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‘My vision is to train a new generation of filmmakers’

Kunle Afolayan is an actor, a filmmaker, producer and director. The Kwara State indigene of Yoruba descent is the chief executive officer of Golden Effects Pictures, a Nigerian film production company incorporated in 2005. He is a holder of BSc degree in Economics and started out working in a bank before acquiring a diploma certificate in digital filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in 2005 to fully take on filmmaking. Afolayan is a son of the legendary theatre and film director, Ade Love. Since 2005, he has been active in the Nigerian film industry and has made several films including The Figurine: Araromire which won five major awards in the African Film Academy and was successful in Nigerian movie theaters. Afolayan also produced Phone Swap which featured Wale Ojo, Joke Silva, Nse Ikpe Etim and Chika Okpala. Other films from his company include Irapada, October 1, Roti, Omugwo, The Tribunal, The CEO and Mokalik.In 2021, the popular filmmaker struck a deal with Netflix to make three feature films, including a screen adaptation of Sefi Atta’s book, Swallow, which was premiered recently. He also launched the Kunle Afolayan Production (KAP), cinema, film and television academy, Afefeyeye restaurant and bar. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he shares his passion for filmmaking and his landmark achievements in the industry.

You have premiered your latest film and now marking your birthday. How do you feel? I thank God for everything and I am glad. For me, my vision has always been to follow my dreams but at the same time set some sort of legacy that will help train a new generation of filmmakers. And I am glad that as I turn a year older today, it is a landmark because we are also unveiling the creative hub where people can come, watch movies, eat, drink and have fun.

How long did it take you to conceptualise the Kunle Afolayan Production hub? I really can’t put a time to it, but we have been in this premises and we put up another building beside it, which we started using in 2019. It took us another one year to complete the others and here we are.

Why the movie, Swallow? It is an adaptation of the book called Swallow. I just decided to retain the original name of the book. The movie revolves around a woman who begins to consider going into drug trafficking in mid-80s in Lagos.

You are known to churn out movies that stand the test of time and relive memories. What inspires them? I think it is just God, nothing more. God has blessed me so much to give my all in my productions.

When you are not doing movies, what are you doing? I am always doing film somehow. When I watch a film, I watch to enjoy and at the same time to learn, but I hangout with friends. I have a family; my children, I spend time with them.

Share with us some of the challenges you must have faced carrying out your work? I honestly can’t remember. Challenges will always be there, but the thing with me is that once I can tackle them, I move on and leave every other thing behind to what’s next.

In your years of running this business, what life principles have you learnt? Take and give, that is life. If you are taking, then you must give. I believe that this is meant to happen, and that is why it is happening.

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