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Freedom in Chains remains my best movie – Keppy

WM: When did you start acting? Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey:I have been acting all my life; from primary school so to speak. When I started out…

WM: When did you start acting?
Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey:I have been acting all my life; from primary school so to speak. When I started out initially, I swore to myself that I will not go back to the industry. I worked with Tade Ogidan on a TV Soap Opera and I had butterflies in my stomach. I was afraid. Now I can afford to look at the cameras. Then my kneel will buckle and I will forget my lines. Because the camera was right in front of me and the lightening will be there. And I reminded myself perpetually that I will not do acting. But the first film came out well and Tade was very excited about it. And that is why I keep saying Tade Ogidan is my father in the industry. And then he asked me to do a voice-over because to him I had a good voice, and we went to the studio and they put a microphone in front of me and I failed.  And I suppose for most of us we had other plans but yet our potentials laid somewhere. But over time, I have grown in confidence which is a major quality most of us in this profession require, so beyond acting some of us do a stage play so we must overcome that fear.  
The next is that after a good play, you have to contain with the reception of your viewer. Some of the reception may be very nice, and on the other hand it can become so scary and even violent. I can give two instances. I produced a movie in 1998 titled, To have and to Cherish, it was about wife battering, and I beat my wife up very well in the movie. And we went to premier the movie in Benin, and there I was with my wife (in the movie), and thanking the people as they came out of the hall, and some women tore my dress and spat on my face, and my wife in the movie was there, that was one negative experience I have had. But I think the good reception tends to happen more time, and we tend to enjoy that good will which for us leaves a lingering excitement being a participant in this industry.
W M: What advice do you have for those aspiring to become actors?
They should aim to become versatile enough and become proficient in the field. You may want to become a cameraman; you may want to be a director, producer or even an actor. Your aspiration should be geared toward being a top range, before you begin to enjoy the ambiance of the so called stardom.
WM: Which is the best movie you think you have shot so far?
 Keppy: I think I will be very selfish here. I produced a movie about a year and half  ago called Freedom in Chains, which was premiered at the Villa in collaboration with the United Nations Funds for Population Activities (UNFPA), and the ultimate pre occupation was gender-based violence and that remains my best movie.
WM: What is your highest point in the industry so far?
Every day for us, when we live through life successfully is our highest point. I don’t think we have an exclusive high point because we still believe the highest is yet to come. I am in Abuja aggravating another relationship with an Agency here. We put together a company solely towards the realization of some of the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) using film as an intervention. So that is what I have been doing in the past two to three years.  
WM: What is the difference between the Keppy here and the Keppy on the screen?
Keppy: Body and soul, is the same person, but characterization, different.
WM: Can you be specific?
: I don’t think I beat my wife every day but as a character, I will definitely beat my wife.
WM: How did you meet your wife?
: My daughter is going to be 18 in August and I met my wife a year before.
WM: How do you see the movie industry in the next five years?
There is always the law. We are going through a transition in the movie industry.  Most of the movie makers have vowed to make better films. Most of our early practitioners came into the industry and thought that to become an accomplished movie maker they have to make 1,000 movies in a year. But right now we know that it is quality that sells. So most producers have realised that they have to make good movies to get a stronger return. So right now there is rejuvenation in the industry. But right now you will find out that most of the people who are producing movies are doing movies the way it should be done. Good quality pictures, nice stories, fine acting, good light and so on, so that we can also appeal to the international market. So what we should expect in the next five years is massive revolution. Right now Jetty Amata is shooting in Makurdi and he is shooting with an international class with some of Nigeria’s best. And that is what we expect to see, massive collaboration. We expect a massive boom and explosion and higher stake in the next few years.
WM: Do you have regret being an actor?
Absolutely no regrets. But if I have to live life all over again, I may not be an actor. Because I am a very adventurous person, who knows I may want to be a belle dancer, who knows. My Masters is in International Law and Diplomacy did’nt suggests that I started out wanting to be an actor. I wanted to be several things in the past and acting has afforded me the opportunity to be all that.
In every movie I have done, I try to read through the script well. And appreciate the story and also my director before I go on set. Now if there is mistake in the lightening of the studio, then it is not my fault. Now I must say that I appreciate all my creative effort.

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