Wole Ojomo: We Must Be Aware of Our History, Culture in Film Production


Wole Ojomo is a movie producer and sociologist with a desire to ply his trade from his knowledge of how the society works. These movies are to help address certain societal issues and foster better living for everyone. He talks to Tosin Clegg about this process, why his productions will be themed on societal and historical values, his new movie; ‘Witness Box’, Nollywood and a lot more 

I’m multifaceted 

I will elucidate this as occasioned from the prism of my vocation and avocation as both are like Siamese twins here. The former is that I am a sociologist by my academic adventure in the university. This singular honour affords me the opportunity to be an advocate of the family institution, culture and values of people as these are some of the core issues of sociology, while the latter is using the visuals to address the moral and social issues of our times for a better functional society.  

How I came about productions 

The trajectory of my life, if pedaled, shows I have a long history with Theatre Arts and script writings from my preteens while in school. The pursuit of this is far from pecuniary interest as a subject matter but a quest to use this expression as a social reformative catalyst in the midst of family values’ decadence.  

My dreams for Made-in-Nigeria movies

Firstly, our dream Made-in-Nigeria movies are to see message-filled, well-told and well-produced stories on our screens whilst not losing our identity as a people. We must not also be oblivious of our history and cultures as it is our common heritage. You will concur with me not to tell our story from our own periscope is a disservice because image, as they say, is everything and nobody will blow your trumpet better than you will do yourself. Secondly, we are going to make an impact because our creative assets are around addressing the fabric of the society, which is the family. There is a sociological assertion which denotes that the family is the nucleus of the society hence the family is a subset or substructure of the larger society and the foundation of the society which connotes that the panacea for a functional society lies in having a functional family whose value systems remains untarnished and unblemished.  

Nollywood, Bollywood and Hollywood have all grown well 

The question of standard is a different matter and it is subjective; various movie industries have their audience. Nigeria is the third largest in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood; we have the largest industry in Africa. Though there is a lot of room for improvement, we are better than our yesterday and optimistic our tomorrow will be better than our today. 

The idea behind my new movie and the message I intend selling out

As I earlier postulated, my background as a sociologist; the subject core of our learning revolves around the family, the efficacy and imperatives of the same to the larger society. Our training also makes us custodians and practitioners of social research tools to address the anomalies in the social phenomenon of our time. You cannot but concur with me that there is never a time that the family institution has been suffocated and left gasping for survival like our time. Our sociological researches show a frightening increase in spousal killings, higher rates of divorces, outsourced parenting to nannies and all. It is pertinent to note that one of the causal factors responsible for the weaklings of the fabric of marital bliss is social-economic factors which are insidious and malfeasance. It is predicated on some of the aforesaid reasons. Witness Box was shot to address the maladies of the 21st century family challenges. Witness Box is a clarion call that there must be work-life balance if we intend to have the family unit still in one piece after we are back with monies for the same family we hold dearly. 

One of the first major ingredients for a successful production is to get your casting right 

It was a privilege to have worked with the best in the industry. We had Wale Ojo, Sola Sobowale, Chiwetalu Agu, Keira Hewatch, who was nominated in the Best Actress category at the 2018 AMVCA, Femi Branch, Soni and Betty Irabor, Lord Frank, and Tunji Sotimirin amongst others. 

Plans for the movie

Our best point of advertisement for Witness Box has been the quality of production and the morals of our narratives. Everyone who has seen the movie attests to this. We have some private screenings lined up and other avenues of film distribution are being explored, while we will be in the cinemas next year. There are other avenues which I will be reticent about for now due to some exigencies.  

Movie veterans, producers whose work I admire 

Within our clime, the late Amaka Igwe will not go without being mentioned here, Uncle Tunde Kilani is worthy of mention here too, as well as Uncle Tade Ogidan, amongst others. Internationally, Tyler Perry is note-worthy here because the inventory of his many productions also addresses the family which must be nourished at all time. The family as an institution is one of our core interests. Oprah Winfrey is also of interest because of her historical storytelling, which is one of our areas of expression.  

A new movie is in the pipeline for production

We will be having another socially-relevant narrative that challenges our paradigms of single motherhood; the opprobrium and platitudes attached to it and the quest for ladies who are in this cobwebs to be deviants to the societal definition of their status as their albatross but most importantly, not allowing their mistake as a point of residual occurrence because if you learn from your mistake, you make it your teacher but if otherwise, you make it your master. 

The theme for my own productions 

We all have the responsibility to improve ourselves and our society and I want all my production to reflect that. We all have to keep bringing our best and keep improving on our best. Excellence is not a gift of the spirit but a habitual and deliberate course of various actions; it is a verb, not a noun.