Saturday 13 February 2016


As The Audrey Silva Company premiered its latest movie, Surulere, in cinemas across Nigeria yesterday, actress and co-owner of the company, Rita Dominic spoke to JOE AGBRO JR about working on the flick.

HOW did you veer into film production?

I always wanted to try out different aspects of filmmaking. I wanted to be a producer. I wanted to go behind the camera to see how it’s done and how I can contribute. So, some years back, Mildred Okwo who manages my career as an actor said to me, ‘I have this idea of setting up my production company, we will do films.’ And to be quite honest, I liked her ideas, I liked what she wanted to do. And that was what I wanted I do as well. And so I decided to go into partnership with her.

How did you feel that your first movie, ‘The Meeting’ became so huge?

I was elated and that was actually what encouraged me to do another project because of the success of our first project. That encouraged me to go ahead and produce Surulere.

What informed the story?

It’s really a story Lagosians or Nigerians can connect to. You know, we have a lot of young men who go through life… I know there are a lot of young people out there who are trying to make ends meet, hustling, to be able to live a good life. At the end of the day, what makes Nollywood are simple stories that we tell. And which is what we try to do at The Audrey Silva Company. Now, this simple story, we’re trying to do it at a much higher level and this is what Surulere presented to us.

How long did it take to shoot this film?

Altogether, the shooting took 10 days because of months of planning was put in place. We were organised. We knew what we wanted to do months before we went on set to shoot. And then after that, post-production.So, give and take, it’s taken us about a year for it to come out.

You played a big role in producing the movie, why were you not so involved?

Because the director said to me, would you like to play this role? We need your face to show in this (movie). I don’t have to play the lead role. That’s the point.

Considering the global economic recession, and dwindling movie sales, what keeps you motivated doing films?

Well, the truth of the matter is the Nollywood audience, they are still our audience. They still love Nollywood. And just for that reason alone, it encourages me to keep on doing what it is we’re doing, which is to put movies out there for them to watch. They love the things we do.

Now that you’re a producer, how does it feel after you experienced what it means to produce movies?

To be quite honest, anybody who has been able to go behind the camera to produce a film and able to get it out to the public deserves a pat on the back. It’s not an easy job.

What do you consider the most challenging part of your work?

Basically handling the whole set, organising the people. For me, if your cast are happy they’ll give you the best. But at the same time, you have to be firm. It’s like finding a balance to make sure your cast are not lacking, they’re comfortable enough on set to shoot for you and at the same time, you know when to put your foot down.

And really, I don’t do it alone. My business partner is very much involved as well, which is Mildred Okwo, who co-owns the company with me. so, it’s  a teamwork between both of us.

What are the next plans?

Well, for people to go and watch the film. And at the same time, we plan to shoot one or two projects this year which we’re not revealing now.

Surulere was tagged a romantic comedy and it coming out on February 12 which is very close to Valentine’s Day. How are you spending Valentine’s Day?

(That’s) for me to know (Laughs).

Was the date deliberate to coincide with Valentine’s Day?

Well, that was the date we got and we thought, ‘Wow, this actually works because it’s a romantic comedy and that (February) is a love season too. Why doont we put it out in the cinema and encourage people to spend their Valentine by going to watch a romantic comedy.

How has it been for you being an entrepreneur?

That is why I am very much grateful and thankful to God and my business partner because she has encouraged me to go on this journey with her. If she wasn’t there, maybe… In as much as I wanted to be a producer, sometimes, you want somebody to encourage you. And I’m just grateful to her that she encouraged me the whole nine yards. And to be quite honest, it’s not easy to do this in a country….. But every day we learn, every day, we keep pushing, every day, we’re hopeful….taking the industry to the place that it should be.

 What plans have you put in place to combat piracy?

The government needs to enforce some of those laws because at the end of the day, they’ll tell you, ‘you have piracy in America and all over the world.’ What we’re asking for is for them (government) to enforce some of these laws to create an enabling environment for the industry to thrive because this industry if well structured, can generate a lot of revenue for this country. There are laws against piracy. We just need for them to be enforced.

What’s the thing about Zamunda?

(Laughs) How do I put it? Zamunda for me, is a place of mind. It’s a happy place, like when you have an escape place, when you’re passing through a lot of challenges or having a bad day, one of those things that we always go through. For me, that is like a place of mind where I go to in my head where everything is perfect. It started like a joke, next thing my family (fans) now started pushing it. I was like, ‘Okay, alright then, Zamunda is good.’

You’ve been away from the media, not doing interviews

I only do interviews when they are necessary. You’re going to see me in the media a lot now because my second film is going to be released on Friday. So, I’m going to be doing a lot of interviews concerning the film.

For relaxation, what do you do?

I watch a lot of movies. I watch TV. I work out. I love to travel when I can. I read when I can.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere that has water, white sand, beaches. I like Hawaii. I’ve been to Mauritius courtesy of Africa Magic as well. I like southern part of Spain.

For books, what is your favourite?

I love thrillers. There was a time I used to read a lot of Stephen King. And the book I’m reading currently is The Pelican Brief by John Grisham. And  then  Chimamanda  Ngozi  Adichie.

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