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No, Not Lancelot, Dickson Or Omoefe…Fred Amata Is DGN President


Fred-AmataHe had made three previous attempts at becoming president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), the association for screen directors in the Nollywood industry, but he was only lucky this fourth time. Fred Amata is the new president of the DGN.

The handsome and debonair motion picture practitioner was declared winner of the DGN presidential election held last Saturday in Asaba, Delta State capital. Fred polled 48 votes to defeat fellow contenders- Kingsley Omoefe, Dickson Ireogbu and Lancelot Imasuen. He succeeds the dependable Nollywood director, Andy Amenechi, who has served out his two-term tenure.

There was wild jubilation as soon as the result of the poll was declared by the Fidelis Duker-led National Electoral Committee.
Excited members of the DGN carried Amata shoulder high and took him round the venue, as footballers would do to their head coach after a successful match.

“This is God’s time and His time is the best,” Fred said in response to a question on how he felt about his victory.
Recalling his previous attempts at the polls, he added: “For a long time, I have been concerned about how we can go international and how we can maintain international standard.”

“I have always believed that we have to do things right. I hold strongly that we need to strengthen and re-position the DGN in such a way that whether it is international influx of works or liaison with government, the environment that is most conducive for practice has to be put in place.”

“I am interested in effective regulation and standardisation. I am interested in seeking recognition for DGN, locally and internationally, and to position it as the most influential guild in the industry, with strong local and international affiliations.”

“With this mandate from members, we will make the guild very attractive to the practitioners. We will build a database of members and be more concerned about their training, re-training and welfare.”

Clearly one of the most popular faces in the Nigerian movie culture, dubbed Nollywood, Amata’s foray into show business over three decade ago has been a fulfillment of a dream-that of becoming a prolific filmmaker, like his father, the late John Ifoghale Amata.

An intense, versatile and consummate actor, Fred enjoys a comfortable listing among the very few professionals who have consistently been winning the hearts of movie-goers with grace and charm.

Indeed, this trained theatre artiste, who is red hot on screen and stage, is regarded as a core professional and one of the very few practitioners gifted in so many ways.

Widely believed to be an avid crusader for professionalism and also acknowledged as an outstanding actor and a reliable director, his involvement in show business was not accidental.

His was not only a natural pull, but the native of Isoko in Delta State was bound to the arts from birth. This perhaps explains his deep involvement in showbiz.

The fourth of six surviving children, the others being Zack, Ifo, Mena, Ruke and Elohor, this actor and director of immense credit, who has directed or had been a part of the production of over 500 stage and movie productions, said he knew from Nursery One that he was going to toe the line of his father and elder brother, Zack.

While his peers were busy admiring Hollywood actors, Fred feasted on his father, who he described as “a fantastic actor,” who had at that time produced Freedom, which turned out to be the very first celluloid film Fred saw on a big screen.

It was from there that the interest started and grew. And not only did he later join in, he trained formally as a theatre artiste at the University of Jos and today, he declares unreservedly that he has no regrets towing the line.

Though gifted in more than one way, Fred, a recipient of a number of industry awards, including the best actor award for his role in the emotive movie, Mortal Inheritance, said he is first a director, adding that it would, however, not be out of place to describe him as an actor and director.

He revealed that his first real test as a director was on the set of Zeb Ejiro’s long rested soap on television, Ripples. It was Fred’s special interest in directing that got ‘the movie sheik,’ as Ejiro is roundly called, to approach him to be the soap’s associate producer and director.

And so for three years, Fred got fully involved in the production of the popular soap and contributed in making it a must-watch.
At a point in his career, Fred took up a new brief- as Personal Assistant (PA) to the Managing Director of a multi-national firm in Lagos. He tried out that new brief for two years, but just couldn’t cope.

He finally quit the job and returned to showbiz and in no time, he became the most sought after motion picture practitioner. Not only did he provide some production support services, but also functioned, too, as creative director on movies like Onome, Day Break, Silent Night, Letters to a Stranger, Freedom in Chains and a dozen others.

Said to be a mood dresser, Fred, who plays football when he has time to, described his involvement in moviedom as rewarding and fulfilling.

He said: “I think I am fulfilled, to the extent I would say that I find this very rewarding. The only problem is that I think I am grossly misunderstood.”

“I have heard people say I am not serious and I laugh. Now, check my playfulness and compare it to my work and tell me which playful man will achieve that?”

“I am one person who is greatly misunderstood. But I don’t care. It is what my Creator thinks about me that I should be concerned about. So, it has been gratifying to a great extent.”

“I will also say it has been rewarding. But what has crowned it all for me is the mandate I have gotten from my fellow directors to lead them into the next level. There is nothing more fulfilling as leading one’s professional association.”
“I thank members of DGN for the confidence reposed in my ability to lead them and I promise not to disappoint.”

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