They call him The Governor. He is one of the successful movie directors. He has also started producing his own movies. We are talking about Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen. Nollywood Plus had a chat with the multiple-award winning director.
The proud father of two girls taught us how to make a good movie, the challenges of the Nigerian movie industry. And what he has been doing lately…
What’s new with Lancelot Imasuen?
My fastest movie, Home is Exile, is doing very well. It is shown in cinemas the world over. It has been premiered here in Nigeria, in the UK and Ireland. I have to continue to tell the world where I am from in a deliberate effort to promote the battered image of my fatherland.
Every locality or ethnic group must find what can be celebrated. Like what we are doing with Edo culture, people are already excited about it. We are also planning a concert in the UK. It is called Edo Blast. We should appreciate our culture heritage. That is why we are going with artists of Edo origin. It is going to be a big show.
We won’t get tired of asking pioneers like you the problem with Nollywood and how to get of it?
The problem of Nollywood is basically lack of direction. Most of us don’t even know where we are coming from. That is a tragedy. This is where the press comes in. you guys have to support the industry. If Nollywood is a success, all of us would certainly benefit from the boom.
Not minding the down-turn in the industry, are you better off today than you were say five years ago?
Oh, Lancelot Imasuen is far, far better and bigger. Though the jobs don’t come as much as they used to come. In the beginning, you would work. Now you are leveraging on your past efforts, even as you are better rewarded after a good job.
What does it take to do a good movie?
Time is a key factor. I have noticed that people just dabble into what they don’t know, just to make money. They would say Na this one dey reign now. That is not how to be a professional.
You need time to shoot a movie. It is not what you just dabble into. It is not comedy or music you can deliver instantly. Movie making entails a lot. You have to look for the story, the cats, the crew and the cash. I can release an album tomorrow. That is the truth.
But it takes a lot to produce a movie? Of all the challenges of making a good movie, which of you is the hardest?
Sourcing for funds. When you have the funds, you now look for a good story.
What do you miss working behind the camera?
Nothing. I don’t miss anything. In fact, this is my 15th year behind the camera. And it has been fun. I like directing. In my next world, I would also like to be a director.
So, what has been your staying power all these years?
God, my mind and the determination to succeed in this business I have chosen. I have passion for my job. God is with me and I have no doubt I would continue to excel in the job.
You are credited with making a lot of stars in Nollywood, how did you do it?
I feel good. It is God’s favour and we have to help others to climb the ladder of success. Lancelot is a figure even outside our shores. Whenever I travel out of the country, I am always amazed by the number of fans who acknowledge that my works have added value to their lives. So, if this is the case, I give God all the glory. And for your information, we are also setting up structures to empower up and coming actors.
Few minutes ago, you scolded Nigerian comedians for their expensive and embarrassing jokes on Nollywood, why?
Yes, I don’t know why they should be condemning Nigerian movies. They should joke with a particular movie instead of generalizing, targeting the entire industry as a nest of quacks and bad artists. That is bad. So, I had to use the medium to warm them to leave Nollywood alone. I am sure Gbenga Adeyinka (the comedian) will pass the message to his colleagues.
Why are you called The Governor?
People think I have this leadership quality. We were on set one day and somebody just called me The Governor. And the name struck. That was in 2001.
We heard your wife has been delivered of a bouncing baby girl?
It’s great. The first child is there, now I have consolidated as a father.
- UCHE OLEHI
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, June 15, 2010