‘I believe in teamwork, it promotes professionalism’
Rogers Ofime is the Creative Director and owner of Native Media, producers of television series, The Johnsons, Hotel Majestic, Zone 222 and the recently concluded telenovela, Hush. With over 15 years experience, which cuts across production management, line producing, content development, directing and producing, Ofime has carved a niche for himself in the Nollywood industry. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he shares his passion for creation and upcoming projects.
Tell us about the just concluded telenovela, Hush?
It’s a 260-episode telenovela commissioned by Mnet and produced by Native Media Limited. The story was driven by man’s desire for power mixed with the fight to love and be loved and of course the distractions of lust. It aired on African magic showcase and its commissioning came after the success of Hotel Majestic. Hush mirrors the mysteries of politics and the secrets that lie behind the scenes of most of the things that happen in the realm of power; nothing really is as it seems.
Having brought big players in the industry including RMD, Olu Jacobs, what was it like organizing the cast and crew?
It was definitely not an easy task, we wanted to produce a good show and you can’t do that without getting great actors who can deliver top-notch acting. We also just didn’t want to slam the screen with known faces alone so we decided to mix it with new actors who have proven themselves as good enough. We brought in one of Ghana’s best to make the list of the actors, Mawuli Gavor so it’s a blend of the best from Nigeria and Ghana. The casting actually started with an audition in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, it was indeed a difficult process but I am glad we were able to gather the best to do this job. Your transnational movie, ‘Oloibiri’ was mentioned among the three overall best movies with high nominations at the just concluded
AMVCAs, would you consider this a peak in your career? What informed the movie?
We thank God for the success of Oloibiri and we are glad that the effort put into the movie was rewarded with overwhelming acceptance at the cinemas. Oloibiri had 13 nominations at the AMVCA and we won best movie in West Africa, best makeup and best picture editor. Oloibiri is definitely just a starting point; we have not even done half of what we have capacity to do. I believe we have the capacity to win the Oscars and make history. We know we can and we sure will get there. We used Oloibiri to tell the story of the neglected goose that laid the golden egg; it’s a film that turned the eyes of the world to the plight of the people of the Niger Delta and how the hardship led to the youth picking up arms to demand answers. We did our best and we see that the federal government is beginning to listen to the yearnings of the people of this region.
What projects are you working on?
We have embarked on laudable projects this year; our project Zone 222 is in its third season and its really doing well on local channels (AIT and BCOS). We have also acquired the rights to screenplay one of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s books, which will hit the screen very soon. Oloibiri is on a tour in the United States and so far it’s filled with lots of great reviews. We have also delved into magazine shows called Made in Africa, this show was created to celebrate innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa. We also have from our stable an Hausa Magazine show titled ‘Tauraurin Zamani’ a show that was created to celebrate the people, pride and place in the North, we are producing this with Uzee Multi- concepts in Abuja. We also just arrived from an audition tour for MakeRoom, it’s a Hausa film we are excited about. Audition was held in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Jos. There is a lot we are working on and we want to work on, the world will surely know when they are ready.
As a big player in the industry, how would you access its growth?
I am really not a big player, I always believe that the star in a team is the team so the team you surround yourself with should always be seen as the big players. Our industry has really grown; I judge the growth of our industry through the crew who show great professionalism. We can boast of talents in several areas of the film industry such that our products can now be globally acceptable because they meet the globally acceptable standards of filmmaking. I also judge the growth of our industry through the many young actors who show convincing performances. If you watch a movie today, you will see believability in performance.
Tell us about the awards?
This year has been really good. The awards have been pouring in. we just recently won the best west African movie in AMVCA, we also won the best sitcom with our popular home series ‘The Johnsons’, we also won the best actor in drama with Hotel Majestic and also best actress in drama with Hush. Internationally Oloibiri has won several awards – Best Film NAFCA in Los Angeles, Best Screen play NAFCA Los Angeles, Best Foreign Film Santiago film festival, Best Film in water category, Green me global festival and Best feature film Home Vida award.
As an executive producer, director, creative producer and content provider, how do you fit into all these caps?
I see myself as a Creative Producer and so I tend to function in several capacities but I am just a producer. Directing for me is minor even though I majored in it in the university. I enjoy producing because it gives me great joy to pick up a project from the scratch and ensure its smooth execution. As a producer, I function better and work with other crew designation to ensure their visions are aligned with the overall vision of the entire project. All these caps are just one cap for me and it’s the cap of the creative producer.
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