Kingsley Oyisama: I Was Once Arrested for Shooting ‘Too Close to’ Aso Rock Villa

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Kingsley Omoefe Oyisama is an alumnus of Colorado Film School, Aurora, Denver, United States. He is an award-winning filmmaker, director, producer and casting director. He is one of Nollywood’s dynamic directors with major and notable television soap operas and sitcoms to his credit. In this chat with Tosin Clegg, he talks about films, the industry and its future…

Directors Guild of Nigeria’s elections…

The turnout was unbelievably awesome. Directors and industry colleagues and loads of journalists from different parts of the country came to monitor, support and celebrate with us. It was like a carnival of some sort. Practitioners traveled from all over to converge on Asaba for the Directors Guild of Nigeria’s (DGN) annual general meeting and elections. I was one of the presidential aspirants.

My recent and past director’s works…

Well, I just finished recording a new television series, titled ‘We are Family’. But I have worked as a director on others like Domino, Everyday People, Family Affair, Just The two of Us, One Love, Beauty Parlour, Living Next to You, Nouveau Riche, Haven, the Great Tide, Spider, Yours Faithfully, 2Geda, In My Closet, Inside Out With Agatha, Delta Talent Quest 2012, E234 (A TV fashion/lifestyle magazine show), SPG at One (A TV Documentary for Sea Petroleum & Gas Ltd.) and more.

Challenges faced as a director…

The major challenges that I have as a director have been lack of proper funding for projects. Truth is, a lot of directors would want to do blockbusters, but funding hampers that wish. You wish to have a good camera and other equipment that would make your film look good, and you want very sound technical crew but your budget cannot afford them. A lot of things go into very good projects. I will also mention lack of proper structure in the industry and good support from government agencies. For example, getting access to our own international airport to shoot was tough.

I remember shooting a sequence on Domino in Abuja, around Eagle Square when a black car with tinted windows pulled up and some people got out, arrested me, for shooting too close to Aso Rock Villa.” See, before I ever travelled to the United States, I could tell you how New York, or the White House looks like and, even the Red double decker bus in the UK. All these were made popular by film makers and through films. But, not here in Nigeria where there is harassment by security operatives, area boys and even by government officials. To even get permission to use the Nigeria police or even any military uniform is another big problem.

So, most times we just make do with whatever is available. Also, the audience seems to be a challenge in that, often times, they prefer films that have known faces on the posters before they buy. Sometimes, when you produce a soap opera or television series, which usually should be a place for introducing new and hot talents, advertisers and even television stations will be asking, “who is or how many known faces do you have in the programme?’ But in all, I know we will overcome some day.

What sets me apart from others…

The fact is that I don’t just take up any script that is brought my way; I would rather work on a project that I will be proud of, even 10 years from now, rather than take it because money was offered for my services. I also make sure I do my casting, that is, I basically choose my actors myself, because with that, I can introduce new talents.

I believe in giving everyone equal opportunity because I am a beneficiary of such. I prefer also to select my crew. I am also one of the few directors that sit in the cutting room during post production. I like supervising the editing of any of my projects. I am also technically up to date; I can operate most of the new cameras and, of course, I can edit my project, even colour-grade. In the past 10 years, I have made it a point of duty and a routine to do at least three professional courses every year.

Nollywood in five years…

I see a situation where massive growth will be recorded in terms of good quality and financial returns; more blockbuster films. I am already contributing towards the growth for quite a while now, because for more than five years now I have been taking in film and theatre students on internship in my company and also mentoring a lot more. Presently, I am involved in the setting up of a film school- YabaTech Film Academy- where I am also teaching film making.

New project coming out soon…

This is a movie I directed, known as ‘Better than the Beginning’ and my new TV drama series; ‘We Are Family’ and a cook show; ‘Food, Flavour and Recipes’.

Omoefe aside business and directing…

He is from Delta State, an Isoko man, who is happily married with children. I am an easy-going person. I am not a party person, but a home man. I am a God-fearing man. I am a son a policeman, though he is late. I grew up in the police barracks. I love cooking. I enjoy traveling and discovering new places. I enjoy driving; I can drive anything and to any distance. I like adventure.

What inspires me…

It comes from Jehovah God; also the fear of failure inspires me. I am scared of failure; I wake up everyday to better my person. I want to be sure that my family has a secure future. I want to be able to provide the best for my family and want to live a comfortable life too. All these put together drive me to success.

My mentors…

RMD, Tade Ogidan, Tajuddeen Adepetu, Lekan Ogunbanwo, Jimi Odumosu, Wale Adenuga, Ambrose Alli and late Gamaliel Onosode. They have impacted me in various ways in film business and in leadership.

I have always loved film…

As a child, I always loved film making and anything that has to do with electricity and automobile, but I never saw myself as a film maker. I wanted to be a pilot. So, film making as a profession just came about when I was growing up. I also remember, as a teenager, going to see films in cinema halls; Indian, Chinese and Western cowboy films.

  • amador kester

    you look for trouble why

    • danladi

      Abi o!! when our security people are not that advanced for digital surveillance and facial recognition on the streets. They will do trial by error to ensure they get lucky. However, with the entry of BH into the security structure, the equation changed. Remember Police Force HQ incident, a stone throw away from where the filming is taking place and even the Thisday video! When the security patrol see you filming anywhere, its a recipe for trouble.