By Simon Peters Abuh
Shirley Urhobo-Enebong is a film maker and the Creative Director of S & S Creative Media Company. The creative degree holder in Architecture from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a Diploma from the New York Film Academy in this interview speaks of her new play Still Single in Gidi and other issues.
Have you produced any movies yet?
Nothing commercial, some mini short films and project for some companies looking for content to publicize their work.
Are you doing any movies/film presently?
I am preparing to do a movie right after the stage play Still Single in Gidi.
Can you tell us about your stage play?
Still Single in Gidi is a stage play created by my partner Sheila Ojei as a safe space for singles, dating, married or divorced living in Lagos to share their stories and experiences.
For this year, the play is centered on the lives of nine characters, their experiences being single and how it shapes their perspectives on marriage and relationships. The show addresses issues such as body shaming, skin bleaching, Yoruba demon/runs girl stereotype and many more. The monologues are drawn from true life experiences and topics discussed on the blog by contributors. Last year, we decided to do the play as part of the Lagos Theatre Festival. Originally, it was going to be a small play, but it attracted a lot of attention and became pretty successful so it is better that we do it again this year.
It will be staged at Agip Hall, Muson Center, Onikan Lagos, 2nd & 3rd of March, 2018. Friday 2nd of March: 7:30pm while we have two shows: on Saturday March 3rd, 4:30 & 7:30pm. Venue Ticket information is available on www.sandscreativemedia.com Instagram – @sandscreativemedia
Do you have sponsors?
Unfortunately, sponsorship is hard to come by. Like last year it was supposed to be a small room like 50 -70 people and out of no where they called us that Muson Center was available, so we had to rally round to fund it.
Is the show free?
Actually, we have advance discount tickets going on now on our site @ www.sandscreativemedia.com.
Your view about the movie industry in Nigeria?
Well, there was a time when a lot of film makers would hate to be associated with the industry; they would say I don’t do Nollywood films, honestly, now the movie industry is growing, there are more creative people, there are more talents, more diversity, different stories and films coming out now, people are beginning to stretch themselves. The truth is that the industry is growing fast and going in the right direction.
Challenges so far as director and film maker?
For me, the entire country challenges you in everything to be honest. It is a relatively new industry, people are still distrustful, you can’t go to a bank and get a loan to shoot your film, and you can’t really blame them because it’s a developmental issue. We only have few cinemas in the country so you can’t justify wanting to spend a certain amount on making a film when you don’t even have enough cinemas to show the film to make the money back. So we’re restricted in making films within a certain price range, because of the environment we operate in.
Before becoming a producer have you been involved in any movies?
Not directly, movie making as a career never really crossed my mind until it literally dropped on my laps when I went for a training for graphic design in New York, and they said the class was full and they asked me to do film making that it has a producing module as well, and by the time I attended some of the classes, the story changed. I wrote a script for the first time, produced and directed it and it was good.
I actually studied architecture, there’s a saying that an architect can do anything. I started with graphic design, architecture wasn’t as fulfilling, so I started dabbling into branding and other things, so when I moved back to Nigeria, after my masters, I got a job in a branding firm and I really enjoyed that for a bit. Then again, I started getting restless, then they took up a project, they were trying to produce a children’s educational program, that’s literally my first introduction into producing. I was assisting the studio producer, later I went to film school.
Who is your ideal director/producer in the industry now?
Honestly, I try not to mention names because it might become problematic.
What advice would you give to other up and coming producers/directors?
My advice to them is just do it and you will always find an audience, no matter how small, you may not blow in your first project, allow yourself to make those mistakes and ensure you learn from them.