NOLLYWOOD HAS BROUGHT GLORY, FAME TO NIGERIA
Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is no longer a new name in the film industry, he has branded himself as a reputable producer/director both locally and at international level having shot some films in the USA and UK and many others in Nigerian language to depict our culture and to as well correct some ills in the industry. In his interview with Adegbuyi, Adejare Olawale, Lancelot stressed the reason for the entertainment to be embraced and make it achieve its set objectives because it employs more than the biggest ministry and parastatal in Nigeria.
You’ve been a practitioner in the film industry for close to two decades now, what can you say about it?
Yes, having spent fifteen years in the industry, I can say it has improved to some extent, from the government funded television series like the “Cock Crow at Dawn,” “Mirror in the Sun”, “Village Headmaster”, “and New Masquerade.” These were the television sponsored programs on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (RTD) stopped all that in 1985 and there were influx of foreign Mexican soaps, which led to the ingenuity of Nigerians to replicate that popular television drama which now gave birth to Nigerian Film Industry dubbed, Nollywood, which has given us some good sense of popularity.
As a producer, do you think doing our films in our local languages will help us better what do you feel?
I’m not a man who talks without doing it; I have made films in my language, Igbo, Ibibio language. To be able to capture people, you must communicate in their language and also the originality of production is best seen in the language they speak, and people enjoy better the film shot in their language. I have worked on many topical issues. I did “Ikumegin”(against promiscuity), “Otere” (about land touts), “Oduwa” (talks on issue of human trafficking & HIV/AIDs), and I just did “Obama” (talking about paradigm shift in governance). I’ve done all these and it’s getting bigger and better. With no apology, there are some I shot in Edo language that have to do with tradition “Kings Battle”, and I just did “Home in Exile” and I did “Adesuwa” these are historic movies that I have shot in my language and they all did well.
Can you tell the way forward on the issue of pirates that is ripping off the industry?
Before now, going to Alaba in Lagos was a mirage, but today the table has turned, people now believe that dieing for what belong to them is not a lost battle, so the producers and the major distributors have device a means of battling them by seriously attacking their camp. I just did a promotion on the 2-in-1 DVD disabusing the mind of the people against it and once nobody patronizes them and it’s not available on the stand, then their market is destroyed. After all, they cannot advertise their product due to illegality. Another problem is the issue of illiteracy and lack of awareness which is perennial in our society, and people buy that because they consider it cheap and once we are able to get that right with the needed awareness, there will be a paradigm shift, which will leverage the system. We need more than talking; we need to put some things into practice. I’m also using this medium to call on the government; there is no institution in the world that can match the strength of the government. Unfortunately, these hoodlums have been able to check the government agencies saddled with the responsibility to check them. This is barbaric and unexpected in a sane society for a subject to dictate to the boss.
Tell us something about your upbringing and your entrance into the industry?
When we came into the industry, there was an idea of what it was. I love art and I was fascinated by it, I wanted to read law, but I discovered that I could not get art in law, so I shifted my position and I thank God that it is in our time that art was re-defined. Global Communication Ltd, Globacom, a telecom giant, now signs artistes as ambassadors at great fees and many more are still coming.
What’s your opinion about the Movietainment Magazine?
You know Nigeria with all the follow-follow orientation, when it was music, it was music everywhere, but defining a sector and moving towards reporting it as an industry is a welcome idea. So, we’ll support it and let it see the light of the day. So I endorse it for others to read.