United Kingdom based actress cum legal practitioner, Damilola Alabi, aka Dami-Ann, who breezed into Nigeria a couple of weeks back has told ENCOMIUM Weekly why she is frequent in Nigeria this time around.
She also stated the reason she is yet to premiere her multi-million naira movie, The Rubicon, in Nigeria. The Ondo born entertainer also opened up on other issues, including sexual harassment in Nollywood and much more on Friday, August 8, 2014, on a movie location when we had an interview with her.
I thank God for where I am right now. I am thankful for God’s blessings. I have just completed shoot on my latest production, Wannabe produced by Nwachuku, directed by Sunkanmi Oduwole, who is a UK based director and I acted alongside Halima Abubakar, Uzee, Kate Effiong and Vien.
Before Wannabe, I worked on Catch Me If You Can, produced by Lineo Adekoya, also directed by Sunkanmi Oduwole, starring myself, Seun Jimoh, Moradeke Awe and many others. In June, I produced my first Yoruba film, starring myself, Odunlade Adekola, Peju Ogunmola, Olayiwola Razak, Oyin Elebuibon and directed by Ojopagogo. The movie will be out soon so, watch out. I can carry on listing the jobs I have done but let me just leave the rest.
You premiered your high budget movie, The Rubicon, sometime last year in the UK, how would you describe the event?
Yes, my first production, The Rubicon, starring OC Ukeje and directed by Chucks Mordi was premiered in the UK in January 2014, this year and it was a very successful event. I was overwhelmed by the support and turnout. I was on the set of a soap. I wasn’t really involved in the planning of the premiere and invites were sent out only two days to the event. It was the first ever exclusive invite only Nollywood premiere in the UK and the screening hall was packed full. Buzz Extra TV was on hand to cover it and lots of paparazzi were on hand. It was also the first Nollywood premiere to start at the appointed time. Many people were still coming into the hall at the end of the movie because people are so used to late starting premiere. A lot of people commended me on that. It was a great experience, I thank God.
We learnt there was a plan to premiere it in Nigeria but nothing has been heard about that, why?
There is a plan for another exclusive invite only launch in Nigeria and I am earnestly working on that at the moment. All will be revealed in good time. I will like people to stay tuned.
When actually do you intend releasing the movie?
As soon as I conclude the launch of the movie in Nigeria, it will be officially released.
It s like the frequency of you coming to Nigeria this time around is high, why?
Yes, you can say I am in Nigeria a lot more frequently and it is because of the projects I am doing in Nigeria. Projects take me back to the UK and Nigeria. So, my movement depends on whatever project I am working on at any given time.
You’re the toast of some movie producers right now, home and abroad, how does that make u feel?
I am just grateful to God for the opportunities of working with great producers and directors, home and abroad. It feels amazing to be appreciated, its a nice feeling. Acting and entertainment is my life. I live to act and making films and any chance and opportunity I get to do that, I embrace it with open arms. So, yes, I am happy about it.
Now that you are in Nigeria, what happens to your TV programme in the UK? How is it being run?
I have finished recording for the TV show. It is not a live show, we shoot seasonally so, it affords me the opportunity to be flexible. When I go to the UK, I will shoot some more again.
What are the flaws in Nollywood that need to be addressed?
I think nothing can be perfect. No matter how good something is, you will still find someone that will complain about it. That is not to say one would not improve where there are flaws. In my opinion, the biggest problem in Nollywood is marketing. If producers know that they will make good profit from their efforts, then more money will be spent on their productions in order to make great quality movies but when distributors and marketers are all out to sideline or cheat the producers, then it is not encouraging for the producers to spend the required amount of money for thier films. A great movie requires a lot of money.
A lot of actresses have lamented sexual harassment in the industry, what s your take on that?
My take is that there is harassment in most occupations. Dare I say even some church workers have experienced sexual harassment in the church they work. So, Nollywood is not unique about this. However, more needs to be done to protect actors who may experience this. They should be taught that they don’t have to do what they don’t want to do in order to have a career in Nollywood.
Have you actually been a victim?
I have experienced cases where producers have asked me to exchange favours for roles but I have stood firm in my belief that I do not have to do that in order to succeed. I have heard lots of stories from others who have been victims. Exchanging sexual favours for roles is not a guarantee of success so, I am never going down that line.
There’s this tale that you are savouring a juicy romance with movie director, Chuks Mordi, what’s your reaction to this?
Hahaha, that is absurd. Chucks Mordi is the director of my first production, The Rubicon. He has been nothing but a great support, help and assistance to me since I met him. He is a man of great character and conviction. He believed in me when I approached him and he took up my cause like a father and friend. He stood by me, guided and advised me, he even sacrificed a lot just for The Rubicon to be the success it is today. So, no romance between us, just a great person that I can always rely on.
Who’s your ideal man?
I like powerful men, movers and shakers, a man who makes things happen. My ideal man is a man of great character, someone who is supportive, understanding and is not afraid to show his love to me at any time. A great sense of humour is also a requirement for me as well as someone who is ambitious and hard working.
Dami-Ann is not getting younger any more, when do you intend settling down with a man to spend the rest of your life with?
Oh, I actually thought I was getting younger. In actual fact, I am settled with an amazing guy. He is very private and doesn’t like being in the spotlight. I am grateful to God.