Fabian Adeoye Lojede is a Nigerian actor, producer, director and creative entrepreneur who is currently based in South Africa. He found fame in the Pan-African TV series Jacob’s Cross where he played the intriguing character, Bayo Abayomi. Lojede has featured in other productions such as the critically acclaimed ‘Man on Ground’ which he co-produced as well as Kunle Afolayan’s ‘October 1’. Recently, he produced and starred in ‘Comatose’, a film which focuses on the global debate of Euthanasia. The film is part of his Pan-African initiative and stars Nigerian actress Bimbo Akintola.
Lojede recently spoke to eelive.ng about his passion and the changes he would love to see in the Nigeria Film Industry.
You have operated as a creative in Africa’s two largest countries, how do you compare the film and television drama business in Nigeria and South Africa where you seem to have practised more?
Well, the local South African industry is more of a government-funded industry outside of the foreign film service industry which is still attracted to South Africa by the government incentives. The Nigerian industry on the other hand is private funded which means it is an industry in the true sense of the word. I think more government incentives is needed in the Nigerian industry to make it more competitive internationally; and to get more international productions to be shot in Nigeria to help give Nigeria creatives a platform outside of the traditional Nollywood market; ensuring that local films get enough running time versus international films; exempting films made at certain low budgets from taxes; the money you don’t take at times is as good as giving money. Protecting filmmakers from exploitative practises from both local and international distributors and exhibitors. Of the three major film industries in the world, US, India and Nigeria, Nigeria is the only one that doesn’t have a clearly defined tax or financial incentive backed by the government.
What major reforms would you want to see in the Nigeria film industry, things that would make it attain its potential?
We need a Co-production treaty, this will enable our creatives to get on productions outside of just Nollywood films but will help build bigger profiles and stars which eventually help build a bigger market for Nollywood. This will also help some of our technical guys to work on bigger budget films to horn their skills. We’ve got the talent they just don’t have enough production platforms to showcase them on. I think local producers need to be protected from being bullied or exploited by the chain of distribution and exhibition both locally and internationally.
From acting, you are now a producer and director, what informed this progression and what are the lessons that each of these roles have taught you?
Well, I have been a producer for a longer time than I have been an actor. I started by producing TV commercials which I still do through my production company 1Take Media.
I would say I honed my directing skills on radio, directing radio dramas. Producing is tough, you must see the whole picture, not just the creative but the business side as well. As a creative I tend to see that most producers think it’s mostly about the business side and not the balance of the two. I believe that each project demands angle to one side of the balance depending on the objective, the problem really comes when people can’t agree on what that objective is. Directing on the other hand, really gives me the creative control I lack as an actor on other people’s projects.
How many projects are you working on now?
Wow quite a few. I’m currently shooting a new international TV series in Cape town, which we are not allowed to mention until we wrap.
In development we have a Pan – African music drama series called Eko Vibes, a documentary Omo Egun, which is about tracing my family’s masquerade history and lineage in Abeokuta. I have also gotten the blessing from the Thomas Sankara family to develop a feature on the great Pan- African leader. I visited his family house and his village an amazing and humbling experience. It left me with hope that if we could produce one of him we can produce more.
I’m also in post for my short titled EJE and I have a few productions coming out like, Heavens Hell which opened May 10 in Nigeria A film with Kate Henshaw directed by Akin Omotoso, produced by Ego Boyo, Ghost and the House of Truth coming out end of the year.A series I did with Yomi Black Jelli and Clitoris. My own production Comatose with Bimbo Akintola which we just released the teaser trailer for