Exclusive Interview with Movie Producer Collins Archie-Pearce, he give us his view on African Movie Industry, what it feels like to be a producer and mainly about his new movie which will be premiered in London on the 25th of October 2013.
Tell us briefly about your self and your love for the entertainment Industry
I am a Sierra Leonean and a Film Producer, Promoter, Actor Script Writer and a Theatre Director. I have lived in the UK since 1991 and I have featured in several Nollywood Movies here in the UK, including: Rubicon, Amina, Shameful Deceit, Battered, “London na wa” etc. I produced the first ever Sierra Leonean movie “Perfect Plan” that was premiered in the UK in March 2012 and I’ve recently produced one of Africa’s biggest movies, titled “Ibu in Sierra Leone”.I am on the verge of producing another movie which is schedule to be shot in the UK later in the year. I am happily married with a wife and three children. I am in full time employment with London Underground Ltd, working as a Train Operations
Standards Manager, in which I manage the managers on the Bakerloo line. I have featured on national television here in the UK for the past nine years, playing the role of a business tycoon in a TV drama series titled “Everyday life” (which was showing on four sky television channels in the UK). I manage lots of top Nollywood Actors, including Patience Ozorkwo, Desmond Elliott, Van Vicker, Osita Iheme (Pawpaw), John Okafor (Mr Ibu), Chinere Wilfred, Okey Bakasi, Lanre Balagun, Anthony Monjero, Victoria Inyama, Atto Erick, Joannes Maier, Ifunaya Igwe, Adaeze Ngozi, etc. I also manage some Sierra Leone actors/ artist including Desmond Finney, Christiana Kamara, Tyroon Da Prince etc. I love promoting talented people and assist them in actualising their dream.I love the entertainment industry so much that I endeavour to attend each and every Nollywood or African function pertaining to the entertainment industry. I have also been hosting lots of entertainment events. I normally work with lots of entertainment organisers in preparing for their forth coming events and even go the extra mile to make the event a success.
Why did you choose to become a producer?
I chose to become a producer as a result of my managerial background and also taking into account my exceptional organisational skills. As an Actor, I have seen so many producers struggling to put together a flawless production and wasting unnecessary funds in getting things done. I have intervened in several occasions and the outcome has always been successful as a result of my intervention. I have been assisting so many Producers in the past and their feedback to me has been very encouraging. Finally, the main reason why I chose to be a producer is because some of the African movies that have produced have been far below acceptable standards; especially in the area of sound production and suspense. In view of the above, compounded with my professionalism, I was sensitised to start producing my own movies in order to raise the standard of African movies and to also put my beloved country, Sierra Leone, on the map.
Among all the comedians in Nollywood, why did you choose Mr Ibu?
Mr Ibu is worldly recognised and also one of the best Comedy Actors Nollywood has ever produced. Prior to choosing Mr Ibu, I did some research and also gave out questionnaires to family and friends, requesting them complete. Some of the questions were:
What type of movie do you like to watch?
Who would you like to see featuring in that movie?
Who is your best comedian? Who is your best actor?
What type of movie would you also like to watch apart from your first choice?What would you like to see done in a movie? Etc.
Honestly speaking, 98% of people who completed the questionnaire chose Mr Ibu and comedy movie. Majority also stated that they would like to see Mr Ibu featuring in action movies. Due to the fact that Mr Ibu has never been to Sierra Leone prior to shooting my movie, I deemed it fit to get him to feature in the movie so that Sierra Leoneans would be extremely happy to see him acting in their country. Lastly, because I manage Mr Ibu, it would be expedient and easy for me to feature him in my movie.
What instigated you to make this movie?
I was instigated to do this movie because my country Sierra Leone in under-represented in the creative/ entertainment industry and we are not known to produce movies. It is certain that Sierra Leoneans are talented and could even equate some top Nollywood actors, but because they are not been privilege to be given the exposure, they are not known in the Diaspora. Doing this movie with 80% of the cast are Sierra Leoneans, compounded with the fact that this movie is going places, I vehemently believe that the western world and other parts of Africa will see Sierra Leonean actors manifesting their talents. Secondly, I wanted to team up Sierra Leoneans, Nigerians and Gambians to come together to act a world class movie, as a symbol of unity and collaboration between the various countries.
What challenges did you face trying to shot in Sierra Leone?
I faced so many challenges shooting the movie in Sierra Leone, but due to my excellent managerial and organisationally skills, I was able to overcome most of them. Some of the challenges include: getting casts to report at location on time. It was very difficult to achieve that, as most Africans don’t usually keep to time and it was virtually impossible to change their mindsets. I struggled in that area but was later able to get their full cooperation. The biggest challenge I faced was electricity/ power supply. As you all know, it’s very difficult to shoot a movie using a generator, as the noise mostly filters into the recording system. That was my biggest challenge, but we were able to overcome it by using an extra long adaptor cable extension, which was over 50 metres long, thereby keeping the generator noise away from location. Another challenge I face was getting the crowd (non casts) to stay away from the view of the camera. This was very difficult to get them away as they wanted to see the action unfold. Challenge like not having the complete production kits was another challenge. Noise from neighbours whose resident are much closed to location was another big challenge. The media and reporters were constantly chasing us for interviews and appearances and this was taking most of our limited time. Lastly majority of the residents around location wanted to see Mr Ibu and they were always on location shouting his name.
Was mr Ibu an easy actor to work with?
Mr Ibu is very easy to work with and he happens to be very modest and friendly. He happens to be the best actor I have ever worked with and I will recommend him to any Producer or Director looking for a professional Nollywood Actor.Tell us a little more about the crew and how they worked together as a team to achieve success in the movie.
The Director John Solo, is the best script writer in Sierra Leone, who has been training movie directors as well. He was trained by the British media personnel in Sierra Leone and he has made a name for himself in the movie industry in Sierra Leone. He has been in the business for over 15 years. He is very professional and knows a lot about film directing/ making. He was able to fit in well with the production team and worked together to achieve our goal. The D.O.P is Raymond Finney and he happens to be the brother of the lead actor Desmond Finney. Raymond Finney has been doing the DOP and editing jobs for over two decades now and he is one of the best DOPs in Sierra Leone. He is very professional in what he does and he was always the first crew member to report to location during the shooting of the movie. Raymond worked as a team in such a professional manner that I was inclined to personally commend him as the best DOP I have ever worked with. In short, the crew worked diligently to ensure the production is completed before my departure date. They synergised accordingly to ensure we didn’t cut corners, but professionally addressed each and every scene. It wasn’t easy to get the full cooperation of the team at the start, but I had to again use managerial skills to get their full cooperation. Desmond Finney played the lead role and has been in the business for over two decades. He’s featured in over 15 Nollywood Movies and 30 African/ Sierra Leone movies. Mr Ibu played the supporting lead role and was extremely brilliant. Ifunanya Igwe from Nollywood, (Nollywood fastest upcoming actress), was extremely fantastic. She showed total commitment to the task and was a role model to some of the junior actresses. Fatima Jabbe was in a league of her own, her performance was out of this world and I wouldn’t be surprised if she is awarded best actress for 2013/14. I was at my best and I proved to the world that I am not only a producer but a world class actor. We were all pulling our weight and gave our ultimate best to ensure was achieve our goal.
How do you find working in Nollywood As a non Nigerian?
I find it a pleasure working with Nollywood and I am extremely grateful to them for accommodating me, a Sierra Leonean. It’s a great experience working with them, as they have set the pace and paved the way for other African countries to follow suit and they have also produced superb producers and directors. Working with them helps me to hone my skills and enhance my overall performance in the industry. I learn from them all the time I work with them and I ensure I make good use of what is being inculcated into me. In short, I find working with Nollywood a great experience and an opportunity to gain more skills, knowledge and experience in the act of film making.
Leaving in London and travelling to Sierra Leone to work, what kind of challenges did you face?
Leaving in London and travelling to Sierra Leone to shoot a movie is very challenging, but the good news is, that’s my motherland and it was like going back home. I indeed face some challenges which include: to get time off work to travel to Sierra Leone, to transport the main actors from London and Nigeria to Sierra Leone and to also work towards a deadline as I needed be back in the UK within a specified time. Other challenges I face was the weather in Sierra Leone, as it was too hot to contend with. The traffic congestion was another challenge which was making crew members and casts getting to location late.
Who are the directors or producers that motivate you in the movie industry?
Emem Isong and Tchidi Chekere from Nigeria, and Obi Emerloyne from the UK. They all are very close friends of mine.
Who are you expecting at the premiere of Ibu In Sierra Leone and what other countries are you going to be premiering in the future?
I am expecting some top dignitaries from Sierra Leone to attend the premiere and the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the UK will definitely be attending as well. Mr Ibu should be attending and most likely Desmond Finney (played the lead role), from Sierra Leone. If all goes according to plan, Ifunanya Igwe from Nigeria should also be attending and a suprise guest. Fatima Jabbe and all the Sierra Leonean actors and artist will be attending to show their support. I should be premiering the movie in 5 countries, namely London 25/10/2013, USA (Maryland, Virginia & Washington) on 21/12/2013, Sierra Leone 25 &26 December 2013 and 1st January 2014. Nigeria and Ghana – date to be announced in due course.
What are you hoping to achieve at the end of the premiere?
I hope to achieve great success. My aim is to get as many people as possible to watch the movie, which will in turn reveal to the world that Sierra Leone is also doing great in the movie industry. Secondly, I want the world to see African movies taking a different dimension, thereby elevating African movies to another level. I also want to be recognised as a prolific Sierra Leone film producer who aims to put his country on the map. Lastly I want my movie to be nominated for different awards.