Kelvin Nwachinemere has done it all. In his 20 years in Nollywood, he has been a production assistant, director and director of photography and an actor. The humble CEO of Obago Films who hails from Abia State but based in Lagos and Enugu has worked with the biggest names in the industry. In this all-encompassing interview with ONITSHAGRA.COM, Kelvin touches on almost every topic.
Kindly introduce yourself to Nigerians.
I’m Kelvin Nwachinemere, the CEO of Obago Films. I’m a DOP, film director and producer in Nollywood, Nigeria. I’m from Isiala Ngwa North in Abia State but based in Lagos and Enugu. I was born on the 17th of July. I’m the first son of my family. We are 10 in number but six died, remaining four – three boys and one girl.
Obago films. I’m known as Obago films. Back then in school they called me Orlando, because I was one of the good guys in school that year. But that is in the past (Smiles).
Tell us briefly about your journey into filmmaking?
Well, I read acting in school. So, I came out from school and came into the movie industry. I started as a PA (Production Assistant) under Ernest obi as a director, Emeka Duru as pm, my boss, Emem Isong as a producer, Desmond Elliot as a director, Lancelot Imaseun as a director, Oscar Rodondo as a pm, and many more. I met Lawrence Lurrenzo Onuzulike as an executive producer (EP) in the Nollywood through Jerry Amilo when he shot his movie some years back, then I was the production assistant, so as time goes on, I became one of his boys, before he traveled back to the States and we lost contact. So, one day, in Awka, Anambra state, along Eke Awka market road, I saw him with some of his boys, they came to buy some electronics and we met again. So, since then we have been as we are now. And he still remains my boss. I give him that respect because one way or the other, he has helped me. I will not deny that fact, ok. He is a good man and any lady that have him as her husband should be happy and honoured.
How long have you been in Nollywood?
I have been in the industry for like 20 years now.
Do you remember the year you had your first acting job?
To be sincere I can’t remember again, it has been long. I was pushed out from my Aunt’s house in Lagos because of movies, because I left the work I was doing before at Ladipo market and joined Nollywood. My aunt asked me to leave her house. So, I left because this has been my dream. I even won two years scholarship in secondary school on stage drama. Since then, I picked up to become an actor and a filmmaker.
How’s your relationship with your aunt now?
She is my mum’s sister, from the same mother.
Does she now regret pushing you out?
No, she doesn’t, because it was from her mind to do that.
Is your relationship with her cordial now?
We do talk whenever we see or at times I do call her on phone to just say hi to her.
Do you feel any animosity towards her?
No! Not at all!
When did you direct your first movie?
Ok, I started out as a director two years ago.
What was the title of the first film you directed?
I really can’t remember anymore, because it wasn’t my personal movie.
How’s the journey so far?
Well, God has been doing it all the way. Not man’s doing, it’s the lord’s doing. Even when enemies tried all they could, but almighty God stood with me till now.
What challenges do you face as a filmmaker?
A lot! Like a lot, from the artist, crew, many. But it takes a heart of a man to control them, because if you don’t have a heart of Gold and a Good heart, you will be having issues and problems with everyone, because everyone needs your attention. It takes a heart to be a producer and director. It’s not easy at all.
How do you and your wife cope as both of you are busy film producers?
It doesn’t affect us much because we often go to movie locations together. By that I mean that she’s mostly on the jobs that I’m doing, whether mine or someone else’s, I always make sure she is part of it. As a woman that loves what she does, if I’m doing a movie and she’s not in it, she won’t feel good. And it’s good that she’s always on locations with me, that will calm her mind down. You know women and their jealousy. We try our best to achieve what is necessary for us and not to have problems.
You seem to be doing well and you look presentable. How do you handle attentions from ladies?
(Smiles) Well, that has been an issue from some of them, but I do what I need to do and have to do as a man, as a movie filmmaker, as good guy, as for who I am. I do my best because of my family.
Do you have children?
One child but he died a year ago…
Oh! So sorry…
He died after he was given birth to…a baby boy, it was and still is very painful, but God knows the best.
We’re really sorry about this.
Back to filmmaking. What would you consider your biggest movie so far?
I will say the biggest movie I’ve ever participated in the production is Lion of 76 by Izu Ojukwu. I was the production assistant. But as a DOP (Directory Of Photography) I’ll say it’s the movie I’m currently working on now in Lagos.
What makes your current project so big?
It’s a Netflix movie series by Chioma Okoye of Prnolly TV. It’s a two months project. It has a very good storyline and is being well directed by Chigozie Onu. The cast are big names in Nollywood. We have spent like 20 to 25 days now, still counting.
Which artists are in the project?
Mary Uranta, Lucy, Chioma Okoye, Mr Morgan, Linda Usufor…a lot of them.
Who are your mentors?
Ernest Obi, Desmond Elliot, Izu Ojukwu, Yanka Edward, as a cinematography and Lawrence Lurrenzo Onuzulike as an EP (Executive Producer).
If you had not become a movie producer, what would you have become?
A businessman to the core. I love business. I like buying and selling (trading), like owning a big supermarket or a big shop.
What should fans expect from you in the near future?
A lot! I should keep being their hero and making them happy and proud with my works.
Filmmaking can be very grueling. Do you ever have the time to relax?
Yes, I do give myself time to rest because body no be wood. I can’t come and kill myself.
What do you do for relaxation?
(Laughs) Most times with my woman at home, and sometimes outside the home with friends.
Do you enjoy listening to music?
Yes, so much. And I dance too! Music is one of my hobbies. Music, traveling, meeting people, making new friends, dancing, having sex, cooking, reading, dressing well, these are my hubbies.
Who are your favorite musicians?
Tuface, Timmaya, Tekno, PSquare, Davido, Kissdaniel, Patoranking, Flavour, Ayaka Ozobulu.
What are the challenges facing Nollywood?
A lot! Sex before given a movie role to a female artist, homosexual for men, collecting money from people in the name of movie or to give them jobs, challenging each other in diabolical ways (juju), unhealthy competitions.
What needs improving in Nollywood?
For this I’m talking on behalf of the crew members. We need to be recognized. Crew members need to be well taken care of just like the actors. We, the ones behind the scene, need to be valued and respected because we are the ones who make what you see on the screen. We need to be paid well. The crew members need to be treated well because we are the head of Nollywood.
Do the government have a role to play in Nollywood?
Yes, they do. They need to come in and play their part. They should at least help us build film villages, provide us with grants for making movies.
Thanks for speaking onitshagra.com.
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.