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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Model in Lilian Bach of Nollywood

For her profile, check her web site on this link

Q: How are you different from the Lilian Bach we see in movies?
I’m very sure the Lilian Bach you’re seeing is different from the one you see in movies. This is because, I’m only interpreting the roles assigned me. However, I’m simple and down-to-earth. I don’t have any air of pretence about men, I do my job as an actress and interpret my roles to the best of my abilities. I play different roles in movies, like a wayward lady, funny housewife, a devoted housewife, a schoolgirl, etc. I’ve actually played many characters, but the real me is simple and God-fearing.

Q: Have you at anytime played a role that accurately depicts the real you?
I can’t remember, because I have played so many roles. So it is difficult for me to say. May be when I get home and search through the movies I have acted, I will be able to know the ones I acted something close to what I am in real life. But for now, it is very difficult for me to say.

Q: People believe it’s your beauty, more than anything else, that gave you the Nollywood breakthrough.
People can say what they like. The’re entitled to their opinions. I was in India some weeks back and was watching CNN. They were interviewing a lady who is one of the reigning stars of Bollywood. She just did a movie with Jackie Chan and the journalist asked her: ‘people say it is your sexy look that got you to the top’. I was really impressed with the answer the lady gave. She said Jackie Chan used his muscles to get to where he is, so if her sexy looks got her to the top, what is wrong with that? If people see that I have a light complexion and therefore I’m fit for a particular role, what is the problem about it? Even if you have the physique and you can’t interpret the role properly, you won’t be given any role. So, for them to have given me roles means I have the qualities and I give God the glory.

Q: So, what will you say actually brought you to limelight?
I don’t know because I started as a model, so I’ve always been in the limelight. I started modelling when it was no big deal here, when it was just gradually gaining ground, just as some people began acting before home videos gained ground. I’ve always been in the limelight, but I’m a quiet person, I’m not a noise-maker, I’m a silent achiever, so I can’t say this is what brought me to limelight.

Q: What makes you different from other actresses?
Yeah, we have a lot of actresses, and the sky is so big for every bird to fly without having accidents in the air. That’s the way I see it. What makes me different is that I guess I have my own ways and I’m sure my fans, directors and producers who have been using me for jobs in Nollywood know what makes me different or may be when it comes to some certain roles, they know I can handle them better. I really don’t know that special thing about me, but it’s left to those who’ve been using me to say that thing is special about this girl. I just know I’m one of the talented people in Nollywood. Each of us has what distinguishes her from the other. I just know I have been able to play different roles, I’ve not been sterotyped to play one particular role, I’ve found myself playing all kinds of roles.

Q: What kind of roles do you enjoy playing most?
Acting itself is just like playing, and you’re been paid. I enjoy every role given to me, so I can’t say this is the one I enjoy playing most. I’m still looking forward to more challenging roles which I have not played. I want to play the role of a blind woman, I want to play the role of an old woman, it is possible with good make up. Those are the kind of roles I’m looking forward to.

Q: Tell us about your experience in Nollywood?
It has not been easy, I must tell you. The way to the top is not always easy. I’ve been discouraged many times, but the love of the job keeps pulling me back. It’s been so good and at the same time, there have been ups and downs along the line. For example, when I started in 1997, you won’t believe I wasn’t paid for the first two movies I did. I just said ‘is this how the so-called Nollywood is’?. At times, you see or hear some things that could discourage you, or actually discourage you. But then, I’ve learnt that you just have to turn deaf ears if you want to remain in the acting world. You pretend that you’re not hearing anything at all. Is it what your colleagues who are not happy about you say or what you read about yourself in the papers that are not true? I believe if others are surviving such criticism, I too can survive it.

Q: How do you really feel when actors are smooching you on set?
They are not smooching for fun, they are acting their roles. There is nothing to it at all. If you’re given a role to play, you just have to play it perfectly, to convince your viewers. So I don’t see anything wrong in people smooching themselves on set, according to you. As far as you are doing your job, and not just smooching out of set. They are smooching because the role demands them to smooch. As for me, I interpret my role and character. If the role says smooch, we have a way to smooch so it is not something indecent and that’s where it ends.

Q: But an actress once said some actors go the extra-mile in interpreting the role?
I have never experienced such a thing. I guess it has to do with whoever is playing with whoever. A professional is always a professional. I’m not saying that there are no people that go the extra-mile to interpret their roles, but I’ve never experienced it because when I’m doing my job, I’m strictly doing my job. If I want to do romance or play funny, it won’t be when I’m doing my work.

Q: Don’t you sometimes get carried away when touched in a sensitive part of your body by an actor?
What sensitive part are you talking about? I haven’t seen people going beyond kissing in movies. Anyway, different things turn different people on, but as for me, when I’m working, my brain is telling me I’m working. I don’t get carried away by anything. I think it has to do with the structure of your mind and brain. Some people are not disciplined and they are careless and useless when it comes to simple touch or whatever it is. That is when they can get carried away, but I’m a disciplined person. May be some people have been admiring each other before and when they meet on set, they see it as an opportunity to express whatever feelings they have for each other.

Q: What is the reason behind your recent trip to India?
I went for Indian Broadcast 2005. It’s about some exhibitions. I think it’s something that holds every year. We were supposed to be greater in number for the trip, but some people backed out for one reason or the other. For me, I love anything I will gain from. It was an official trip really, a lot of people came from all over the world to exhibit the latest technology in film making. We saw the latest cameras, different kinds of recording equipment and all that. That’s what I went for: to see how the industry is developing out there. I learned from the trip that there is another ‘acting industry’ in South India called Tollywood. I was surprised because I’d never heard of Tollywood before and I heard they have the biggest studio in the whole world, which is even bigger than Hollywood. Due to insufficient time, because I spent five days, we couldn’t visit Tollywood to see things for ourselves. I also learnt about a HDB camera that people are going for now. You can actually transfer to 3-5 ML converter for cinema viewing, so I came back with a lot of brochures of the latest cameras. I saw a lot of new equipment that we’ve not been using here in Nigeria.

Q: How do you see the quality of films we have in Nollywood compared to Hollywood and Bollywood?
To be honest, in terms of quality, we haven’t arrived yet. But we have good stories. Quality is our problem now. We can as well do better if we try to use some of those equipment. I even discovered that some of those equipment are not expensive, it’s what people can come together to buy, an individual can even purchase some of these equipment. It’s just that standard and quality that we have not achieved. Afterall, the actors in Hollywood and Bollywood are human like us, so I don’t see what they’re doing that we cannot do. We are even better than some of them in terms of acting, directing or producing. What is killing us is the penchant for cutting corners and that won’t do us any good. When you spend money on a production, it’s always better than when you cut corners. The major barrier we have is to stop producing wishy washy films, we should try to use these latest cameras and all that, so that people will stop complaining about our works. Another problem is that Nollywood is not united. A house divided against itself will never stand. Anyway, may be these things are happening because we are just growing. It’s high time we stopped crawling, we need to walk, and for us to walk, we have to do away with the ugly things. We know what is right for the industry to grow. No more wishy washy films, use the right cameras, no more cutting corners, if the budget of a production says N5 million, go ahead and do it. Some are actually afraid of piracy but I can tell you these things can be curbed if we are united.

Q: What is your interest in music?
I’m a singer, I have an album that I have cooked up for about four years now which I’m yet to release. I don’t want to be referred to as having joined the bandwagon. I’m a very patient person, I like to take my time on whatever I’m doing. People were just fortunate to see one or two tracks out of the six tracks, and that is the Makossa track that talks about marriage. But I’ve got some superb tracks, like hip hop and other genres in the album, which people have not heard. It’s a Christian gospel music because that’s my calling. As time goes on, I will make up my mind on when to release it, I’m not in a hurry or under any pressure because I’m not doing it to make money but to win souls for God.

Q: You’re still single, I’ve heard you saying once that it’s because you’ve not met Mr. Right. Have there not been pressures from your family?
I’m not from that kind of family, nobody is putting any pressure on anybody, so I thank God for that. In my family, my mother respects everybody’s opinion and feelings about life. I will let you know when it is time. I’ve not changed from the Lilian Bach I used to be. I appreciate the media in terms of their encouragement and good publicity. Without you journalists, some people will never know us. Some of the new movies I did are not yet out, so you guys should just watch out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting to Know More of Chiege Alisigwe of Nollywood

CHIEGE Alisigwe Ebbe could have been an acclaimed athlete. But perhaps she was not destined to be one. Fate had something else in stock for her: she became an actress, a tube goddess, one of the beauties that make Nollywood tick.

In early days at school, the Orlu Imo-State born Chiege was athletic champion for many years and would have gladly represented Enugu State at an earlier edition of the National Sports Festival, but for the politics of state of origin, which deprived her of that opportunity. That ended her dream of being a top athlete.

She gave acting a serious thought after her studies at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, where she studied Fine and Applied Arts. An encounter with a family friend who was then a recognisable face in the movie industry provided the break. She had expressed the desire to do some serious acting to the family friend who informed her of an audition exercise at the Hotel Presidential in Enugu.

After her first role as Agu's wife in 'Igbodo' she soon got a lead role in the epic movie 'Oganigwe'.

She has since featured in over 60 home videos. Some producers have thought that Chiege would not last in the industry when she came in. They had thought she was a flash in the pan that would run out in no time.

But almost six years after, she is still waxing stronger in Nollywood, determined, she says, to prove that she is into acting good.

Chiege used to be married with a baby. She says her husband saw her on the screen, and that was how the attraction started. "He was so persistent until I decided one day to honour his date. But much later I discovered that his dad and mine were very good friends when they were young," she recalls her encounter with the love of her life.

She says she married early because she believes that there is respect in being married. "I know some people always ask why I married. I wanted it early because I believe when you are married you are more respected. I don't believe that a woman should remain single for the better part of her youth. Marriage attracts respect and it doesn't make you a lesser actress."
On Nollywood she says: "We must begin to get people to specialise. I am an advocate for specialisation. Produce only if you are a producer, direct only if you are a director. People should be able to specialise, that way they would become masters of their arts."

Some Chiege movies includes End of Dream, End of Money, Once a Soldier, Message, Traditional Marriage, My Portfolio, Sadist, Under Fire etc

Nigeria movies
The Nigerian movie industry has come a long way. We have tried to hue water out of stone. It has grown so much. There are several things that are not going well but I must tell you, it is so far, so good. It is not what it used to be but we have moved forward in some areas.

I think there is a great future for the industry here in Nigeria. We started small but with God and with interest in its growth, the Nigerian home video industry will grow from where it is now.

How do you feel being one of the few getting roles?
I feel very great and thankful to God for being there. Everyone is slugging it out to survive, both big and small artistes. So it is the grace of God not even your hard work or your beautiful face that keeps you there.

First role
My first acting role came in 1998. I was introduced into Nollywood by a family friend named Kelvin Ugwu, a broadcaster and actor. I did my first audition in the movie Igodo where I got the role of Agu's wife. I did Oganigwe, My love and others.

I won't say I dreamt about being in the movies before the opportunity came. I just came out of secondary school. I attended Queens School Enugu and was a member of the Dramatic Society. I was not just dreaming because it is part of me and I knew I would be there some day. I left secondary school in 1996 waiting for my JAMB result, so 1998, I went into the industry. Kelvin had said to me: “Now that you are waiting for JAMB, why not come to try your luck?” I thank God it has been lead roles all the way.

I consider myself a very comfortable person. I don't talk about riches because it is God that gives them. I wonder when people talk about riches. It is not any one's making to be rich or poor. It is only God that decides this.

The challenge there was knowing that you are a new comer in the arena coming to slug it out with the known faces. There was a little bit of anxiety when I was auditioned to feature in Igodo but I have always believed in my ability to act. It was determination and solid belief that I have the ability that made me excel.

I have always believed that talent is the basis for any grasping of knowledge. I learnt so much from our Dramatic Society but I have also learnt so much from Nigerian notable directors who have directed my acting in their films. I have learnt quite a lot and continue to learn. I can't say I got all from the drama group but the rudiments were the basic foundation.

I come from Umueshigwe, Orlu, in Imo State, but I grew up in Enugu where I had my Primary and Secondary school education and went ahead to study Fine and Applied Arts at the Institute of Management and Technology also in Enugu.

I completed my Youth service in 2006.

The most challenging movie for me was Under Fire. I played a typical village girl who couldn't speak English. My director helped me a lot. Tchidi Chikere did plenty to help me realise this and people are commending me for that role till date.

Sexual Harassment
I have never encountered this. I go all out to do what I am expected to do. I do not mix pleasure with business. So I am serious minded. I won't talk about that because I have never come across that. However, I have heard that it exists especially from the new actors.

Lesbianism /Homosexuality
I have heard about it but I have never been approached for such. I believe that no one could even come around me to propose that. I was a day student in secondary school so the idea of inculcating lesbianism into me did not arise. I am yet to see the lesbian who would woo me when there are several handsome men out on the streets.

I have a working relationship with them. It is only a working relationship I said. If you want me in your movie, you invite me, we negotiate and then I work. After that, we move on. We have a strictly business relationship.

I was once married and I have a baby girl. The marriage crashed. The marriage did not work out. The marriage was consummated in 2002. For me, it is past tense and I won't talk much about it. We were incompatible and it didn't work.

Kind of man
I love a God-fearing, determined and hard working man. He must be respectful and humble. Men who are full of themselves bore me stiff. I detest being around them. He could be good looking as people say, but I don't mind that. I find it hard to discuss about men in the good looking adjective because it does not follow. He must just be a man, and this doesn't mean being a monster.

Wrong choice
I won't say I made a wrong choice of a husband. May be I was naive when the affair was contracted. May be it was a wrong choice. I won't call it a mistake but I call it experience which I have learnt from. The marriage, lasted for only three months you won't believe it. I had concieved the baby in my womb before we fell apart, three months later so I had the baby and have taken care of her all by myself since she was born. When I am working, she stays with my sister and as soon as I am back from location, I take her. She lives with me and I love her so much. In fact, she is my jewel.

Single mum
It is not easy but I cope. My baby is my jewel and I am very happy I have her. It's a blessing and not a stress as people want to say. Her name is Munachimsoaga.

Marry again?
Yes, if the time is right and the guy is right. Why not? I am young and can't live my entire life alone without a man. But the time and the guy have to be right. I can't afford to make the mistake I made earlier so I am watchful and very careful the way I fall this time around.

I love to spend time with my daughter and listen to music. I love music.

I do not regret any thing, I just move on. Just see everything as experience and it goes on and on. You must be strong in whatever you do.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Pictorial Glance at Prince Jide Kosoko of Nollywood

NAME: Prince Jide Kosoko.

ADDRESS: Abule Oja, Yaba, Lagos–State, Nigeria.

DATE OF BIRTH: 12th January, 1954.

MARITAL STATUS: Married with Children.

STATE OF ORIGIN: Lagos–Island, Lagos - State.

LANGUAGES SPOKEN: Yoruba, English and Pigeon English


i). Yaba Methodist primary school.

ii) Bona College/Methodist Boys High School

iii) Yaba College of Technology – Business Administration

iv) Lagos School of Drama – Dip. Theatre - Arts

Tell us a little about your childhood, growing up, parents, brothers and sisters?
A direct descendant of King Kosoko of Lagos Island grew up in Ebute–Metta /Yaba area of Lagos – State. My father, Prince Lasisi Kosoko and Mother Awawu Adeyanju Alake. I am the only living child of my late parents…… with very large extended royal family.

What was the first paying job ever that you had?
I was first paid for a job in my life as an actor. Later worked at various companies alongside acting. Voluntarily resigned as the General Manager of Steve Industrial company Limited Apapa.

How much were you paid per month and what were the responsibilities?
N13,500 in 1986 as the General Manager of the multi-million Naira cosmestic/candle and palm oil manufacturing Company.

What other jobs did you do outside Acting?
Acting scripts writing, directing, film producing, editing, and administrative consultant.

What made you go into the Acting career and when did you start Acting (year)?
I started precisely in the year 1964 at the age of 10 years. Late Chief Hubert Ogunde lived in same community with me then and I was so close to his family. I admired his overwhelming appreciation by his fans.

Who were your Idols/Models (Actors) in those days?
Late Chief Hubert Ogunde of blessed memory.

What was your first role in Theatre, TV or Movies?
The role of Alabi in a television production titled Makanjuola by the Ife Lodun travelling theatre. My first television appearance was on NTV barbeach – Lagos.

What was your major break-through role and in what film, series or play?
Combination of film and video;
Taxi driver (1983) arrival to Ade love
Comedy series by Ojo Ladipo
Various Felluloid film productions from 1977 - 1989.

What were the constraints you had to face and overcome as an up-and-coming Actor (young actor)?
Serious family objection both from my mother and father. My father believed that as a royal prince, I should rather be entertained than me entertaining people.

How many films have you been involved with as an Actor to date?
Too numerous to mention among them are taxi driver, Ojiji, Asiri nla, Omo onikan, Omolade, Glamour girls, end time, etc.

As a DYNAMIC, OUTSTANDING, 'A'-List Actor, how have you managed to adapt to the different range of roles you have played in your career?
As far as I am concerned, it's a gift to have this ability. I have played numerous different roles such as the part of a king, deaf and dumb, palm wine tapper, millionaire, drunkard, womaniser, crook etc.

What is the most awkward or strangest role you have had to take/play in your career and why?
I do not find any role awkward but a challenge.

What film have you been most proud to be involved with so far, and why?
End time – because of its World-wide acceptance.

As an 'A'-List Actor yourself, what other 'A'-List Actors or Actresses have worked or collaborated with?
Almost all of them, I cannot remember any that have not worked with me.

Did you at anytime want to quit your Acting career for something else or for a reason, and why (if any)?
Not at all.

What is the motivation for you or what keeps you interested in this career every morning you wake up?
I am just happy doing the job I know how to do best; determination to break new ground as a leader in the Industry.

How important are our Nigerian roots, morals, values, knowledge and sense of wisdom to you and your works?
Since my work entails creating wisdom, I ensure that I use my work to project the good culture of my tribe and my country; I educate; entertain and inform my viewers on the need to preserve our rich cultural values respect one another, I promote culture of respect.

On the stories, scripts, or screen play of your films, and its impact on the Nigerian/African cultural values (home and abroad), how do you manage to harness, keep and pass them across in your films?
As a producer, I ensure that I pick subjects that are not only entertaining but also educative, and the ability to highlight current issues of interest to the generality of my viewers. As an actor, I endeavour to interpret my roles to the best of my ability in accordance with directors' view.

What projects are you working on at the moment and with whom?
The Historical play of Lagos in the 18th century (all about the feud between King Akintoye and King Kosoko of Lagos). I am involving the British Council, Ghanaian and Nigerian Governments.

Where do you see yourself in this career in the next five years?
Still waxing strong and contributing my quota to the continuous growth of my noble profession. I also have the ambition of being the next President of Association of Nigeria Theatre – Arts practitioners (the largest Actors organisation here).

Where do you see the Nigerian movies industry in the next couple of years?
Penetrating the world market. Our actors and actresses are up to the task. Technically we are improving.

When you are not working (Acting, producing, directing or making a film), what do you do or how do you pass the time?

I love playing in-door games like script writing, draft, monopoly scrabble and I also play table- tennis.
What kind of music do you listen to and who is your favourite musician?

Juju music – King Sunny Ade.

Is there an International Actor (American, British, Australian, African, etc.) you will want to work with if the opportunity presented itself?
Eddie Murphy

What message do you have for your international fans in America, United kingdom, Europe, Africa and its Diaspora?
I promise to keep them happy at all times.

For any reason at all, how would you personally want your fans to remember you?
As a creator of wisdom, and grandmaster of all re-action


There is no gainsaying the fact that the Yoruba film industry, represented by the ANTP, pioneered what is called films in this country today. It started in 1976. The first commercially successful film in this country is called Ajani Ogun, by Dr. Ola Balogun, Duro Ladipo and Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love). There had been films before it, but they were not successful, so to say. We started with celluloid, but because Nigeria does not have the capacity for post-production unless one goes abroad, we went back to home video, which we equally pioneered. The first home video film was done by Muyideen Alade Ayomire. It was titled Ekun and produced in 1986.

But a lot of people believe that Living in Bondage by NEK Productions is the pioneer…

That is not correct. Living in Bondage was done in 1993; the same year I did Asiri Nla. I don’t want us to dwell on that. Even before Living in Bondage, NEK participated in the production of some Yoruba films. If people want to talk about stepping up, using special effects, Living in Bondage was a step up technologically. There is no doubt about that. I remember that Asiri Nla, which I produced in 1993, sold well over 160,000 copies without publicity. You know what that means?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coat of Many Colours of Francis Duru of Nollywood

Francis Duru shot into limelight with some of the earliest home video flicks like Rattle Snake, Missing Mask and Mama Sunday, etc and it would not be out of place to describe him as a pioneer Nollywood actor. Francis took a sabbatical from acting by relocating to Abuja as a businessman, contractor and events consultant, but later returned to his first love with movies like Price of Destiny and Cold War. The Imo state born actor is an awardee of UN ambassador of Peace. Coat of Many Colours is one of his earliest movies and this blog derives the topic of this work from it. Here is Francis Duru at a glance.


Music, Sports, Poetry, Charity ,reading.

Schools Attended:

University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
St. Thomas Aquinas Osu Mbano, Imo State Nigeria.
Sacred Heart College Mankon, Bamenda, Cameroun.
St. Joseph Primary School, Bamenia North West Province Cameroun

Stage Plays
Lion And The Jewel, If (Banji), Guinea Byrd (Dr. Byrd), Sizwe Bamsi is Dead


Missing Mask, Rattle Snake, Cross Roads, Dust to Dust, Coat of Many Colours, Sgt Okoro, Set Up, House on Fire, Sins of the Flesh, Desperate Romance, Cold War, Blood Money, Immoral Act, Laraba, Mama Sunday, No way Out, Personal Assignment, The Dream , Wanted At All Cost and War For War


How did the Journey started?
The whole thing about acting for me started in 1989 when I mistakenly followed my friend to an audition where Paul Worika was in-charge. I had the opportunity of reading and some one said why don’t you just do it. Since I was just waiting for JME, I had time to do it and from then all things fell in place. I later got admitted to the University of Port Harcourt.

What are the happenings with you in recent time?
I’m doing well, production, shooting, doing my own things, doing my best in the business. I have been working.

How does it feel, being in Abuja where it is believed that production activities are very low?
Film business is not about the distance or location but the product. Irrespective of my location, I get called for jobs and it doesn’t matter where, transportation to location does not affect production. I move from here to Lagos, Port- Harcourt, Anambra, Owerri, etc. The most important thing is the product. A good product is highly demanded in the market, so for me, like I always say, the only thing I miss Lagos for is that other parts of entertainment are hidden away from me.

At what stage does an actor stop to lobby for a job? It is believed that since Lagos is the hot spot, an actor is more likely to get movie roles there than other locations. What do you think?

Yeah! It is true, but for me the word lobbying is what I am not used to and as a matter of fact, I have not been comfortable with. The fact that people believe that it is part and parcel of the business should not apply to all. I believe that if you deliver a good job, they will come for you. My own kind of lobbying is moving into the next business by doing so well, the one that I have at hand. So, it is about what impact I can have on the production.

So, what would you say that you are missing not being resident in Lagos?
The only aspect that I miss about Lagos is the aspect of recognition on this job through awards. There are lots of awards taking place and you don’t know how people got nominated for them in the first place. Take it or leave it, this aspect in an actor’s life helps to bring his project to limelight. It helps shows that there is some one some where who is also contributing his quota to the industry. I know that in most cases it is a clique thing but this is one aspect that I miss about Lagos. But lobbying for jobs has never been part of it. I’ve been fine; doing jobs in and out of Abuja. As I speak with you, I’m in Jos, Plateau state shooting a movie.

So, would you say Nollywood marketers and producers alike are so professionally driven enough to seek a good actor irrespective of distance, some people think they are nonchalant about this and would rather make do with whoever is on ground?
Yeah! They do that, to be candid. It is a bad-bad situation and I tell you that right now, emphasis is being placed on people who can deliver. It is true that once in a while they get nonchalant but that desire is growing now to put up the best. I get my job consequently because the person knows I can deliver. I don’t just do a job because the person is my friend or not, and that also applies to other actors. It has gotten to the point where they go for whoever they want, not just who they see.

What other things do you do apart from acting, I know for one that you are a MC?
I do shows, event and so on. I also combine acting with business. I consult for people, organizations. I am an event person generally, master of ceremonies, social services. Even when general supplies come, I do, at least, using the goodwill that comes along with entertainment to achieve other feats in life.

When is Francis Duru going to write his own movie, if only to proof a point?
I beg my brother, this whole thing about proofing a point is not part and parcel of me. Movie making is all about impulse. And the major problem we are faced with is the absence of a worthy distribution network. I’m working on my own movie but it is not easy like you think. You can’t proof a point when you are not sure that where you are putting your money would yield returns. But you make a point when at the end of the day the product finds a larger market. Distribution to me remains very, very important. It remains a motivational force for anything I want to do.

You were seen in a movie (Total War) recently that looks like Laviva, could it be that Laviva was given another title?
No, that movie is Total War, and they are two different movies. It’s just that they have one common setting; Liberia backgroung. One is just a Liberia setting while the other shifts settings between Liberia and Nigeria. They are two different stories, two different scripts and two different directors. The casts are also different. In Laviva, I played the role of an ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) soldier, and in Total War, I played a Liberian rebel turned pastor.

So what has happened to the movie, Laviva?
Yeah, Laviva is still there but I think the people who are actually responsible for the marketing are in better position to answer that question. I don’t really know much about Laviva, except that I am aware that it is being screened at some international film festivals..

Tell us about UN Ambassador awards you bagged recently
Yeah! It was the UN Ambassador of Peace award. It was given to me, the former governor of River State, the Inspector General of Police and Clem Ohameze, in recognition of what we have been doing to influence positively, the life of the youths.

How do you feel being so recognized?
Yes, I feel good and really honoured given that type of award, it isn’t easy, you know, to receive that kind of award from an international organization, with the diplomatic community too, endorsing that. It’s a big feather to me, it makes so much sense. It makes me feel that, fine, I may not have picked the indigenous awards, but there are people out there who are looking at me from a different perspective. We are in a time when we have a lot of unsung heroes who have contributed so much to the industry. Now, it s a great challenge and as an ambassador I know I have to contribute my own quota to global peace and make the world a better place. I didn’t know how they did it, how I got nominated, I just got the call that I should report where I was given the award.

On a lighter mood, tell us about your family?
Well, I have two lovely kids and my wife has been a very strong pillar. And like I say to people, I put family first in every thing that I do. My wife, my kids, my sisters, my entire household in Abuja has been a very strong pillar. We are a happy family, we strongly identify with God, and we believe so much in Jesus who is our force and we have much faith in him.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

When Nollywood Photoblogger added another year

This blogger added another year today. I give thanks to God for sparing my live and for keeping alive. I give thanks and praises to Him for all he had done for me, and for giving me the inspirations to start this blog. I will continue to believe in you God.
I also use this opportunity to thank those who find time to visit this blog, your visits is what spur me on to update it regularly, while your comments is the tonic I need to know that you really appreciates what am doing. I thank you all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I have never been kissed on set - Monalisa Chinda of Nollywood

Monalisa Chinda needs little or no introduction. She is a household name in the movie industry, having featured in over 30 home videos. Despite her popularity, Monalisa turns out not to be a celebrity like most other actresses, as she prefers to keep a low profile. She had her first child early this year, which explains her absence on the screen. In this interview culled from, she reveal all.

How is life and work treating you?
I am happy and work is alright. The challenges are there but I am more comfortable now. Initially it was a bit of struggle for me.

How do you joggle between motherhood and your acting career?
For now, I take my daughter along with me to locations, until she is probably eight months or one year old.

Do you enjoy acting?
Yes I am enjoying it because it is what I love to do best, I love acting.

For how long have you been acting?
Professionally I have been acting for four straight years. Although I have been acting since 1992 and I have featured in some movies as an amateur. But professionally, I started acting in 2004.

Which was your very first movie?
My first home video was shot in 1996 and the title of the movie is 'Pregnant Virgin'

How did you feel, acting alongside professionals the first time?
Being a graduate of Theatre Arts, I was very comfortable with it because I was already used to facing audience while performing live, so this was even much easier for me because when the camera is running and you make a mistake, there is room to make amends because you will be given the time to do some corrections but this is not the case in live and stage performances. The stage is more difficult because any mistake you make, you can not undo, you will have to stay there or you improvise. It was okay, I enjoyed it.

Can you recollect one good thing that acting career has done for you?
Apart from the fact that acting is my God given talent, it has opened doors for me, although initially, I thought it was not going to be, because I was a little bit skeptical about being in the public but I think being in the public has made things a little easier for me. I don't have to go to the banks and queue, I do not have to go to airport and queue. I am always given a VIP treatment. It is good especially when people walk up to me and pay me compliments. The flattery, the…it is just so exciting.

You said you were skeptical about going public, why?
You know when you are a little shy and not prepared for what is going to come out after being famous but then I have a solid man behind me that has and still grooming me.

Who is that man?
Who else, it is my husband. God has used him immensely in my life.

Was it after you met him that you went into acting?
Yes I have met him before I started acting professionally.

How supportive were your parents?
Naturally back then, parents never liked their children being in anything entertainment. They were usually like, 'ah, you want to go and entertain when there is medicine to read, there is the Lawyer for you to become, there is the corporate world for you, then you want to go and entertain people, hellooo' it was of course frowned at back then. But with time, my parents began to realize that acting is my God given talent. Actually, they are a little bit liberal but sometimes, they give advice. They will say,'why don't you do this or do that, why don't you try and be a business person or try to be a lawyer' but when they saw that I was very passionate about acting, they allowed me be, but at the beginning, they were not too happy but when it started producing result, they are seeing my performance on stage, sometimes I beg them to come and watch me perform on stage, they were very excited about it and they said 'go ahead girl' and that was it.

What was your father's reaction when he watched your first performance?
The truth is that my father is a very liberal person; in fact, do anything that gives you joy. It is just my mother that is a bit strict. When my father saw me on stage the first time, he was telling my mom, 'you see, I told you this girl is very good, just let her be' so he was really excited about me.

How do you align your person to fit into your character?
Well, yes you have to. I watch enough foreign movies and sometimes I assess my own performance, I also do a lot of research. For instance, if I have to play the role of someone who is on drugs, you have to help yourself by watching somebody who is an addict. If you want to play the role of a pediatrician or Anatomist, you have to help yourself by researching to know how these people operate. I go on the internet, I go on television, I watch a lot of television programmes, I am a television eye and I read books as well, that is how I conduct my research.

Have you been able to produce a movie of your own yet?
When I grow up, I will be a producer (Laughs).

Do you think the Nigerian movie industry is up to standard?
I have a lot to say on that. Basically, I will really like us to be more professional in everything. Technically, we are a little backward but now that the corporate world is beginning to take part in what we do, we are improving little by little but we need more improvement. Also in the other areas of entertainment, we have to really improve. We like what we see on television, I mean when we watch actors and the camera movements in foreign movie. We have the resources but we are just a little lazy but I think we are getting there, just give us a little bit of time, we will get there.

So if you have the chance to effect a change in the industry, what will be the first thing you will change?
The first thing I will do is set. We get a lot of embarrassments when we have to go and shoot in people's house, that is so absurd when you have to go knocking on people's door, you have to beg and they treat you like trash, I don't like it and I know that a lot of us don't like it but we just have to manage, what do we do, we don't have a choice for now. But I think they are going to get a us a vast land for us to build our sets. That is one of the things I will like to change given the opportunity before other things fall in place.

Have you ever had any embarrassing moment for playing a particular character in a movie?
I have not been faced with such; rather I am being encouraged to continue the good works.

How would you describe yourself?
I am a very simple person, simple things are beautiful, can't you see? hello (laughs). I am a very simple, very emotional and I am a very straight forward person too. I like honest people, honesty is my watch word. Don't cheat people, don't discriminate, that is just me.

What was growing up like for you?
It was really interesting. Being the first child of my parents, I think I was a little bit over pampered. I was given most of the things I needed not wanted. I grew up being very comfortable. I thank God for my parents, it was really exciting and the fact that my mother was a strong woman in church, she sowed the seed in us a lot, so I grew up in a very Christian home.

Where did you grow up?
My early life was in Port Harcourt.Do you have any memorable experience?One was when I have my daughter, baby Tamar - Dejo Richards. That was really memorable.

When did you meet your husband?
I met my husband in 2002 briefly. It was like hello meet my friend Segun and whenever we meet, hello hi and that was about it. I did not even know that the man has already started planning how to 'catch' me. Since then, he has been mapping out strategies to 'catch' me, it took him two years before he succeeded in 2004. He will call me and end the call four hours after.

And you were picking the callWhy shouldn't I?
Everybody loves men that are after them. Then in 2004 we met again and he started again from where he stopped and the hello hi now turned to, you see let's go up for a drink and within that year, we got married.

So how is marriage?
Marriage has been exciting. It is bitter sweet, you know what I mean.

How supportive is he to your career?
He has been very supportive, he is unique, and he is different. Because for somebody to tell me, 'why don't you just go back to do what you like doing best, it was because of him that I got back into acting, that is the truth. People don't like hearing it but that is the truth. I was a little skeptical in the past; I did not know that acting was going to be a career for me. I wanted to be in a corporate world, I wanted to work in a bank, I wanted to just be a consultant to something, somewhere or wherever but I did not know that I was going to be an actress, so when I was planning to go into other things, he just sat me down and say 'my dear, go and act, that is what God called you for' and since he sowed that seed, he has been wonderful.

Is he very romantic?
Romance is far from his dictionary but he is just a realistic person. He won't like that anyway but that is the truth. He is a very, very realistic person.

how does he feel when you play those sexy roles?
No I have never been kissed on set. He knew all these things before he said I should go and do what you are called for. I mean, being a responsible person, you should know what to do. In the early days he used to help with the script and to help build my character and all that. He is indifferent but as a wife, I know my limitations and I don't cross the bounds. My husband knows me; he knows what I can do and what I cannot do.

What if you are under pressure to choose between your home and your career?
I will choose being at home because, for a man to come to telling a wife to choose between staying at home and your career, it means the wife is not doing what she is supposed to do, it means she is not striking a balance between being a career woman and being in the house to take care of the home front, that's what it means. I don't think any man that is sensible will know that everywhere is organised at home, he has his food when he wants to eat and the woman strive to strike a balance with her home and career and then he tells her 'you know what, stop, don't go out there again and come back eleven o'clock' there must be a balance. And if that balance is not there and my husband says 'this is getting too much, you have to sit at home', I will have to sit at home until I convince him that I can actually be a career woman and still take care of the home but it has not come to that yet. I try as much as I can to strike a balance.

What is one good thing that being married has done to you?
It has made more responsible, it has made me wiser, it has made me stronger and it has made me realized that marriage is something everybody will wish to be in. it gives you a sense of security and belonging especially in this fierce society that we live in Africa. It has been great and fantastic.

What is your perception of the reality of sexual harassment in the industry?
There is sexual harassment everywhere.

Have you ever been sexually harassed?No, I have never been sexually harassed, to the glory of God.

Do you have a role model?
Naturally I should have and I do have a role model. I have two people as a role model. One of them is Joke Silva and the second person is Reverend Dele George of the little saints Orphanage home. These are the two women I aspire to be like, not necessarily copying them but if possible, to be better than them. To give back to the society better than what they have been able to give back.

How do you feel when you watch yourself on set?
I feel great, I feel oh God so I did this like this and sometimes, I feel like oh I should have done this better, oh why do I have to. I like seeing myself, so I can upgrade in the next one and can be better off.

Are you a designer freak?
Yes and no. yes I love designer things and I wear them and no because I won't go out of my way to have designer things if I don't have the money.

What about jewelry?
I love jewelry. As an actress, you can not do without that to compliment your looks.

Dedicated to the memory of Teslim Olamilekan Suleiman (1992 - 2005) [Click Image to read about him]