Olamide Akinmolayan, a filmmaker, director, stand-up comedian, and AMVCA nominee. He is enthusiastic about producing films that depict African cultures, particularly the Ondo culture. He is the producer of Balokun. In this interview with Ekimogun Mirror, Akinmolayan walks us through his filmmaking journey and his upcoming romantic comedy “Apeke Femi,” which will be released in March 2023 on LIBRA TV, featuring stars like Adeniyi Johnson, Ronke Ojo, Bimbo Manuel, and a host of other actors.
Who is Olamide Akinmolayan?
Olamide Akinmolayan is a filmmaker, a director and stand up comedian. I have to put the latter last so you people will take me serious small (laughs) I love to tell African stories. I was raised in Lagos and Ondo town. My life in Ondo town shaped me in telling core African stories. I lived with my grandmother and through this communal living, I learnt a lot about African value, culture and religion. Thus our story too.
What inspired you to become a movie producer and comedian, and how did you get started in the industry?
I was born into the family of entertainers. My father was a cinematographer while my mum was a troupe dancer at the national theatre. I grew up seeing my father make films and at a point I told myself I will one day tell my stories as a filmmaker. Then, growing up, my father make me see a lot of films. Bollywood, Chinese film and early Nollywood. This shaped me and developed my passion in filmmaking
Stand up comedy is in-born for me. I am a natural stand-up comedian. I might not be funny off-stage but once I am on stage I love to talk. My passion for comedy was fueled mainly by listening to works of late Gbenga Adeboye. He is the reason I ventured into the comic world. Same man is the reason I am a broadcaster on radio.
Tell us about your forthcoming movie and what it means to you personally.
Apeke Femi is an experiment that worked. I have always wanted to tell Ondo story and when I met my Executive Producer, Mr. Tolu Adegbie, he told me about his passion about wanting to build filmmaking in Ondo state. He contacted me after my success with Balokun and my AMVCA nomination. So, we talked about raising crew and producing here in Ondo state. For this movie, we used all crew based here in Ondo state and the result is this movie Apeke Femi. It is a love story of an Ondo play boy and he finding true love where he least expected it.
The story is simple and unique. I appreciate Mr. Tolu Adegbie for believing in me to produce this. Imagine a project where all crew are from a growing state in the film industry. We tried our best and this came out fine.
You can watch Apeke Femi’s Trailer below:
What drives you to produce movies that are reflects and promotes the Ondo culture?
Basically passion. Ondo state is blessed with everything for good filmmaking. We have the locations, we have everything. All you need is a camera and action! Tell your story. This state will grow soon into a cynosure for other states to envy. We shall be producing stars too.
How does your forthcoming movie reflect your passion for promoting Ondo culture?
We promote the Ondo culture by promoting our language, setting, stories. We reflect this in our songs and way of life. We didn’t paint the state bad, we intend to bring Ondo on the world map of filmmaking. We hope more investors will come around and join hands with us to see us grow in this industry. We have talents and we hope to make stars out of them.
How do you go about researching and incorporating authentic Ondo cultural elements into the movie?
Basically, I ask questions and I read a lot. I love to get my facts right. I won’t paint our culture black. For a scene, I make sure I use the right cast, teach them the dialect and make them speak it averagely well. I want Ondo state people in diaspora to see our work and fall in love more with home while foreigners will be interested in this state called Ondo
What do you hope your audience will take away from this movie?
Live, laugh and love. It is a Romantic comedy. It is a movie you watch just to relax. It is not complicated like ‘Balokun’. This is comedy.
What are your plans for the movie after it is released to ensure it reaches a wide audience?
We intend to give it our own PR and we hope our friends and fans will help spread this good news of filmmaking in Ondo state.
Can you tell us about any future projects you have, how they relate to your passion and when your viewers should anticipate them.
I shot a project before this. It is “mad” and its goint to make a difference. I am proud to have my name on that project. It is classic. I am proud to work with big names like Sola Sobowale, Afeez Oyetoro (Uncle Saka), Yomi Fash Lanso, Olumide Oworu, Bukunmi Oluwasina. This project is a major one for me. We put everything in it to make it standard. Watch out for it. It is big and when I say it is good, trust me, this movie is good.
What advice would you give to young movie producers who want to create works that reflects and promotes their culture?
Be yourself, don’t be scared to start small. Be good and honest. ‘Balokun’ my first feature film was shot with one camera. Yes, just a camera. Start small and aim big. And someday, you can say “google me, my name is on the AMVCA list”.
It takes time, patience and passion. I started with short films and here I am today shooting with A list celebrities and winning awards. It is drive, it is passion, it is consistency.