Olatilewa Animashaun, C.E.O, Naijozi Media Productions is one of the Nigerians making movies outside the shores of the country. In this interview, she reviews her journey in to the entertainment world, and the secret behind her soon to be premiered South African movie, ‘The Hearing’. Excerpts.
As an astute business tycoon and educationist, what exactly attracted you into entertainment business?
My artistic skills has always been in me because we grew up in an Anglican Church where I was part of the drama group. Even in the University and during my youth service, I was also part of the drama group.
Fortunately, my husband is also into drama and acting with vast experience. So, because of my desire for drama and entertainment I decided to take the plunge before testing the water. Though, the journey was rough, God has been so faithful, we give him all the glory.
How did you come up with concept for your soon to be premiered movie, ‘ The hearing’?
The concept of the movie’ is based on a real life events of the happenings in South Africa, the educational sector and the society at large.
As an educationist myself, I realized that a lot of rights and privileges are given to children here and the educational system seems to have a full backing of child’s protection. I single handedly carried out some investigation on teachers around and the challenges they are facing. I also conducted an investigation to know the challenges confronting the students.
And with my personal experience as a teacher, I was able to put all these together and come up with the movie. Basically, it is a real life event. Everything you find in the movie is the happenings in the South Africa’s educational sector.
It is not exaggerated, but on the account of different educators at different times, some of which they handled wrongly, some with good intentions but misjudged. ‘The Hearing’ is a representation of the happenings in South Africa.
How long did it take to make the movie?
It took us three months to make the movie, from the concept of the idea. My husband, Mr Olufisayo Animashaun wrote the script and we had script seminar where we were able to arrange it into the right concept.
Can you tell us some of the production challenges you faced while filming?
Finance was the first obstacle! To get a school to shoot the movie because many schools needed to seek for permissions from their District Heads before they could allow us to use their infrastructures to shoot the movie.
Also, the students that we used in the movie took us time to put them together. We have to contact their parents, because it was during the holiday and assured them of safety.
The students are not professional actors/actresses, we had to mentor and teach them what was expected of them and being kids, organising them took time, it was a big challenge.
Another plight was bureaucracy. We wrote the police that we needed some of the state resources and we have to go through a lot of processes before we got the bullet proof vests and guns that were used for the movie.
Very challenging, but exciting.
What was your greatest strength that made a difference in the outcome?
We are able to achieve this brilliant outcome because Naijozi Media Productions work with the best in terms of facilities and manpower.
We did a lot of script seminars and auditions complimented with rehearsals, time and energy were invested.
Sometimes, we shoot uptill the midnight. I also want to appreciate my husband, he directed the film and he set goals which we were able to accomplished in the end.
Also, the actors can be overbearing, they are in a hurry to go but, they are mindful that they are on our payroll and pleaded their supports. We are happy about that.
In fact they are happy working with Nigerians because we were able to build trust by paying their appearance fee in advance, even before hitting location.