Nollywood needs to pay more attention to details —Actress Belinda Effah
Nollywood Actress , Belinda Effah has been on a steady rise since her debut on television in the 2005 series, ‘Shallow Waters’. The award-winning beauty recently joined the league of filmmakers producing two cinema works, ‘Miracle’ and ‘Locked’. She is one of those thespians who many will say has come of age in the industry. And in this interview, the Genetics and Bio-technology graduate of the University of Calabar spoke to Newton-Ray Ukwuoma about some of her special moments, challenges, advice and other issues. Excerpts:
With the first half of 2019 having ended, how is the year turning out for you, career-wise?
The first half of 2019 I must say has been awesome; I have been a part of awesome projects I can’t wait to share with the world. I have seen my dreams gradually being fulfilled. I am attaining new levels in my career and I can only be grateful to God.
What career achievements have you attained so far?
Besides the constant jobs and the awards, it’s comforting to know that producers, marketers, and directors are willing to stake their hard- earned money on me, insisting they believe I am the best person to tackle a role and are willing to wait for my availability to work with me. That, for me, is a huge accomplishment and achievement.
But you recently joined the league of film makers yourself…
Yes, I recently produced my very first movie entitled, ‘Miracle’. I felt it was time. I had been working on it for over five years, raising funds for it was quite challenging but then, it happened. I really want to use this movie as a tool of change and empowerment for our young people. So far, it’s been a very interesting journey which I am grateful for and it’s been a learning curve for me as well. I can’t wait to share with the world what we were able to cook.
Do you think Nigerian female movie producers face different challenges?
No. I really don’t see any challenges with female producers, as a matter of fact. I think the women are equally up to par with the male producers if not taking over. Women are natural caretakers, home-makers, etc. So, they bring that expertise into production which makes it more awesome. Women are very meticulous and pay attention to details. They see things that men might not see and take care of them before going on production.
What is it about your newest project, ‘Locked’?
‘Locked’ is a movie on mental health. It will be opening in cinemas on August 9, 2019. It features Hilda Dokubo, Sunny Neji, Charles Granville, Abayomi and me. It’s a must watch, directed by Simon Peacemaker.
In the movie, ‘Haram’, you played the role of a Northern lady. How was the experience of living her life?
I totally loved working on that project. It’s quite different from anything I have done before. Plus it came with its own difficulty. In all, I gave my best and I hope the audience liked it. ‘Haram’ is a family story centered on a Muslim family and its complexities. It’s quite different from anything you have seen. Trust me, you will love this one. It was directed by Andy Boyo, a veteran thespian.
From your experience as a seasoned actress, what should be done to improve the industry?
Attention should be paid to details regarding every facet of the industry from scripting, to makeup, to costume, to location, to props, equipment, cast and crew, etc. The quality of all these will add to production value. And very importantly, there should be unity among producers to solve the ongoing distribution problem. Distribution is a major problem that needs to be looked into. We have the population yet very limited distribution networks. We need to unilaterally come up with a lasting solution that will benefit everyone. This can also be a revenue spinner in years to come. Royalty will be earned from a movie forever with proper structures in place.
Is the supposed languid spin of revenue in the movie industry the reason you are into food stuff business?
No. I am a big food lover. Having access to good food has always been of importance to me. So, I decided to make business out of what I love. Food lovers like me can have access to good food at their convenience. Favor-Right Foods @favorrightfoods was borne from this.
What are the challenges running such a business in Nigeria?
Power is a major challenge; the running cost is swallowed up mostly by alternative power supply (generator). Most times, it consumes your profit. Manpower is another problem. A lot of youths are not willing to start small and grow a business. These are the few challenges among others.
How lucrative is the business?
It’s quite lucrative if done properly. It’s food and it’s a necessity for everyone. If done right, it will generate very good income.
How do you source your wares?
I source all my food items from the local markets within Lagos, Calabar and environs.
For a person just starting this line of business, what are the key notes that should be taken?
Make sure you create at least 80 per cent time to spend on the business.
What should be expected of you for the remaining part of 2019?
Expect bigger projects, endorsements, more productions, youth empowerment programs, charity, giveback to the society.
How do you find time to relax as a businesswoman/actress?
I create time out of no time to rest. I need the rest because our work is more mental and if not properly managed it could cause serious health hazard. I ensure I take out time to take care of myself and rest. I am a workaholic but I don’t joke with my work-out routine. It calms and relaxes me and then I drink a lot of water.
Do you have a special beauty routine to maintain your youthful glow?
My beauty routine is to ensure I don’t keep makeup on my face overnight, use a good scrub and moisturizer all the time.
Can you recall any red carpet embarrassing moment?
On a popular award event where I was nominated, I was waiting to be interviewed on the live show and they told me I couldn’t be interviewed because they had a list of people they had been told to interview. It was so embarrassing being that I was a nominee. In life, things come around as I believe it will someday very soon. So, I took it with a pinch of salt.