"" I’m Not a Good Actress – Chineze Anyaene | Talk With Da Silva

I’m Not a Good Actress – Chineze Anyaene

 Chineze Anyaene The Producer of Ije which stares Omotola and Genevieve opened up to Peter Okeugo of Punch on her journey into film making. She is also the chairperson of the Nigeria Oscars Selection Committee.

How did your journey into film-making begin?
After studying for my first degree in Theatre Arts at the University of Abuja, I went for a one-year film-making course at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. After I completed the course, I returned to Nigeria to participate in the National Youth Service Corps programme. Afterwards, I decided to go back for a master’s degree in film-making at the New York Film Academy. I had to get a master’s degree to perfect my craft because I felt the one-year course I had previously undergone was not adequate.

Whose idea was it to study Theatre Arts in the university?
It was my idea. Theatre Arts is an interesting course. I still love the stage.

But you could have become an actress…
One would ordinarily expect me to be an actress because I studied Theatre Arts. However, every film director is a good actor because they have to understand actors in order to get the best out of them. I do not think I would make a great actress. As an undergraduate, I always played or chose minor roles. I believe acting is tough and a great gift . As such, I respect great actors. On the other hand, film-making is a great tool and it gives me the opportunity to play with human emotions and thoughts. I still prefer to direct and produce films; I enjoy the work behind the scenes.

What were the initial challenges you faced at the outset?
Producing a feature film is tough and the entire production process of my movie Ije was challenging. Right after that, I had to face distribution challenges in Nigeria and overseas.

Have you always had your parents’ support?
Yes, I have. All that I am or hope to be, I owe it to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. My mother is deceased, but she supported my career as a film-maker before she died. She single-handedly financed my film, Ije.

Are you bothered about competition?
There will always be competition, especially in show business. There is always someone younger and hungrier standing behind you; someone with more contacts. But I believe my job is to be relevant. I work hard and I know that there are no short cuts to success.

What do you consider the worst moment in your career?
The day my film was pirated after the DVD version was released. It was more painful because the government did not help. I felt like I worked hard for people to reap where they did not sow.

You are the first student in the history of KODAK to shoot a feature film on 35MM. How does this make you feel?
It feels good to be part of history of the school NYFA and KODAK. It is amazing and I am grateful for that. Film is organic; it has different stocks or colour processes, each with their own special characteristics and it responds beautifully to light. Film has density and weight. The cinema began with a passionate, physical relationship between celluloid and its artistes, craftsmen and technicians who handled it. No matter where cinema goes, we cannot afford to lose sight of its beginnings. Film can be expensive; I really have nothing against digital, but if I have my way I will shoot film anytime over digital.

What projects are you working on presently?
I wouldn’t say I have relaxed; I am constantly planning. I have projects I am working on, but I can’t say until it is done. Film-making is not all about just strapping a camera onto an actor, and pointing it at their face. It is not just about getting a performance. The cinema audience in Nigeria forget about a movie after it has been screened. It is almost as if it never happened. They cannot even remember its name, or who the actors were; the film simply fades into darkness. That is not the kind of movie I want to make. Irrespective of my storylines, I want to make films that will evoke the audience’s emotions and keep them talking for years just like we did with Ije.

As a producer who is also into distribution, photography and talent management, how do you combine these interests?
They all fall under entertainment and are related as well. I also have other jobs outside of the industry.

What are the challenges of heading your organisation?
Sometimes I have to deal with complex issues. The biggest challenge for every employer is staffing. It is not easy to manage people and their work, and it is a little tougher because I do other things apart from entertainment.

What changes do you intend to make in the film-making industry?
I am constantly thinking of ways to change and grow the industry. Recently, the Academy of Arts and Motion Pictures also known as The Oscars, approved Nigeria to be able to compete in the category of the ‘Best Foreign Film’ every year. I am the chairperson of the board. This is a great step, because it gives us an opportunity to compete with the rest of the world. It took us (the committee) over three years to get this approved. In terms of distribution, we are constantly thinking of innovative ways to distribute films. Film-making will not thrive without proper distribution network. It is also good to know that the government is looking into that unit of film-making process.

Who makes up the Nigeria Oscars Selection Committee?
The committee comprises of 12 members drawn from the movie industry. It is made of writers, film-makers, producers, editors and distributors. Every year, we would vote one film to represent Nigeria and compete with others from 76 countries for the ‘Best Foreign Film’ category at The Oscars.

What is your beauty secret?
I try to take care of myself. I put in an effort to make the regimen a part of my life. The body needs its rest, and sleep is extremely important in any health or beauty regimen. There should be three main things- eating, exercise and sleep. All three together in the right balance make for a truly healthy life style

What does style mean to you?
I think style is an attitude. For me, I dress effortlessly and I love casual wear. My favourite kind of clothes are those that require little or no thinking.

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"Talk With Da Silva’s Blog deals Majorly with happenings around us; ranging from Entertainment Gist to Events Paparazzi, News Updates, Fashion/Lifestyle, Nollywood / Hollywood Buzz, Juicy Gist, Relationship Advice and Tips, Music/Movies, Politics, Sports, Exclusive Interviews and Hot Gossips".
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