Talented movie producer, Emem Isong is still basking in the euphoria of motherhood. Though she is back to work she wish to take more time off to nurse her twins.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with her at her Surulere (Lagos) office, where she shared the joys of motherhood with us and told us about her forthcoming movie…
How are you rocking motherhood?
I am doing the best that I can. It is not easy at all considering the fact that they are two. I rely on God’s grace and I am trying my best.
What is the best thing about being a mother?
This is my second time of being a mother. It is nice to have other people to think of. It gives you a sense of responsibilities. So, it feels great.
How does it feel to be back to work after a long break?
I wish I could take a longer break. I wish I would stay back and take care of the kids for another one year. I wish I could, but, I have to work. It is good. Being in the film industry, sometimes you miss location, the hustle and bustle of location. It feels good to be back and getting ready for another production.
Would you say you miss being away for a while?
Not exactly. Motherhood is a great experience. It is something that happens once a while. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
How do you hope to juggle motherhood and work considering the fact that you have more than one baby to cater for at once?
I learn to prioritize, just like any mother in the industry. After your normal three to four months maternity leave, you go back to work. It is not different for me. We would prioritize and then, working for one self would make things easy. So, I can plan my time.
What about days you have sleep over at location because you have to shoot late into the night?
I am about to go on set for an NGO production. It is one of the advocacy films I do once a while. It is untitled, but it is something on IDP camps in Nigeria. We are still in the works. We are looking at both up and coming acts and established ones, it is a blend of both new and old faces.
Looking at the state of the present economy, how much do you think it would require to make a film?
It depends on what you are working on, the kind of audience. Naturally, the budget would be higher because there is inflation, everything has gone up. With the present state of the economy, every industry would spend more. Definitely, we would spend much more in making a movie now. I don’t even have an idea of how much we would spend now. I believe everything has tripled. Paying artistes on set is not going to be the same.
What makes a good producer from your experience?
The ability to plan well. A good producer should know a good script to choose and putting every aspect of production together, good cast, production values, pay attention to details.
The last administration supported the movie industry, what do you think this administration can do to move the industry forward?
I always talk about piracy. I believe in distribution. A lot of cinemas have sprang up here and there. It is not the duty of government to build cinemas but making policies that are favourable to businessmen and investors. The more cinemas we have, the more money we would make in the industry.
A lot of up and coming actresses have complained that sex for role is the order of the day in the industry, what is your take about that?
I don’t know anything about that. I am not saying it does not exist, but I wouldn’t know what can be done.
A lot of people believe the industry is collapsing, what do you think can be done to restore it?
I feel the industry is getting better, though things seem a little bit slower because there is change. It is a global thing. Everything is getting more digital, movies are being streammed online. CDs are being forged but I guess it is the change that is making it look like it is collapsing. Things are actually getting better. We are winning awards and making more money, those are success stories.
People should just sit up and do better films. We should work on distribution too. It would be getting better.
We learnt you have a movie that would be released soon, can you tell us about it?
Yes, we are putting final touches on a movie we shot last year. It is coming out in December. It is titled Ayamma. I am looking forward to releasing it. It is on culture. I did it to celebrate our culture.
It is ethnic, a genre I am not familiar with. I experimented and I think it was a good experiment. It is a movie I loved making and I hope people would enjoy I am very pro-Nigeria, pro-culture. There is so much modernalization that I think we should do something to preserve our history, culture so that our children would not forget where they came from.
What does Ayamma mean?
The movie is from Akwa Ibom state. Ayamma means “would you love me?” it could also mean “brightness”. But I am talking about the brightness of our culture.
How challenging was it diving into an area you were not familiar with?
It was quite challenging. I have actually made an epic movie before like ten years ago. Working with a crowd is usually a challenge. Moving cast and crew from Lagos to Akwa Ibom was hectic. We films for a month, I had foreign crew on set. Our D.O.P was a foreign crew who was not used to working in the bush. We had a lot of issues getting people to do certain things. For example, the lead actress didn’t understand Ibibio culture and language. She had to practice a lot especially the dancing aspect but I like going out of my comfort zone, at times, stretching myself. I am very proud of it.
Who are the cast that we should expect?
Majid Michel, Wole Ojo, Adesua Etomi, Theresa Edem, she is former student of Royal Art Academy, Emem Bishop, Armstrong. Those two are from that area. They are all solid actresses and actors. They interpreted all their roles to the best of their abilities
Do you see yourself picking a role in any of your movies?
Never! Maybe a waka pass. That is not my core area of strength. I don’t think I would like that. I prefer to be behind the scene.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN