It’s time to learn a bit more about the movie industry, join exquisite magazine as we unravel Edith Nwekenta’s success story in this interview. So read up!
EM- PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m a producer and director for film, TV, music videos and commercials.
I got my first break with the short film Unspoken which I co-wrote back in 2012. Which went on to screen at festivals and win awards. A year later in 2013 I co-wrote and produced my first feature film, “Mum, Dad, Meet Sam” which premiered nationwide in Nigeria in 2015 before being streamed for two years on Netflix.
While doing this I was working at Channel 4 and independently shooting music videos for artists such as Malik Berry, Patoranking, J Hus and Wande Coal to name a few.
I went on to write the award-winning short film “Prey” in 2015 about a young woman being stalked by a psychopath in a car park after a night out.
My work over the years has always been collaborative as I’m a strong believer that people are your biggest resource. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled between London, Lagos and Accra working on films and commercials. Some of the branding campaigns I’ve worked on include Schweppes Nigeria, Club Beer and Cam Dairies.
Most recently I produced “The Order of Things” feature film which was released last June across Nigerian cinemas and most recently co-directed season 2 of “The Olive” which is out now on Accelerate Plus.
EM- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY?
Over 10 years.
EM- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO IT?
Whilst at university studying Media Production, I realized I had a passion for being in front of the screen, so when I graduated I decided to pursue acting and went to an acting school in London.
I started to book roles but the roles were not meaty, I was always getting cast as the girlfriend or baby mama with attitude etc and I got tired of that.
I always knew I had a creative flair so one of my friends encouraged me to write my own film (which I had never done before). I went online and looked for short courses and read screenplays of my favourite movies.
This gave me the encouragement I needed to work on my first short film, which I co-wrote with Ola Laniyan. After this, I fell more in love with filmmaking and working with a team to bring a vision to life.
I also love telling stories and having them viewed on the big screen where I get to share experiences with different people. It’s invaluable.
EM- TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED AND WHAT KEPT YOU MOTIVATED?
I think for me it’s about remaining focused, it is easy to be derailed when you don’t see immediate results or when you keep hearing lots of “NO’s”.
I took small steps, and researched, I started small by making a very low-budget film and constantly watching films (old and new, and different genres and from different countries), immersing myself in film and TV. If you love it that much it won’t feel like work.
My why is my motivation. Why do I do this? Why do I keep going? The answer is this is my purpose. It’s something I do for fun, for passion and now I’m blessed to make a living from it.
EM- YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN THE SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL?
It has taken years to get here. And I feel my career is just taking off. Keeping a level head and always wanting to learn has got me here.
I started by being a runner on set, which meant making tea, buying groceries, delivering hard drives etc for the production company. I proved that I was hard working and reliable, two things which are imperative in any production.
EM- THE LONG AWAITED OLIVE SEASON 2 PREMIER IS HERE, TELL US A BIT OF WHAT TO EXPECT.
Lots of action and some new characters to spice things up. I won’t say too much but I’m definitely proud of the storyline and how well it was developed in order to give the viewers such a thrilling and enjoyable experience.
EM- A SNEAK PEAK OF WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR ROLE IN THE OLIVE SEASON 2
My role in season 2 as co-director was to help bring to life new developments in the storyline and the characters.
I bring my flair to each production, as I’ve said many times over I love collaboration and that’s exactly what I did with the actors this season. Worked with them to ensure all the layers created for them were visible in their performances.
EM- HOW EASY WAS IT TO FIT INTO THE ROLE YOU WERE GIVEN?
Challenging at first because of the time we had to shoot the season but once I got stuck in it became super enjoyable, especially when you start to see results.
Watching some of the footage back in between scenes was definitely rewarding. Seeing the work the actors put in makes me know that the work paid off.
EM- WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE STARTING UP IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY?
When I first started, it was waiting on a lot of people for the answer YES. When I can be my own YES. I’ve learnt to create the opportunities that I want. Networking with people and ensuring that I can be of service to others too.
Another challenge I faced was securing finance but there are so many avenues now and ways to make films without needing to secure lots of money. There are funds available, schemes, and easier and cheaper ways to shoot, ie using your mobile phone. Also make your own name for yourself, the right people will come to you.
EM: IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I would take more risks. Although I think I already have, I would take even more. What’s the worst that could happen?
EM- IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOURSELF WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
God Got Me.
EM- PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR INDUSTRY WITH EM.
Constantly learning and constant collaboration. I believe you can only get better at something by practising and studying. Learn to be of service to others. Offer your time on set, shadow a director, sit with a producer, and form good relationships. Be kind.
EM- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY?
Do your homework. Read up about the industry. Form your own group or network and make the type of films or content that you would like to see. Go out and network. Get some formal training if you can or attend classes.
EM- PLEASE SHARE THE CONTACT DETAILS YOU WISH TO BE MADE PUBLIC