Mentoring People Is A Mission For Me — Filmmaker
Not deterred by the fact that his multimillion Naira City of Talents Studio was razed to the ground by fire, Oreofe Williams is still determined to mentor youths and anyone that wants to improve on his or her filmmaking skills.
Last week, the youth mentor and President, Oreofe Films, premiered a movie titled, Not Yet A Full Stop, produced in partnership with the 200 level students of the Mass Communication Department of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye, Ogun State.
Aside from featuring students from the department, he created space for the school’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu O. Olatunde, lecturers and other senior staff of the institution to take part in the movie, playing key roles, as a way of encouraging the young ones to be focused and achieve their dreams.
He said: “We allowed the school officers to be part of the film project to show the student that anybody could be an actor and also to motivate them to put in their best in anything they are doing. Imagine a situation where you are on the same stage with your VC and other senior lecturers; it will surely boost your morale to do more.”
According to Williams, who doubles as the scriptwriter and director, the movie talks to a wide range of people, including undergraduates, students who are not studying their choice courses, and those who have lost hope of making it in life.He disclosed that the movie sheds light on how students could come out with good grades and achieve their personal dreams.
“Not Yet A Full Stop has a message for all — parents, guardians, students and those struggling to gain admission into tertiary institution. It is filled with nuggets that could spur anyone to success. It goes beyond entertaining to talking about a better Nigeria and advising people on how to make the country a better place,” he noted.
Premiered on January 27, as part of OOU convocation programme, Williams disclosed that he looks forward to taking the movie to tertiary institutions across the country, adding that issues raised in it exist in all institutions and among many people.
The filmmaker disclosed his outfit, City of Talents Studio, produces, two categories of movies — faith-based and social films. According to him, the faith-based films talk about the church, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, spiritual empowerment and evangelism, while the social films critique events in the society and could come in form of satire or other forms.
Explaining that Not Yet A Full Stop is a social movie, Williams disclosed that the movie talks about education, despite throwing light on other issues. “Nigeria will rise again. We should never lose hope in the country because the current crisis is toughening as a nation. The only we need is to be focused in the Lord and shun all forms of behaviours that would set us backwards as a nation,” he said.
While calling on youths to leverage on social media for their own good, Williams noted that the platforms are providing spaces for people to express themselves, saying no matter where an event held, once it is there, the whole world will know. This, he noted, is affecting the way we do things, and also putting some fears in some people to behave themselves in public.Observing the other drawbacks of social media, he said some people use it to negatively impact on others, especially the youth.
The filmmaker called on young people to be mindful of who they choose as their role models, adding that a situation where some youth say they are ‘Marlians’ and put up all forms of deviant behaviours should not be encouraged.“Do they not know that the singer and songwriter, Azeez Fashola, known as Naira Marley and the followers referred to as ‘Marlians’ has a master’s degree? And yet, they are there saying Marlians do not graduate or wear undies, including belt.
“However, I do not think Azeez Fashola forced the youths to follow his ways, but one thing I am sure of, is once you become a celebrity, have some levels of influence, some youths, especially the gullible ones will begin to follow your footstep. I know we still have some of our youths that have not lost their reasoning and I was not surprised when one of my mentees described ‘Marlians’ as a collage of unserious youths. Some youths know the truth, but are only looking for someone to lead them; someone they could up to as a model,” he said.
On his need to mentor youths, the filmmakers said it is a passion, he is not in a hurry to give up. “Give up mentoring? No!” It is too late for me to go back because I am living my passion. I cannot stand any young person going astray and I did not just start it now. It began right from my childhood, when I was living with my grandmother.
“Even while in secondary school, I was mentoring my mates, teaching them and even writing plays for them to act and when I got to the university, the story remained the same. I have mentored people that are today, medical doctors, lawyers, among other professions. To me, mentorship is a calling, a mission and a passion and each time I see my mentees doing well I fell elevated,” he said.
According to Williams, he needs fund to carry out his passion, and act his movies and send some of indigent mentees to school.He said, “it is better to build empires in the hearts of men than in building private estate, because the empires built in the heart of men last forever, while the private empires perish in no time.
“The empire you build in the hearts of men will make people to talk about you years after the builder is gone; we are still talking about Martin Luther King (Jnr), Abraham Lincoln, M.K.O. Abiola, among others, because of their good deeds to the people.
Speaking on some of the challenges facing the movie industry in Nigeria, Williams noted that some actors want to build a skyscraper on the foundation of a bungalow, saying training is key. He called on directors, actors, as well as others involved in the interpreting of roles to go for regular training and retraining.
“Some people want to be directors, costumiers and others overnight without knowing they have to make out time to learn; undergo apprenticeship and grow in the profession. We have seen them. They want to turn into manager’s overnight. They have forgotten that most of them they see on top are people who have paid their dues and made sacrifices.”