BY ROTIMI AGBANA
Biodun Stephen is a name not known because she has elected to stay behind the scenes. She is the brain behind many well-crafted movies including ‘The Ghost and the Tout’, Picture Perfect, The Visit, Ovy’s Voice, Tiwa’s Baggage, Glimpse, All Shade of Wrong, Sobi’s Mystic, Ehi’s Bitters, Last Days, Seven and Half Days, Tough Love, and her yet to be released movie, Joba.
In a recent chat with Potpourri, the amiable filmmaker chronicles her journey into the world of filmmaking and how she sacrificed her childhood dream of becoming an actress for filmmaking.
“I’m a writer, producer, director and sometimes I want to be an actor because my original dream since I was a teenager was to act but life directions didn’t really take that course. I studied Philosophy in OAU and when I graduated I went into radio. I was on Star FM for a while as a newscaster. I then moved to MITV to be a TV presenter and then I went on to Insight Communication Agency to be a copy writer and afterwards went back to radio, Rainbow FM for about 4-years.
I handled the morning belt then on a show called ‘Whispers’. It was in-between that time I said to myself that enough of going to and fro. I had to figure what I really wanted to do and it was always film. I realized that I was initially trying to convince my husband that I was just going to be a film maker that was the issue.
But eventually he came around and decided to send me to film school. I attended the London film academy a year later and did film production and screen writing. So when I got back in Nigeria, I decided to do a small film called ‘The Visit’ which was more or less a practical of what I had learnt in the film school”, she noted.
She added that her husband, who initially kicked against her dream career, is now comfortable with her new found passion, filmmaking.
“My husband is a young man and very conservative and he had one worry which is quite valid. The trend of people getting married and breaking up was his worry. And also the African perspective to how people will be ‘touching his wife’ and all that but by the time we crossed that bridge, there were lots of rules like ‘ don’t let them hug you’ and the likes.
He’s comfortable now that I am the producer and so I’ll know how to write it to soothe our conditions; and by the time he even agreed the flair was gone. So it was more of me just wanting to be a film maker and I found peace.”
Abiodun who is set to release her latest film, Joba, come April 5, asserted that filmmaking is not as lucrative as it seems.
“You can count on two hands the films I’ve made. That is to tell you that it is not as lucrative as it seems. What makes it lucrative is also spending a lot of money on making the film, promoting the film and making sure everyone hears about it. So, small screen film makers like me (because there are some filmmakers that only come out to make films for cinema) bank on the numbers. As long as you keep working, you’ll be able to balance out.
But if you’ll be going to the cinemas, you’ll need money to go in the first place and you’ll also need to wait a long time to be paid and to be licensed. It’s not a return that comes at once, it spreads over time”, she said.