Multi-talented Opeyemi Omobolanle Olakanmi is a scriptwriter, location manager, actor and a film producer. She is the founder of Mightypen Production, a production company that produces films and web series in Nigeria. It is also a company that gives chances to young writers, actors, producers, cinematographers etc to showcase their talents.
A Polytechnic of Ibadan-trained computer scientist, Opeyemi is one of the young vibrant filmmakers in Nigeria. She made the bold decision to quit her banking job for the movie industry, and she has been making an impact since then.The graduate of cinematography at Iris Film Academy, Ibadan, was a location manager for Last Request (Netflix), The Cleaner (a cinema project), and Okoto Series, a web series. She also screenplay, Omo Ina, a Yoruba film produced by Debbie Shokoya, Philander, produced by Tope Tosavi and many more.
She produced her first movie, IRORA (ABUSE) in 2019. A Yoruba film that highlighted the pain and bad sides of domestic violence and campaigned against gender inequality.
Her latest film is Mirror, a short film produced in 2022 and which is currently showing on Mightypen TV on YouTube. She is currently working on her first web series, MECHO. A production that highlights the joy and struggles of artisans in a mechanic village.
Opeyemi got nominated for best scriptwriter in 2021 (Yoruba movie gist award). She also joined the Global Tshirt factory in April 2022 as their brand ambassador. She shares her story in this interview.
Tell us about your production company?
Mightypen Entertainment is a film production company based in Nigeria and it was registered under Corporate Affair Commission (CAC) in 2018. It is a production company that supports and allows young filmmakers in the country to showcase their talents and thrive.
What we do is to help you handle your production processes. We’re with you through every step of your film production process, from drafting initial concepts and treatments to wrap and beyond.
What motivated you to pitch your tent in the movie industry?
For me, it has always been a dream. I’ve loved films since I was a child. I got into the film industry because of my passion and dream to be a filmmaker.
Being behind the scenes and being a part of that magic – even in the smallest of ways is an amazing feeling.
You quit your banking job for the movie industry, what informed your decision?
I was actually fulfilled as a banker and I quit my job for filmmaking because of my love and passion for that industry. It is just me accomplishing a milestone and going into another one.
Tell us about your first experience as a movie producer?
It was a lovely experience but not an easy one because I combined acting with producing and it was on that set I discovered that I am more of a producer than an actor.
Though I have cold feet, it was a sweet memory and I have no regret embarking on that journey. Being a film producer will test your patience and determination but the love of it will keep you going.
Your latest work, Mirror, is gradually gaining momentum, what inspired you to write it?
I have heard a lot of things about child molestation and I have seen some. And as a single mother who is always busy at work and who is not always with her daughter, I have fears.
So I put my fears into writing and then visualized it as a filmmaker. That was how I came up with the film, Mirror. I did this to mirror the society and also to preach against child molestation and to give hope to the victims of child abuse.
“Women supporting women,” do you believe in this statement? Are there women who have supported you in the entertainment industry and vice versa?
Yes. I so much believe in this statement. Women are the kindest people on earth. We support and uplift ourselves. It is something that is happening in all corners of the world.
I myself have been a benefit of this and I have also been a blessing to women and young girls around me.
When I started in 2017, I met a young lady. She relocated from Akure to Ibadan to start a career in the movie industry. I sheltered her, fed her and tried to help her start a career in the movie industry. I made her my PA because back then, I was more of a writer and location manager.
Anytime I am scouting for locations, I invite her. I made her see what and what she can do in the industry to succeed and make money. To the glory of God, she is one of the popular location managers in Ibadan today. I have directed some jobs to her and she has done perfectly well.
Apart from her, I have also bought a make up kit for a young lady who is now a makeup artist in the industry. God has actually used me to mentor young girls in the industry and I am grateful for that.
I have also been blessed by fellow women. I met a woman who has been a source of blessing to me. She has greatly supported me and my career as a movie producer. Her name is Olamide Ogidan Oduseye. I will always appreciate this great woman. God has practically used her to rewrite my story.
It is very hard for you to see someone to give you money for film production without expecting anything in return. This woman did that. She gave me a huge amount of money without wanting anything in return. And also, my friend, Omotara Adeshina, she is always encouraging me and supporting my work. She is indeed a great friend.
I have also benefited from other women as well in one way or the other. So I believe in the statement and I am also an advocate of “Women supporting women.”
One thing you wish to change in the movie industry?
What I wish to change especially in the Yoruba movie industry is to stop this idea of a producer also being the lead cast in his or her film. It is getting tiring and boring now. Once people see a Yoruba film, they already know that the lead character is a producer.
My argument is that you don’t need to appear in your film as a producer. If your film is good, people will know you. And if you are an actor producer, you can take a minor role because combining producing with acting is not easy and this can make you lose focus and not concentrate on the job. And this may affect the quality of the work.
What are some of the challenges you encounter as a movie producer?
The only challenge I encountered as a movie producer is lack of financial support. I remember submitting my script from one marketer to another marketer, they will read the story and tell you that the genre won’t work.
People and organisations are not ready to support you if you are not known in the industry. So this is a major challenge for almost every film producer.
Final word for young women who want to go into the movie industry?
For the young women who want to join the industry, I will advise them to have a side hustle. Having a side hustle is very important and this will put money in your pocket because it is not that easy to make money in the movie industry.
If you are coming into the industry as a full-time filmmaker it means you’re coming with a lot of money. I understand that the industry is lucrative and it has a lot of financial benefits, but you won’t get all the money you are expecting in a year. So the best thing is to have a financial support system.
And lastly, be humble and be respectful. This will take you far and open a lot of doors for you. It is very important that you must know this.