Wilson Ufuoma Okoroluwa is a young Nigerian filmmaker, who is making steady in-roads into the consciousness of Nigerians through his movies. In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, he shares his experiences so far in the nation’s fast-developing film industry.
PT: You describe yourself as a gifted communicator and diplomatic conflict manager. What do you mean by this?
Okoroluwa: I use my craft and skills appropriately to improve relationships with other people and to build and develop mutual respect, which in turn leads to more successful outcomes.
The craftsmanship is centred around people and being sensitive to their opinions, beliefs, ideas, and feelings through attentive listening and reacting properly to emotional intelligence, and understanding through confidence.
PT: Tell us a bit about your filmmaking experience, high points, low points and general lessons learned.
Okoroluwa: I took the showbiz business for it and my involvement was a huge hug for me. I love entertainment and it is in me. So, I came into the industry having a passion for it, and that’s what keeps me winding through the corridors. These corridors surface other prospects into film companies that see potential as a wind of transformation.
Though it wasn’t stress-free, it takes persistence and grace to stand out of the crowd. A lot goes into craftsmanship and that’s what the entertainment industry stands for.
PT: Tell us about major projects you have been involved in and the personalities you have worked with. Which one brings fond memories?
Okoroluwa: I’ve shot a lot of documentaries, commercials, movies but I am quite fond of “Closing the Gap ”. It is a documentary on the fight against corruption in Nigeria and the criminal justice system by Trust Africa. I have done campaigns on the eradication of female genital mutilation “FGM”, Transformation agenda of “GEJ”, Niger Delta oil spillage, and more diplomatic jobs involving agencies, politicians, governors, and the private sector.
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PT: How will you assess the growth of filmmaking in Nigeria vis-à-vis advanced climes?
Okoroluwa: Nigeria’s film industry “showbiz” is still a virgin despite our little contribution in terms of cultural explanation through motion pictures. Modern technology has enlightened more growth in educating our craft such as budgeting, set & props, hospitality, welfare, etc. The challenges in the Nigerian film industry will be eradicated if we learn more to improve our stories. Our journey requires impact to get there.
PT: How can government tap into the filmmaking potential to enhance economic growth and how can it also be supported?
Okoroluwa: The movie ‘Living in Bondage’ which was released in 1992 became the first major success out of the Nigerian film industry. Since then, the Nigerian cinema has taken off. But currently, Nigeria filmmakers don’t have the capability and strength. Story-wise, we are poor, and we don’t have the ‘brain box’ to do more in this regard by ourselves.
Approximately 90 per cent of Nollywood films go directly to the DVDs for retail sale, 95 per cent of Nigerians spend time watching the ZEE World series which is a huge gap. How many Nigerians go to cinemas? Instead, piracy has eaten up the efforts of filmmakers.
The government should wrestle with the issue of piracy and work on the classification of movies for parental safety. I pray for such time to come as well.
PT: What nuggets of advice do you have for aspiring Nigerian filmmakers?
Okoroluwa: Most people don’t believe something can happen until it happens. For those aspiring to become household names, I’ll say passion and persistence are the two most important qualities they need to possess.
PT: What upcoming projects should we expect from you?
Okoroluwa: A lot is yet to come. Currently, I am working on a sports project: “Soccer Fair Super 4 exhibition” and Ampz Sports Television. Also, I pray for better opportunities to help strengthen the audience, family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and strangers…
PT: If you were not a filmmaker, what would you have been…
Okoroluwa: The decision is up to God because he’s the author and finisher of destiny