Fola Onifade is the producer of the star studded multimillion naira epic movie called, Eko, the blessing of Olofin. It is a 500 cast movie shot to set the record straight on the true story of Lagos State.
Parading a blend of young and old professional Nollywood acts such as Yemi Black, Jide Kosoko, Bukky Wright, Iya Awero, Orisha Bunmi, amongst others, it is adjudged the movie to beat in the Yoruba genre when it hits the cinema. In an exclusive chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the producer shared with us why he is spending such huge money on the movie.
How long have you been in the movie industry?
I have been in advertising for over 15 years while entertainment is about four years now. This is my first movie.
Who is the brain behind this movie?
I am the brain behind it with the assistance of God.
How did this movie come about?
Months back, there was this controversy that Lagos is a no man’s land. I just took it upon myself to research and find out if Lagos is really a no man’s land. And from my research, I was convinced that it is a story everybody should learn from. That is why I went into the production. It’s a movie that tells the story of Lagos right from Ile-Ife. You cannot come from Ile-Ife and own a land and some other people will say you are not the owner. Even in Lagos Island, you find out that people that own the land are Yoruba, we call them Deje chiefs. They are the direct descendants of Olofin. The children of Olofin are the ones that own the land. They also spread to other areas.
They are the original land owners. That is the basic idea behind it.
You mean Lagos is not a no man’s land?
Lagos has never been a no man’s land. And it will never be a no man’s land. A community that welcomes everybody, does not mean that they have lost their own heritage. They will maintain their own heritage irrespective of the fact that they welcome all comers.
Don’t you think the movie will generate controversy?
I don’t see any controversy. I have tried to look at it from various points of views, I have not been able to convince myself that any controversy will come out of it. I cannot, as a Yoruba man, go to Kano and say Kano is a no man’s land.
Is Lagos State government aware of this project?
Lagos State government is aware of it but they are not funding it. It’s purely funded by me.
Is it open for sponsorship?
Of course, but what we want to do is, do our production, and get sponsors who can buy into the idea. My own is to get sponsors to bring their money. When we use other people’s money, we might not do it according to our vision. The passion that we will put into it will be suppressed.
Since we are using our own money, we are putting a lot of passion into it.
How much are you spending?
You can imagine hi-tech equipment for 30 days. So, you can do your calculations.
Like N50 million?
I can’t give you a budget. It’s part of our agreement, non-disclosure agreement.
Who wrote the story?
The story was written by Femi Bright and he is directing.
You have about 500 cast, how were you able to reach out to them?
That is the job for the production manager, Eazy.
Who are the major actors in the movie?
Yemi Black is the lead actor. He is playing Olofin. Others are Bukky Wright, Iya Awero, Kanran, amongst others.
What will make this movie different from other Yoruba movies?
If we dedicate ourselves to do everything the way we have planned it, I am sure the audience will like it. We are putting in 30 days of serious job. We are using top of the range equipment. We are using a lot of professionals. We hope that the public will appreciate what we are doing.
The shooting of the movie is going to be very challenging. Being a first timer, how prepared are you?
We did a thorough analysis of making a movie. We know our strength. We discovered our weakness and we found that to do a fantastic movie that we want to do, the first challenge was to get a brand new equipment. I took the pain, I went to France, bought the best cameras that the industry can offer. There is no way we can’t deliver this project because we now have all the equipment.
Who will market the movie?
We don’t have a marketer yet.
Will you be acting as well?
I don’t have the talent. So, I am not acting.
Is it because you have money that is why you are a movie producer now?
No, not at all. I am trying to contribute my own quota to the growth of the industry.
Tell us about your family?
My name is Fola Onifade. I have a background in accounting. I ventured into advertising. I did my OND in Lagos State Polytechnic, my HND in Ogun Poly. I have a MBA in advertising. I also run a nightclub. It is the only nightclub in Mushin called Lamour.
Are you married?
Of course, I am. I am married to Mrs. Tope Onifade. We are blessed with four kids – two boys and two girls.
– FEMI OYEWALE