Budding filmmaker, actress and scriptwriter, Uyoyou Adia ended 2018 on a high note with three awards for her short film, ‘Lost’. She talks to Tosin Clegg about filmmaking, her works, personal life and so much more
I have been a filmmaker for a year now
Icame 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. 2018 was a surprising year. I didn’t think I would be where I am right now, within a year. It’s been full of speed and it’s been a fast-learning process for me.
I have acted in just two movies
One of them is my short film, ‘Lost’, which I directed. I also took part 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’.
My first year in the movie industry
As 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.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt so far is to be humble
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 asked, 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 feeling 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.
My short film won three awards
Like people always say, it is a family film. They call it the Adia family film because it stars my brother, myself and my mum. I shot it on my phone and it was a project that I gave birth to because of the African Smartphone International 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 to let people know that it could happen to anybody. Nobody is safe. Sometimes, no matter how strong the male gender wants to appear to be, they are not always that strong.
Sometimes I write stories based on what is happening around me and what 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. I had to deal with depression in my secondary school and didn’t finish when my mates did. I had to return 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 with me and I didn’t want to go back home. At that point, I considered suicide. I had to call my mum and explain to her. After that, I have never contemplated suicide.
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.
Winning three awards in one night
As you can believe, I was over the moon, like I didn’t know how to feel. As 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 if the film was good enough to get into the festival. But when it got selected, I was happy. And then winning in 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.
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. I’m not worried one bit. There’s a time for everything. You cannot rush into something and rush out of it.
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.
I love listening to music a lot
I love watching movies. I love playing football as you know and I love hanging around friends.
My mum 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.