The Future of Filmmaking in Africa…
Orobosa Ikponmwen is an award-winning filmmaker: director, producer, and screenwriter. She is evidently one of the exceptional ladies in the Nigerian Film Industry. She’s passionate about weaving stories into movies.
In this exclusive interview with the AfroFilm Herald Times agent, Orobosa reveals a few of her filmmaking philosophies.
Tell us about you I am Orobosa Ikponmwen. I’m a filmmaker, specifically a director, producer, and screenwriter. I love to create, whether it’s a film, writing stories, telling stories, or creating through other mediums.
What inspired you to become a film filmmaker? I didn’t start as a film director. I did start screenwriting first. , then I realized that I might have to get produced work to get what I want as a screenwriter. I have to get more experience with how a script translates into the screen. I love the experience of being a producer, a director, and a writer.
What is your favorite film of all time, and why? My favorite film would be TITANIC. The film just stood out as having a clear-cut direction. What stood out as a re-telling of a true event, and a romance film, a story about love that turns out to be about something much bigger. I love the way James Cameron could layer the story and find the story within the story. Even though, the basis of the story was a true life event. So he basically told different stories within the story, much like the way he does with Avatar, the first one and the second one.
Tell us about BODMAS. How valuable have the nominations been to your career? What was your favorite scene in the film? BODMAS will always be a film that I will be proud of for a very long time, like till the end of age. Beyond what I personally contributed to the film, as a writer, director, and producer. You can also see the handwork of other crew members in the film. So as for the nomination, it is not just an award for me. It is an award for the people who worked with me to bring this project to life. And I am not sure I have a favorite scene from the film, but I think I have my top two. Will be… the scene that we shot in different family houses. If you‘ve watched it, you will see that they’re like two families and we shot one scene each in those locations. So I really love those two scenes.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we can be on the lookout for? I have a short film that I co-directed with Tochi Onwubiko, I didn’t produce it. I just co-directed. The title is THE DELECTABLE AZEEZA SAMA. it’s about domestic abuse and how it affects the abused and the role that other people have to play, whether that abuse is sustained or if the person continues in that trajectory. And I am also working on my first feature. I can’t publicly say what it’s about right now. But when it is time, you will definitely know.
What do you think are the most essential elements of filmmaking? I don’t think there is a most important element. Everything in filmmaking adds to the story. If one thing falls short, it’s going to be obvious that that thing falls short. If you have great production design, you have a beautifully designed set and bad make-up, it’s going to show, it’s going to tell on the whole product. If you have a bad script, if you have a bad story, but you have great directors, great producers, and great cinematographers, it’s going to show. So for me, I think everything in filmmaking is as crucial as the rest. No matter how minor it may seem.
What does a typical day look like for a film director? A typical day as a director on set would be answering many questions. People will come asking the director, what do we do about this? Do you prefer this to this? What do you need now? What do you want? How do you want to achieve this? Do you think this is better than this? You are going to be answering a lot of questions. You are the question-and-answer man on the set.
How do you choose the projects you work on? When a project comes to my table, I trust my instincts quite alright on the first reading. If it doesn’t excite me, if it doesn’t spark something, I don’t think I am going to work on it.
How has collaboration with other passionate filmmakers helped you as a filmmaker? There is something about working with people who are passionate about the same thing as you are. It helps keep your passion alive as well. It helps your creativity. It helps your growth. So if you are around people who only think about money, it’s going to tell on the kind of product you bring out.
How do you market and promote your films? Regarding marketing and promoting my films, I like to leverage my social currency and at the same time work with already existing structures. For example, I’ve done more short films. I haven’t done a feature yet, but my focus right now is mainly on festivals, you know, testing the international waters and all that.
What does the future hold for filmmaking in Africa? The future of filmmaking in Africa is very bright. Because we are seeing younger filmmakers who are more daring than ever before, who are telling more daring stories. They are going beyond and above what is normal to get their story out there. To get their skill out there, to just put things together. They are collaborating, they are spending their money, and they are applying for development funds. They are just creating with each other. It’s something that wasn’t done before, and now it seems like people are on fire to create films to tell stories.