By Victor Gotevbe
Nollywood industry is globally acclaimed as the third largest film industry sparingly highlighting talents and creativity making the Nigerian youths to be recognized as intelligent and distinct. It is also acknowledged that broadcast media’s survival depends more on the quality of products produced.
Onime Ugbowie, CEO of Juliet Alfred Productions, a native of Ughelli-South, Delta State is working hard at keeping its survival as an actress, scriptwriter as well as a producer. She had a brief chat with Vanguard Youthful Vibes recently. Excerpts:
What is your upbringing like?
I grew up in a loving Christian home with a strict father and mother who bring a balance to that strictness. When I used to see the soap opera “Behind the clouds”, I could relate with it that my father wasn’t crazy like “Okonzua”, but he didn’t take nonsense and that I would say put me on the right path from the beginning.
I have a very supportive family and we always have something to laugh about no matter the circumstance. I was encouraged to be creative from a very young age. I am left-handed and as usual in Nigeria, my teachers tried to stop me from using my left hand but my dad told them to let me be and to allow me grow up with it.
I thank God for that because it makes me unique.I attended Nazareth Private Primary School, Federal Government Girls College, Sagamu and Ambrose Alli University.
What motivated you into building a career in the film/movie industry?
I have always loved movies; I have been watching movies since I was in primary 1. People who have known me from my high school days are not too surprised that I am into movie production. I am endowed with a creative mind that if I see a movie, I could give you a perfect or near perfect narration of the movie.
My friends in school would always beg me to tell them about movies. Hollywood movies have been an inspiration also; I see the unique stories they tell and I feel like doing same. I like to give life to a story through movies. I recall several years reading ‘Passport of Mallam Illia’ authored by Cyprian Ekwensi and I could imagine it as a movie.
You are also into script writing and movie production. What does it take to be a Producer, and why do you write your script?
To be a Producer, you must be very innovative, motivated and you must be ready to do a lot of running around, and ready to face challenges. I write my scripts because I love to build unique stories, and I’m good at keeping people engrossed to my scripts. Also, we need better stories in our industry.
How many movies have you produced?
I have produced three movies: “Desperately Seeking,” “Strange things” starring fast rising actress Amanda Mike Ebeye, upcoming actor Paul Utomi and another one which I’m working on with another producer.
How would you take entertainment to the next level? How do you intend to achieve success in what is not working ?
I intend to do TV shows apart from movies and show the different aspects of entertainment. There is so much to offer. There are so many talented people out there who are being deprived of the opportunity they need, and I plan to change.
Also,we have gotten used to telling indecent and senseless kind of stories in our movies; I plan to change that. I want to do movies that the average Nigerian can relate to. I want to create an Onime Ugbowie era just like Tyler Perry.
What challenges are you facing being a movie producer?
Raising funds to shoot because for me as a producer I have to raise the money myself. It is very challenging getting investors. However, when you meet some of these people they want to take advantage of the fact that you need them and they start telling you irrelevant things.
I thank God because His grace has always been there and most of the people I have worked with have been very supportive. My friends have been supportive as well.
How does your work inspire and motivate young people to being the change they want to see in the world?
I have a friend I met two years ago, when she saw how far I had gone she was very inspired; she knew the challenges I faced but I did not give up and I would never because I’m not a quitter, and anytime I meet young people like myself I tell them the sky is the starting point. I tell them my story and they are inspired.
What advice do you have for other young people?
If you have a vision, you must be passionate about it and you must be ready to fight the good fight of faith because not everyone will understand where you are coming from. In addition, you must set a standard for yourself, be well informed and don’t give up.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself that I would have produced at least 15 movies, 5 TV shows, worked with Tyler Perry and win an Oscar for the best foreign movie. In the next five years, I want to create job opportunities for so many young people.