Nigeria and UK Based Actors’ Relationship Is Still At Infancy – UK Based Actress

TheOlojaBlog Spotlight is a new series where we showcase individuals and organisations that are making waves in their industries.

In this edition of UK based Nollywood actors and actresses, we put a very delectable woman in the spotlight.

It has now become an established fact that UK is now the Mecca of Nollywood as there are hardly any Nollywood films that are not premiered in London Cinemas.

The UK based Nollywood actors, producers and directors have now established their own circuit where films are produced and directed in the UK and now premiered as well in the cinemas.

In this interview with Funmi Ogidan Bello, an Actor/Film maker, with DAPO OPAYINKA, UK correspondent, you are assured of pleasurable insights into the ever growing Nollywood industry in Europe. Excerpts:

Who is Funmi Ogidan Bello?

Funmi Ogidan Bello is an actor, a show host, presenter and a filmmaker.

Were you an actor before you came into the UK?

I have been in the movie industry since 1999 where I featured in a Francis Agu film titled Song of the Giant featuring many other known Nigerian actors. I also featured in the TV sensational comedy Twilight Zone, Heaven’s Bride alongside Djinee, the music guru.

What is your attraction to acting?

I believe it is in-born; so I picked it up at a very young age doing stage plays and church dramas as a youth.

Has the journey been so far here?

Well, it has not been rosy but surely, we will get there.

UK Nollywood industry seems to be booming. Would you ascribe that to Nigeria based actors and celebrity running an intercontinental shows or the credit wholly belongs to the UK based Nollywood actors?

I would say the credit should be given to UK based actors because of the passion, tirelessness and commitment we show while doing our thing amidst other things. UK Nollywood is on a fast lane and I’m proud to be associated with her.

How is the UK Nollywood industry acceptance by the local industry? Is there any relationship between them?

Yes, we have a certain level of relationship because we co-star in our projects.

What would be your greatest accomplishment as an actor?

My greatest accomplishment would be when unknown folks stop to ask if I was the same person they saw on YouTube or in movies and ask for autographs. (laughs)

In your own view, how would you see the relationship between UK based and Nigeria based actors?

I believe the relationship is a baby one, but like babies that feed well, it will grow. As I said earlier, surely we will get there.

Have you ever worked with a demanding director before? How did you successfully interact with such person?

Not really. I submit myself 100% to authority while on set regardless of who is directing, hence I never had issues.

What is your most challenging role yet?

Most challenging role is playing a comic character in a TV series DIVA DIVA.

Can you tell me the challenges still existing in the UK Nollywood industry?

Most of our projects are still self-funded because we lack sponsors.

Does Nigerian government recognize, align and sponsor the industry?

No!

So far, how would you grade your progress in the industry?

We are still grinding. (Laughs)

Of all the roles you have played in the past, which is your favourite?

My favourite role would still be in TV series DIVA DIVA.

Who is your favourite actor, and why?

Toyin Abraham. She keeps it real.

What project are you working on now?

I am currently working on getting my first film, More Than A Woman, out and planning for a second.

Does your emotional setback affect your work? How do you separate your personal failures from your duty in the make believe world?

I rarely think of my setbacks as failures, but lessons learnt. Therefore, with this mindset, marrying both worlds becomes easy.

When was your first role as an actor?

That was in 1999 in Song of the Giant.

What is your biggest aspiration?

To be known and appreciated for my craft

In which area would you want to improve as an actor?

As an actor, I want to be versatile in all areas. I want to take it a step forward.

As elections in Nigeria are drawing close, do you think the outcomes would have either positive or negative effects on the Nollywood industry?

Quite frankly, I don’t know.

What support do you enjoy from the UK government as immigrant movie industry?

Well, we are able to premiere our movies at well-known cinemas where other mainstream movies are shown.

What would you rather have or not have in your industry?

I would rather have a governing body to ensure everyone adheres to the ethics of film making.

Do you think a Nollywood film can get an Oscar nomination and go on to win it?

Absolutely!

Have you ever acted on stage? If yes, how can you compare stage acting with film?

Yes, I have acted at a very young age. And in comparison, stage play is more demanding.

If you are given one million pounds today, what will you do with it?

I will make magic! (Laughs)

Will you accept a role that requires you to be nude?

No.

Do you think there should be more collaborations between Nollywood Nigeria and UK?

Yes! That’s the only way forward. We need to support ourselves in every way. We are one body with different parts and until we all see that, we will still be lacking.

What other parts do you have that we still don’t know?

I am a go-getter, who never relents regardless of how many times I have fallen. I am very good at what I do and give it my best. I am not your everyday girl.

And as an actor and filmmaker? I will be heard with God on my side.

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You can follow Funmi Ogidan Bello on:

Facebook: Funmi Ogidan Bello
Instagram: @phumziebells
Twitter @bellofunmibello

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