Ignite Africa Library, an Ikeja-based library on Saturday hosted Niran Adedokun, author of “Ladies Calling The Shots”, a book on female Nollywood directors.
The book highlights the impact that good directing brings into the production of films and the need to celebrate the women involved in the production process.
Two of the directors profiled in the book, Pat Oghre-Imobhio, director of Hotel Majestic, and Grace Edwin-Okon, director of Little Drops of Happy, were also at the reading.
Speaking during the reading, Adedokun said his quest to know who directed a good film birthed the idea of writing the book.
He said people have little or no knowledge about the directors whose stamp defines the role of every crew and cast member, and ultimately, mark out the film.
“Anytime I see a good movie, I always want to know who directed it, because I know that no matter how good you are as an actor, a costumier, and others, the concept of a director is what brings out what you see at the end of the day,” he said.
“People don’t really talk about the directors but the actors. So I began to research, got a list of about 20 female directors at the outset and it was at this point I realised it was significant to write about them; what they are doing.
“Along the line I also realised from speaking to them, inspiring stories, that each of their lives had something that I felt anyone who reads the book will have something to learn from. It is a motivational piece and they are people to be celebrated.”
Oghre-Imobhio expressed excitement over the growing number of female directors in the industry, saying it is an indication of the confidence in women.
She said her ability to prove how competent she is at her work has gained her the needed respect. She added that she never allows being a woman come in the way of the effective management of productions.
“Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to Mr Adedokun because we really are unsung. Directing takes a lot of work,” she said.
“Once my name is on a job, I know I need to deliver a quality job and the audience response have to be complimentary for me to know what I’ve done. You need to develop yourself, your craft. If it is as easy as watching movies or get a script to study so that on set you make the job easier.
“The challenges of the industry is funding. Budgeting is one of the greatest challenges we have. Movies spend a lot on production, another chunk goes into publicity to reach the audience.
“Some of the people you work with think you don’t know what you do and that they know more than you. It is a challenge; you need to prove yourself.
“You have to be determined that this is what you want to do and achieve. Take your work seriously and be determined because there will be lots of challenges from funding to managing crew and casts.”
On her part, Edwin-Okon, who started as an actor before delving into the world of directors, said she went through the tutelage of filmmaking from veterans like Zeb Ejiro and Jimi Odumosu.
She said the average female filmmaker in Nigeria suffers from lack of confidence from financiers who would rather put their stake on men, but things are changing because there a lot of female directors doing great work.
“Directing has been an interesting journey,” she said.
“After coming into the industry I don’t think there will be anything else I’d be doing. The world of film making is make-believe and as a film maker, you are like a demi-god who put all kinds of elements together and create your own universe. However the journey has not been easy. You need to carve a niche for yourself, prove your worth to the people you’re working with.
“As a film maker, the risk factors are much; you’re dealing with people’s ego, you’re dealing with finances, location issues. Apart from working with some actors that have ego trips, we are limited by resources in most cases and you have to work according to what is available to you.
“To be successful, focus on your goals and don’t allow distractions. Study, continue to learn and work hard.”
Below are photos from the reading session: