With KAP Hub, filmmaker Kunle Afolayan soars
One art that notable filmmaker Kunle Afolayan seem to have mastered in his career that has spanned over two decades, is the art of consistently raising his game and remaining relevant as a filmmaker.
From a career that started with acting and then to directing and producing, Afolayan’s rich sense of enterprise and adventure has shot him into the class of the very few enterprising practitioners in the continent, who have moved beyond their initial career interest to a new apex.
The new apex of Afolayan’s career is ownership of a production hub— Kunle Afolayan Productions Hub or KAP Hub for short, which the multi-award winning filmmaker described as “a new cultural centre where lots of creative ideas will be happening.”
Afolayan, who has led his Golden Effects Pictures to produce critically acclaimed movies such as Irapada, Figurine, Phone Swap and October 1, explained that he had always had the ambition of establishing a one stop hub for production of movies from script to screen, adding that KAP Hub, which is a subsidiary of Golden Effect Pictures, is a fulfillment of that ambition.
“Those, who have followed me since the establishment of Golden Effect Pictures in 2005, know that I have always expressed the desire to own a one stop shop for content production. But because I had to start from somewhere, we started with production of films, documentaries, television commercials, music videos; we even branched to film equipment rentals and film consultations. But having worked in and studied our production environment, I decided it as time to expand and go into other demanding areas of the film industry, hence KAP Hub, which will house four other subsidiaries- KAP Film & Television
Academy, KAP Television, KAP Cinemas and KAP Motion pictures. There will also be a restaurant and bar, live band, art and craft shops and a creative minds hangout,” he explained.
Hailed as one of Africa’s most enterprising filmmakers and one of the most recognisable faces in the Nigerian motion picture space, industry observers have not only hailed his decision to establish the hub, but they are particularly excited at the prospects of the KAP film academy.
Afolayan, however, assures that it will go beyond tutorials to provide hands-on training to aspiring filmmakers.
“The academy is specially designed to provide hands-on experience from great film professionals with in-depth industry experience. We shall get our students to be on the set of different movies so that they can match theory with practice.”
Son of the legendary filmmaker and theatre icon Chief Adeyemi Afolayan, the younger Afolayan’s interest and exposure to the movie and acting started very early in his life. Afolayan recalled with nostalgia the kind of excitement that runs through him each time artiste converged to start work on his father’s movie production.
He also mentioned that his interest in the movie was ignited as a child when he accompanied his father on screening tours of some of his father’s successful movies such as Taxi Driver in major towns and villages.
But Afolayan’s real interest in acting as he revealed was further ignited when he was exposed to the spectacular showing by Tope Idowu, the fellow, who played the lead in Tade Ogidan’s award winning movie Hostages.
“It was Hostages that sparked off my interest,” began Kunle adding, “that was the production that did it. Immediately I saw what Tope Idowu did in Hostages, I told myself that I could do better. I even said that I could cry better than him given the opportunity.”
Convinced that he could pull such a stunt, Kunle heeled up to Tade Ogidan, boss of OGD Pictures and mentioned the fact that he was interested in becoming and actor and filmmaker.
“I actually went to see Tade Ogidan. When I told him I was interested in acting, he said I should put my name down and my address. I did but he didn’t get back to me.”
Indeed, months passed and no words from the boss of OGD Pictures. Kunle felt he should try other people. Next was Tunde Kelani, who worked on some of his father’s filmic offerings. Kunle recalled that TK, as Kelani is roundly called, laughed out loud when he mentioned that he wanted to produce a movie.
“TK advised that I start with acting because of my background. And to encourage me, he invited me for an audition when he wanted to do Saworoide and after the audition, I got the role of Arese jabata, the young prince.”
With Saworoide, Kunle steadily and steeply climbed to become a recognisable acting spirit. He later confirmed his status with an appearance in the sequel Agogo Eewo and in other critically acclaimed works like Dark Days featuring Zack Orji. Kunle was also a major part of For The Love Of You, one of the episodes of the popular Super Story series on Television.
But to soar as an actor and filmmaker, Kunle a graduate of the New York Film Academy (NYFA), had to quit his job at City Express Bank. He said he found it difficult to combine acting and his job as a banker. And since he took that decision, Afolayan has not looked back. He has continued to break new grounds and record appreciable impact in the business of filmmaking.
With the production hub in place now and plans to make films and train filmmakers firmly sealed, Afolayan said, “with the loan we secured, we have managed to secure a property and have completed the first phase of the project. We would soon kick off the KAP film and television academy albeit virtually with a certificate programme to be facilitated by some industry experts. Next will be KAP Cinema, which will sit 100 to 120 guests and there will be space to handle projects from script to screen,” he hinted, adding that he is still keeping the door of the parent company open to future possibilities.