the audience to value it.

How do you define the Nigerian audience?

The thing about the Nigerian audience is that they know what they want. If you feed them with that they will continue to come to you, but if you don’t they will revolt. This is the one thing I have learnt in the course of my career. Different people toe different paths and different filmmakers are doing different genres of films. But all that I know is that whether you are doing comedy, or drama or thriller, the overall quality of your work should not be compromised. This is what will keep you in the business and that is what the Nigerian audience, and indeed, everyone wants.

What word guides your approach and creativity?

The word that guides my approach and creativity is substance. I wouldn’t do anything that will not have substance. And substance for me means things that will outlive me, things that, after 50 years, I will still be remembered for.

How do you source project materials?

Same as all creative minds. Sometimes, you are approached by people and they are like, “hey, we have this idea. Is it something you would like to work with us on?” And sometimes, it is your own idea which you need to build. For me, I look at my environment, the future and the past in creating my story. To some people, it is what is trending. And people want to do what will bring in quicker returns.

Is there a project you are currently working on or will be working on in the future?

At the moment, I am not working on any project, but I am considering a new project: a series on Yoruba deities. The series will attempt to take us back to our origin and that’s the much I will reveal.

What is the most profound commendation you have received?

People usually say, “You brought something new” or “you brought a change”. That is enough.

How did you begin your career in the movie industry?

I started acting in 1998. I featured in Tunde Kelani’s film entitled, Saworo Ide. I did a few films after that but because I was working in a bank at that time, I couldn’t really get to feature in a lot of films. I resigned my appointment from the bank in 2004 and I went to New York Film academy where I did a diploma.

You come from a lineage of a filmmaker. How did your father’s life influence your work?

Because of my father, I had the opportunity as a child to observe how films were made and coupled with the fact that I grew up on Indian films and Chinese films, I had a good grasp of the movie industry. This experience is over 40 years. And about motion pictures, the cinemas back then was still alive, so we used to go out to watch indigenous films at the cinemas. These are the things that fashioned my life, both in movie production and the cinema business.

At what age were you exposed to film?

I started travelling with my father’s crew when I was 12 years old. When I was 18, I used to go on my own. Some agents used to come from places like Benin Republic and would book the films for screening and I would now take the prints with me to them because we don’t release prints and after they finish, they pay the balance and I would come back with the prints. In the course of doing all these, I learnt how to operate the 16mm Projector and how to run the entire business chain. But now, it’s a bit different but the business angle of it is still similar to what is happening now. Apart from the ticketing software that has been introduced, every other processes, set up, remain the same.

So, it came as a rude shock when your brother said, he is from a poor home…

He is not serious.

A lot of people have been talking about it, how true is that? If true, how were you able to survive?

Was Ade Love poor? Ade Love was my father. I believe that was his own point of view. I wouldn’t say things were rosy, but we weren’t poor. But if your parents were able to send you through school and you enjoyed some luxury that a lot of people didn’t, even as a son of the man, then you can’t outrightly say that you came from a poor home. My father at that time was one of the most successful filmmakers in Nigeria. I am not from a poor home.

Where did that statement come from then?

You should ask him. I just think it is stupid.

How did you react when you read the interview?

I didn’t read it. In fact, some people thought it was I who said it. Someone recently confronted me with it. That interview was a misrepresentation of the facts. However, it is his own mind.

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