Belinda Effah: Shinning screen star dreams large, joins elite producers’ club
She was named Best Promising Actress at the 2013 edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for her role in the urban telling Kokomma.
Slim built, tall and pretty, Belinda Effah shared the award with Joseph Kairumu from Kenya, who was voted Best Promising Actor for his effort in the well-helmed movie, Nairobi Half Life. That award only confirmed that the indigene of Cross River State had a place amongst continental stars.
Notable for her role in the television soap, Tales of Eve, and her impressive performance in movies, such as Kokomma and Udeme Mmi, the old girl of Navy Secondary School, Port Harcourt, and graduate of Genetics and Bio-Technology from the University of Calabar has since her emergence as an actress not left anyone in doubt about her mission, which is that she has her eyes on the summit.
She has also left no one in doubt that she is focused on playing a big game as she runs along.
Today, Belinda has joined the league of Nigerian actresses who have gone on to produce their own films, with her recent announcement that she was on set as producer and actress for a faith-based movie, Miracle.
The actress-turned producer hinted that the movie is about the travails of a young Christian girl, Miracle, as she tries to navigate the vagaries of life on campus. It stars other well-known names, such as Beverly Naya, Shawn Faqua, Eniola Badmus, Biola Segun-Williams, Emeka Rollas and Musa Ibro.
Directed by Pascal Amanfo and scheduled for release in cinemas across the country in the first quarter of next year, the amiable actress explained that she was motivated to produce the movie because she wants the film to be one of self-actualisation and empowerment.
She added that it took her five years for it to come to fruition, saying: “We are also partnering with a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Project Alert, and the idea is to empower and give back proceeds to charity. It is my own way of giving back and contributing to a better society.”
Described by close friends as focused, confident, savvy, hardworking and generous, Belinda made her first television debut in 2005 on the television series, Shallow Waters.
The recipient of the Best of Nollywood Awards (BON) for Most Promising Act and Nollywood Movie Awards for Best Rising Stars said she had watched a couple of television series and done some acting in early school, which prepared her for a career in acting.
She also hinted that her parents never resisted her career choice because all they were interested in was for her and her siblings to get properly educated, at least up to university level, noting: “Once you didn’t drop out of school for anything, it was okay by them.”
So, from that stint on Shallow Waters, the former Sound City television presenter moved on to feature in the now rested Next Movie Star television reality show.
She finished fifth on the reality show, returned to the turf, started her own television show, which she called Lunch Break With Belinda and also found time to honour casting calls, including featuring in the short film by M-Net, The Room.
Founder of the Belinda Advocate Against Rape, a movement she said she was motivated to set up after playing the role of victim of rape in Tale of Eve and in Kokomma, Belinda keeps a large creative pouch that has been taking in movie credits.
In that pouch are such acclaimed works, as Apaye, After The Proposal, Misplaced, Princess Ekanem, Lost Pride, Alan Poza, Black Val, Folly, The Hunters and Ojuju Calabar.
“I have been on and off, but I have done quite a number. And of course, you know it is not about the number, but the impact the ones you have done have made, and I think they have been impactful,” she explained.
On her favourite movie appearances yet, Belinda considers all the movies she has done as her favourite, explaining: “If I don’t like a script, I don’t accept it and once I accept to play in it, it means I like it and so I will consider every new one I have done as my favourite.
“But if you insist on my mentioning memorable titles, I will say Tales of Eve by Genesis Studios and Kokomma. A lot of people still talk about the role I played in Tales of Eve, and of course, Kokomma, got me nomination for the 2013 AMAA. I got the award for the Best Promising Actress and a lot of things started to fall in place, because people started calling me for jobs. It simply showed that hard work pays.”
Apart from acting, the recipient of the Golden Icon Movie Awards, who is always lavish with thanks to dependable producer and director, Emem Isong-Misodi, and scriptwriter and producer, Uduak Isong-Oguamanam, for giving her the opportunity to star in their films, Kokomma and Udeme Mmi, platforms on which she rode on to become noticeable, own a food business in the Lekki area of Lagos.
“We source for the best of Calabar ingredients, such as crayfish, palm oil, dried fish, Afang, etc. We package well and distribute to supermarkets around the country,” she said.
Star of SA Girl, which was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, also starring Daniel Lloyd and Jason Maydew, Belinda’s career ambition is to keep on doing what she loves most- acting and producing films.
“I love what I am doing so much because it has changed me into what I am today. I just want to keep on acting and making films that tell different stories.
“I want to be associated with works that are impactful. I want to do something for our society. That is my satisfaction. I want to make an impact,” she surmised.