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What I’m giving back to Nollywood - Kingsley Ogoro

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The producer and director has something new cooking for the movie industry. He discloses what it is and talks about other issues in this interview.

KINGSLEY Ogoro needs little introduction. The owner of Klinks Studios has been around for a while in Nollywood and is one of the respected professionals flying Nigeria’s flag high across the world.

Though he has been a bit quiet of late, the producer of the chart bursting ‘Osuofia in London’ says it is strategic. “I’ve been somewhat quiet because I’m more of a creative businessman. I have my background in advertising; I got into filmmaking because there was a gap that needed to be filled; and that is what usually inspires me, the need to take up challenge in anything I set out to do. So, it’s not about the money,” he begins.

“My main quests were that I’d be the first to premiere my movie at a major cinema and that the president of my country be present. It happened; ‘Across the Niger’, which is about creating peace for the country was successfully premiered. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo through Information Minister, Chukwuemeka Chikelu, got interested and came for the premiere in Abuja. The only thing he felt was missing was the Nigerian flag.

“He was amazed at the movie and adopted it for the ‘Heart of Africa Project’ campaign. After its premiere, I got a call to premiere it in London because the organisers said it was the only movie that met international standards. It was premiered in Leicester Square in London. It was a great success; it attracted a huge crowd.

“Apart from that, God also added greater value to my movie making efforts. I shot a movie that I took for granted, ‘Osuofia in London’. I just shot the movie for the fun of it and it became the highest selling movie ever in the country.

“So, after these, there were no more challenges to surmount in the industry; I became a yardstick for which my colleagues measured their moviemaking craft. Now, we’re on a different scale. The challenge is not for too much of movies to be shot but training people to shoot movies; not just taking them to school to learn about movies. We’re bringing experts from abroad who will be part of our team as hands-on persons to train these young people.

“Those we will train will be made to work with us on productions; they will work on the scripts and produce them with our supervision and support in terms of funding and everything else it takes. So, Klinks Studio will shoot movies but that will be through our young ones. It’s not about Kingsley Ogoro going on location, no. I will go to location, but not as before with me as the driving force. But it will be done by passing on the baton to younger ones. I’ve gone past that stage; I’ve won every available award in the industry.
Producing is not my motivation right now.

“So, the challenge is not about winning awards but helping with the wealth God has given me to impact on younger filmmakers in the country. The challenge today is how to give back to society through the medium in which I have been successful.”

Film academy
The giving back, the producer of ‘The Return’ informs, will be by way of a film academy where emphasis will be placed on improving technical skills.

“I’m setting up a training studio to train more people in the technical area where Nollywood is lacking in manpower as part of leaving a legacy in the industry. With our new studio, we want to start training young artistes who can take over from us. I’ve been the one pioneering all the digital editing in use today in the country. Today, I want to impart my knowledge onto younger ones coming up in the industry by setting up an academy to train younger ones.

“We’ll recruit young people, train them and fund them to produce technically sound productions so they can have income from start. At the production, we’ll guide them with the experience we have. You know how I entered the industry; I didn’t enter because I wanted to make money. I entered because I wanted to up the standards for everybody but we’ve got to that level when we need to step up to set standards in the technical aspect of filmmaking. There are a lot of young people who are interested in filmmaking but they don’t know how to go about it. We need to train them because they will be the ones to carry on from us. So, we’ll use our equipment, our wealth and our experience to empower them.” The academy, he informs, is already operational in Surulere, Lagos.

Considering the challenges Nigerian producers contend with in the course of filmmaking, Ogoro describes himself and colleagues as magicians for coming up with works accepted by the public. He however notes that despite the challenges, they have acquitted themselves well not only in Africa but globally.

In spite of this, he says it is not yet time to relax. “Nollywood became number two because of our unique storytelling style, our content. Everybody is applauding Nollywood because out of nothing it created something. There are 100 better movies from Canada or China or France, but it is the idea that it is in Nollywood that you can compare a movie shot with $10,000 with one shot with $200 million from America.

“In fact, there’s no basis for comparison; but that is the reality. We do achieve things here with nothing. We’re simply magicians. Now, we simply have to move to the next level by improving on the technical input. That’s why somebody like Kingsley Ogoro is saying, ‘we’re going technical; we’re going professional in the areas where we’re lacking such as editing, sound and lighting.’

“Content has been the only driving force for Nollywood. Even when the pictures are not good, people still strain to watch our films because of the content we have. But we must begin to raise the technical standards; that is where I’m coming in this time around. Even with South Africa’s better technical quality, they are not number two in the world. Now consider this: If we have half the technical quality that America has, America’s film industry will be in trouble.”

What I?m giving back to Nollywood - Kingsley Ogoro
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