Debola: Nollywood is No Place  for the Faint-Hearted

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Young and delectable film maker, Debola, stuns movie enthusiasts with her knack for producing films, a cost-intensive project, without being under “cost” pressure. Yes, simply Debola. Her surname? Forget about it. She is simply Debola. With her movie, Sade Takes Lagos, currently in cinemas, the new entrant in Nollywood becomes an inspiration to daring and aspiring youth. Debola shares her Nollywood dreams with Chinedu Ibeabuchi

Why the interest in Nollywood?

I am a filmmaker and screenwriter. I am also a mental health and special needs advocate. I basically grew up in Lagos, the home to one of the largest movie industries in the world. I see a lot of stories every day, the raw kind, unfiltered, undiluted, stories of real life people, real struggles and hustles. These are the kind of stories I want to tell.

It’s astonishing that you are already an entrepreneur at a young age funding a project worth millions. You have come far thus quickly. Tell us about your success story.

I recently came across a story I had written in my school magazine back in high school. It’s amazing to see how much growth can come from hard work and being persistent. The industry is no place for the faint-hearted. It didn’t just start in a day, it also didn’t just happen. It has taken years of consistent hard-work and self-confidence. It has also taken God’s mercy. I am still learning and growing in every way to improve my craft.

In the journey to achieving your dreams, what challenges have you faced and surmounted? Any shocking experience you would love to share?

Being a young female filmmaker definitely has its challenges. I tend to be a perfectionist. While this can help in the production of a good film, it can be very challenging getting everyone on board to visualise what you have in mind. Not only this, I have also had people question my abilities as a filmmaker. It’s usually fun to see the look on some people’s faces when I introduce myself “hello, I’m the director/producer.” My mind is always set on getting my work done right, challenges can be conquered.

 Tell us about Sade Takes Lagos. Why that title?

Sade Takes Lagos is a story about a young driven girl who has come to Lagos to find herself through music. In this film, we showcase different aspects and different daily struggles of Lagosians through her life. We showcase the food, music, places, lifestyle, romance, and of course the Lagos parties. I believe the title is different. Sade is taking over Lagos. Can she handle it or will she run from it?

Have you experienced any of the naija pranks displayed in the movie?

I have definitely experienced some of the things that happened to Sade. I am sure a lot of the viewers will be able to relate to the different stories.

What’s your view about Nollywood and what the industry needs to improve on?

Nollywood has evolved so much, in a good way. We are exploring new areas, new concepts. It’s so much fun! I do miss the Nollywood I grew up watching, though. The days of “Shaworoide”, “Thunderbolt”, “Across the Niger”, “Glamour Girls,” among so many others. We have so much raw stories and talents. We can’t forget our culture to accommodate others’.

Looking at the array of guests at your movie premiere. It shows you are popular within celebrity circle. Aside filmmaking, are you involved in any other entertainment business?

I am not necessarily involved in any other entertainment businesses. Although, I run a website (girlunfolding.com) and a mental health and lifestyle YouTube channel. I have mostly made friends in the process of filmmaking.

What’s your passion? What drives you?

I love writing, a lot. I have also grown to love public speaking. I have been honored as a guest on different shows to talk about special needs and mental health. When I am not writing scripts or motivational/career/lifestyle posts on my website, I am working with children who have special needs. I am a licensed behavioral therapist.

Are you in a relationship? Tell us about your love life?

I am in a romantic relationship with my job(s).

What’s your fashion style?

I am totally a tee shirt and jeans type of girl. You’d hardly see me in a princess dress. I like to up and go do things, I like to be comfortable.

How do you relax?

I love hanging out with my girlfriends. They are all such driven and passionate women of God, it’s very motivating.

What should fans expect from the movie, Sade Takes Lagos?

Expect to live through the eyes of Sade. Sade will be taking you through the city in a way you’ve never experienced before. You think you know Lagos? You think you know the lifestyle and the parties, the music, the food, and the people? Go find out from August 16 in cinemas.

What should fans look forward to in the future from you?

I want to tell stories. I want to tell beautiful and genuine stories. I want to explore places that others might be too scared to explore and talk about real life issues that relate to everyday people.