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Collaboration crucial to Nollywood growth – Joke Oke

Oyejoke Oke, is a female/director, writer of Nigerian decent, and Nollywood stakeholder, in this interview, speaks about her new movie from the stable of Black…

Oyejoke Oke, is a female/director, writer of Nigerian decent, and Nollywood stakeholder, in this interview, speaks about her new movie from the stable of Black Thread Media, “Love, Lies and Lasgidi” and the mission of the pan-African production outfit in the industry.


What is Black Thread Media (BTM) up to in the Nollywood film industry?

As an independent pan African production company situated in the heart of the Nollywood film industry in Nigeria, our mission is to produce quality films that reflect the richness of Nigerian and African cultures while highlighting important social issues. We aim to challenge stereotypes and bring unique storytelling to the forefront of the industry.

You recently earned multiple nominations for “Love, Lies and Lasgidi” at the Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival, what does this recognition portend?

We are incredibly thrilled and honoured to receive multiple nominations for “Love, Lies and Lasgidi”. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the film, and it motivates us to continue pushing boundaries in our future projects.

You were also nominated for Best Female Filmmaker – International and Best African Female Filmmaker, what is the vision driving you in the industry as reflected in this new movie?

My vision was to tell a compelling story that resonates with audiences globally while showcasing the vibrant beauty of Nigerian and African cultures.

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By exploring themes of love, deceit, and the pursuit of dreams, I wanted to highlight the complexities of human relationships and the societal pressures that affect them. It’s a great honour to be nominated for Best Female Filmmaker – International and Best African Female Filmmaker, as it reflects the success of these intentions.

“Love, Lies and Lasgidi” is your debut production at BTM. What were the challenges encountered in coming up with this feature movie?

It was an incredible journey filled with challenges and highlights. As our debut production, one of the biggest challenges we faced was securing funding and resources to bring the film to life. However, through determination and collaboration, we successfully navigated these obstacles. The highlights included working with a talented cast and crew who brought the story to life, and the appreciation we received from audiences during screenings. It was a truly enriching experience that paved the way for future endeavours.

What would you say sets “Love, Lies and Lasgidi” apart having also been nominated for Best First Feature?

I will say the film sets itself apart by presenting a fresh perspective on the complexities of love and ambition within the Nigerian society. We believe its strong narrative, visually stunning cinematography, and exceptional performances make it worthy of the Best First Feature nomination. It offers a unique blend of romance, drama, and social commentary, which resonates with a wide range of viewers.

What unique qualities and approaches are you bringing to the Nollywood film industry using the platform of BTM?

As an independent production company, BTM brings a unique approach to the Nollywood film industry. We strive to challenge conventional narratives by producing films that explore diverse themes and perspectives. This independent structure allows us the freedom to take risks and create compelling stories that may not conform to traditional norms. Additionally, BTM is committed to fostering collaborations with emerging talents, both in front of and behind the camera, to contribute to the growth and development of the industry.

We see film as a powerful tool for social transformation and promoting Nigerian and African cultures on a global stage.

Through our storytelling, we aim to shed light on societal issues while fostering understanding and empathy. We intend to actively engage in community programs, workshops, and collaborations with local organizations to address relevant social matters. By showcasing Nigerian and African cultures authentically and accurately, we hope to challenge stereotypes and enhance cultural appreciation.

Can you share your plans in the near future?

The future holds exciting possibilities for us at BTM. We are passionate about continuing to produce compelling films that provoke thought and entertain audiences. Our intention is to expand our reach globally and nurture partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations. We also aim to support emerging talents and empower them to tell their stories. With our commitment to quality and innovative storytelling, we hope to contribute to the growth and global recognition of the Nollywood film industry.

What message do you have for Nollywood faithful in the coming years and what kind of collaborations or partnerships is BTM exploring?

Nollywood faithful in the coming years should keep supporting and celebrating the growth of the industry. We believe that collaboration and partnerships are crucial for its continuous development.  BTM is exploring collaborations with various stakeholders in the industry. These include collaborations with other production houses, distribution companies, streaming platforms, and even international studios. By collaborating with other entities in the entertainment industry, BTM hopes to amplify the reach and impact of Nollywood films, as well as create exciting opportunities for filmmakers and actors.

What can you say about the situation of the African Film Industry?

The African film industry is growing rapidly, with a vibrant and diverse range of voices and stories emerging from across the continent. However, the industry also faces significant challenges, including lack of funding, limited distribution and exhibition opportunities, and lack of infrastructure and professional development programs.

What are, for you, the main difficulties to produce an independent feature film?

As an independent production company, the main difficulties we face when producing a feature film include securing funding, finding talented actors and crew members, managing the logistics of production, and competing for distribution and exhibition opportunities in a crowded market. Finally, where can audiences watch “Love, Lies and Lasgidi,” and are there any special screenings or events planned in conjunction with its success at the festival?

“Love, Lies and Lasgidi” will be available for audiences to watch through several channels. Firstly, the film will have a theatrical release in cinemas across Nigeria, allowing audiences to experience it on the big screen. Additionally, BTM is actively exploring partnerships with streaming platforms to make the film available for online streaming, making it easily accessible to viewers worldwide.


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