Olatunbosun Amao: Streaming Platforms Have Alleviated Burdens Associated with Traditional Film Distribution

In the latest addition to Nigeria’s film industry comes a gripping thriller titled “Troublous Weekend,” a directorial debut by Nigerian filmmaker, Olatunbosun Amao. The film boasts of stellar cast including Stan Nze and Anthony Monjaro, promising viewers an electrifying cinematic experience. Amao, whose foray into film production has been marked by significant achievements, speaks to Ferdinand Ekechukwu about the film on YouTube streaming platform. He also shares his journey into filmmaking, and how the presence of streaming platforms has significantly benefited independent filmmakers in Nollywood

You appear to be one of the newbies in Nollywood and not much is known about you. Can you tell us about yourself?

Well, I’m a multifaceted Nigerian-Canadian filmmaker, whose journey in the art began with stage production, successfully leading various theatre groups and coordinating numerous productions. I currently serve on the board of Sarasvati Productions, a prominent Winnipeg-based theatre company, and run his own film production company, Bosun Amao Production, under the umbrella of GreaterLatter Consulting Limited. My foray into filmmaking has been marked by significant achievements. I’m the executive producer of the award-winning feature film, “Blackmail”. Additionally, wrote, produced, and directed the short film “A Different Lens,” which garnered accolades at numerous international festivals, including: my latest project, “Troublous Weekend,” which is Best Feature Film at the London International Monthly Film Festival. It was recently premiered on Youtube and soon to be released on Amazon Prime Video. Beyond filmmaking, I have a rich background in technology, despite obtaining a degree in Political Science. My journey is a testament to versatility and passion, seamlessly blending the worlds of film and technology, and marking as a distinguished figure in both industries.

How did your journey into filmmaking/theatre start?

My journey into filmmaking and theatre began in my primary school days, sparked by an introduction to stage drama in church. This early exposure ignited a passion in me, and I quickly found myself not just participating in several drama groups, but also leading them. I had the privilege of acting, directing, and producing numerous high-profile stage dramas. One particularly memorable year was when I led a drama group to two performances that earned us a state award nomination. Although we didn’t win, the recognition was a significant honor for such a young troupe and solidified my dedication to the craft. My passion for writing scripts and bringing them to life through production is unparalleled. I thrive on creativity and storytelling, which naturally led me to transition from stage to film production. Upon arriving in Canada, I joined the board of Sarasvati Productions, a prominent Winnipeg-based theatre company, allowing me to immerse myself in North American stage drama. Additionally, I had the invaluable experience of being on the sets of some Hollywood movies, which further fueled my journey into filmmaking. Now, I run my own film production company, Bosun Amao Production, where I continue to explore and create in the realm of film. My experiences, both on stage and in film, have been incredibly fulfilling and have driven me to continually push the boundaries of my creative endeavors.

What can you tell us about ‘Troublous Weekend’ and Bosun Amao Production?

“Troublous Weekend” was actually an experiment for me. The idea emerged from a discussion with two friends about creating a suspenseful, horror-tinged thriller set in a single location. I love trying new things, and this project was a perfect opportunity to explore new creative avenues. Despite working with an extremely tight budget, which limited some of my original visions—such as setting the film in a large, deserted countryside home—we managed to bring the story to life within the constraints we faced. Bosun Amao Production is here to stay. We have several projects under our belt, including the co-production of “Blackmail” with a mentor and one of Nollywood’s veterans. Our team is constantly cooking up new projects, so stay tuned—there’s much more to come.

What was the motivation behind the movie ‘Troblous Weekend?’

Motivation behind “Troublous Weekend” stemmed from my passion for exploring new creative challenges. I wanted to test my ability to craft a feature-length film set in a single location. This concept intrigued me because our daily lives are rarely confined to one space, and I knew it would be a challenge to keep the audience engaged without the usual cinematic elements like diverse locations, big homes, and flashy cars. Creating “Troublous Weekend” was not easy, but it served as a testament to what can be achieved with the right opportunity and resources. The process pushed me to think creatively and resourcefully, and I’m proud of what we accomplished.

What has your career growth over the years been like?

My career growth over the years has been remarkably positive, especially when I reflect on my humble beginnings. I started acting in front of a small church audience of less than 100 people. From there, I steadily progressed, leading various theatre groups and eventually venturing into filmmaking. Moving to North America did stall my progress temporarily, as I had to settle down and acclimate to a new environment. Living far from home posed its own challenges, but my passion for the arts kept me pushing forward. Despite these hurdles, I’ve managed to achieve significant milestones, such as joining the board of a prominent theatre company and producing award-winning films. It has been an amazing journey, filled with growth and learning, and I eagerly look forward to the future and what it holds.

How has it been navigating your path as a creative producer?

Navigating my path as a creative producer has been a journey of constant evolution and resilience. Starting from humble beginnings, performing in front of small church audiences, I steadily built my skills and reputation in stage production and filmmaking. Each step, from leading theatre groups to producing award-winning films, has been driven by a passion for creativity and storytelling. Moving to North America posed significant challenges. Settling into a new environment and living far from home required a period of adjustment. These experiences, however, enriched my perspective and fueled my determination. Being part of a different cultural landscape broadened my understanding of the arts and provided unique opportunities, such as joining the board of a prominent theatre company and working on Hollywood sets. Despite the obstacles, my unwavering passion for the arts has been my guiding force. It has pushed me to continually experiment and innovate, even within the constraints of tight budgets and challenging circumstances. Each project, including my directorial debut “Troublous Weekend,” has been a testament to my commitment to pushing creative boundaries. Overall, navigating this path has been both challenging and rewarding. It has allowed me to grow as a creative producer and has set the stage for even more exciting projects in the future.

How do you tell your stories?

I love to tell stories that are relatable and resonate with everyday life experiences. My goal is to create narratives that people can learn from, ones that families can sit together to watch and gain insights from. Growing up with a father who was a Yoruba lecturer, I started reading and writing in my local language from a young age. This background has deeply influenced my storytelling style, allowing me to craft stories that are both authentic and meaningful. Drawing from personal experiences and cultural heritage, I aim to create content that feels genuine and impactful. Currently, I’m working on an epic story that I believe will be groundbreaking. It’s a project that digs deep into relatable experiences and presents them in a compelling way. Keep a close eye on our upcoming work—you won’t want to miss it! (Laughs)

What are the challenges you have encountered as a filmmaker?

As a filmmaker, I’ve encountered several challenges along the way. One of the major hurdles has been funding. Working with tight budgets has often limited my ability to fully realise my creative visions, such as when I had to compromise on locations and other items for “Troublous Weekend.” Additionally, for me, moving to a new land posed its own set of challenges. Settling into a new environment and getting familiar with the local industry required time and effort, temporarily stalling my progress. Living far from home and adapting to a different cultural landscape also added layers of complexity to my work. Despite these obstacles, my passion for storytelling has kept me pushing forward. Each challenge has been a learning experience, driving me to think creatively and resourcefully. It has been a journey of resilience and growth, and I’m excited for the future projects and opportunities that lie ahead.

How has the presence of streaming platforms helped individual efforts which have largely been the turf of movie production and distribution in Nollywood?

The presence of streaming platforms has significantly benefited independent filmmakers in Nollywood by providing alternative distribution channels. In the past, filmmakers were heavily dependent on cinemas or selling films on CDs, which came with numerous challenges. I remember the first film I ever produced was marketed by us, and it was an arduous task. Additionally, unauthorised copies of our work being sold by bad actors further complicated the situation. Streaming platforms have alleviated many of these issues by offering a more accessible and secure way to distribute films.

They enable filmmakers to reach a wider audience without the logistical and financial burdens associated with traditional distribution methods. This shift has empowered independent creators, allowing them to showcase their work globally. However, while streaming platforms have been a great help, I believe they can do even more to support independent filmmakers in Nigeria.

Enhanced support and more opportunities for showcasing diverse content would further strengthen the industry and promote a broader range of voices and stories.

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