Budding filmmaker, actress and screenwriter, Uyoyou Adia, ended 2018 on a high note with three awards for her short film, ‘Lost’. The Microbiology graduate from the Osun State University, Osogbo, speaks with OLAITAN GANIU on her mission in the industry among other sundry issues.
For how long have you been a filmmaker?
Actually, it’s been a year now. I came into the industry fully in October 2017. I had done a couple of acting gigs in 2013 or thereabout, but I decided to take a break because of school, so I came back fully in October 2017.
Are you done with school now?
Yes, I’m through with school. I studied Microbiology.
How would you say 2018 treated you?
It was a surprising year. Where I am right now, I didn’t think I would be here within a year. It’s been full of speed and it’s been a fast learning process for me.
Within that year, how many movies did you act in?
I acted just two movies. One of them is my short film, ‘Lost’ which I directed. I also featured in a feature film but I’m not allowed to disclose the name just yet since it’s not out. That is left for the producers. I also produced a short movie, ‘Roots’.
Between producing and acting, which is your first love?
Producing is not even on the list as it is. If I have to choose, it would be between directing, writing or acting. Writing was the first love, but I think it is changing now. I think directing has taken over.
Do you see yourself dumping the others and settling solely for directing?
I don’t think so, but I feel like acting is going to suffer a lot because I’ll probably dedicate my time more to directing and writing.
How would you describe your first year in the movie industry?
Like I said, it’s been a year of speed. It’s been an eye-opening year for me. I’ve quickly learnt how and when to do the things I want to do. I’ve learnt how to do almost everything in the filmmaking business. In the space of one year, I’ve had a couple of acting jobs, writing gigs and all that.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt so far is to be humble.
So before now, you were arrogant?
To be very honest, entering into the industry, I used to hear a lot of existing filmmakers, the people we look up to, tell their stories from the past. They always used to say how someone gave them a chance, or someone took a chance on them. So, I always used to ask, if someone gave them a chance, why don’t they take a chance on us young filmmakers? But then I got to look past that. The fact that they are not giving me a chance does not mean they are not giving someone else a chance. So I quit being entitled to their help and just worked myself up. It’s not like I was proud, but then, I wasn’t humble enough to accept that I was not good enough. So right now, that was my biggest lesson learnt this past year.
Your short film won three awards…
Like people always say, it is a family film. They call it the Adia family film because is stars my brother, myself and my mom. I shot it on my phone and it was a project that I gave birth to because of the African International Short Film Festival where I won the award. I did that project because of the festival in particular. I was on a project that went into the festival in 2017 and I challenged myself to shoot a film with a phone for that festival. The story came about when I realised that most of the films that touch on depression or mental health issues almost always address the female gender. It felt like the male gender does not go through it. It felt like they were not depressed, it felt like they were the strong ones, it felt like nothing gets to them. So I wanted to tell a different side of the story by letting people know that it can happen to anybody. Nobody is safe. Sometimes, no matter how strong the male gender wants to pose to be, they are not always that strong.
Is the story borne out of a personal experience?
No actually. Sometimes I write stories based on what is happening around me at the time, what the society is going through at the time. As at the time I wrote that script, there was a lot of discourse about depression going on. So I got my inspiration from all that.
Have you ever gone through depression?
I have. In my secondary school, I didn’t finish when my mates finished. I had to come back to school for an extra year, and that really kept me down. But the thing is, I don’t like being pitied. No matter how depressed I am or how down I feel, I like to look at the people around me and know the friends that can help lift my spirit. I never let it get that far that I start having suicidal thoughts. I’ve only had suicidal thoughts once in my life, and that was during my Pre-degree days. Because I was delayed in secondary school and the following year, I managed to pass, I went for my pre-degree in UNAAB, Now FUNAAB, Abeokuta, I didn’t pass that as well and I knew my dad was going to be really furious at me and I didn’t want to go back home. At that point I considered suicide. I had to call my mom and explain to her. After that, I have never contemplated suicide.
You always had it in mind to act, why did you study Microbiology?
I didn’t know I wanted to act. Acting came at a later time for me. I wanted to be a footballer. My dad wanted that for me also but things didn’t work out as planned. Acting came at a time when a friend of mine wanted to tell a story and he didn’t have people to act for him. He asked me if I was interested and I said yes. From that moment, I knew this was it. I’ve always wanted to be in the entertainment industry but I didn’t know where exactly I would fit. So when he asked if I would go into acting, I said yes. I did it and I told myself this is the industry I want to be in.
Do you still play football?
For fun, yes.
Three awards in one night. How did that make you feel?
As you can believe, I was over the moon, like I didn’t know what to feel. Like I said, I made that film specifically for that festival and for them to select my film first of all, I was very grateful. I was always questioning the film if it was good enough to get into the festival. But when it got selected, I was happy. And then winning three categories, I was blown away. This is one year into film making and that was my directorial debut, it was the first film I wrote. Before now, I had done a one-minute short film to get into the Accelerate Filmmaker Project this year. I made it to the top 15 but I couldn’t continue because I had somewhere to be. But ‘Lost’ was my baby project, and to see it bring back this result was amazing.
What are your projections for this year?
I pray this year is better than next year. I would also love to shoot another film on my phone this year. Apart from that, I look forward to working on different sets to gather experience. It is one thing to go to film school, it’s another thing for you to be on ground and be practical on set. So I really want that feeling. I want to experience it first hand on set more this year than I did last year.
Are you married?
No, I’m not married.
Are you in a relationship?
I’m not in a relationship.
Is it that you don’t have ‘toasters’ or you’re scaring them away?
I don’t even have time to drive away (laughs). I do have admirers but honestly, I’m just more focused on myself, making myself a better person right now and building a career than I’m more concerned about a relationship.
Don’t you get worried that the biological clock is ticking?
No, I’m not worried one bit. There’s a time for everything. You cannot rush into something and rush out of it.
What’s your spec?
I don’t have a spec. This is not being cliché, but I just need the person in question to be God-fearing. I believe if you are God-fearing, fear go catch you to do some kind things. If you’re God-fearing, that means you love God which also means that you will love me the way God loves you. If you’re God-fearing, that means as much as you have respect for God, you have respect for me as your partner. I also like someone that believes in my hustle, someone that supports my hustle, someone who believes in me, what I’m about and what I’m doing. And please let him be fine too. I like fine people.
So, if you meet such a person, will you shoot your shot?
I don’t think so. I’ve met a lot of people that I like. It really depends on what the term means. I won’t ask a guy to go out with me. I might show I care more than a friend. If you figure it out that I like you, fine. If not, I won’t do anything extra.
What are your hobbies?
I love listening to music a lot. I love watching movies. I love playing football as you know and I love hanging around friends.
You short film stars your mom. Are you bringing her into the industry?
(Laughs). No I’m not. My mom is a very dramatic person. At that point when I was shooting, I didn’t have an alternative but she was a perfect choice because the chemistry between her and my brother was already there. So, I didn’t even think about it twice. I’m not trying to draw her in, but I think she will do a couple of films for me in the near future.
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Author: OLAITAN GANIU