By Christian Agadibe
Sola Fosudo is a veteran actor, director, producer and lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU). He has featured in Nollywood’s blockbusters such as Glamour Girls, Rituals, Strange Ordeal, True Confession, Iyawo Alhaji, Bling Lagosian, and Arbitration among others.
In this exclusive interview, Fosudo talks about acting, reasons he’s not been much active in the movie industry, and his new project, Campus Talent Naija. Here are excerpts:
What project are you currently working on?
There is this project we have been working on since last year. It is called ‘Campus Talent Naija’. It’s a high breed talent hunt programme, which later would transit into ‘Campus Talent Naija House’ reality show. We thought that the Nigerian youth particularly those who are still in the campus should be well engaged to do things that are productive, things that would make them try out their skills, talents and knowledge, as the programme is going to be very creative. It’s not just performing act or music or drama, it’s also fashioned along the America Got Talent show. So, anything at all that you can bring onboard is welcome. But of course, we are domiciling it within the campuses, as the contestants are going to be representatives of their schools, and this would be attached to their names. This is to generate interest within the institutions so that when it’s time for voting for their preferred participants, it would create lots of interest in for instance, institutions like Colleges of Education, Colleges of Technology etc.
What are the winning prizes for the reality show?
The first prize is N25 million with an SUV. But out of that, N15 million will be for the institution, because the prize would not only be for the contestant but also for the school. The second prize is N15 million out of which is N10 million for the institution, and the third prize is N10 million with N5 million going to the school. Of course, these figures are a bit modest, as we are praying to get big sponsors that will raise the stake.
What role are you playing in the production of the reality show?
I am doubling as the producer alongside Ambassador Dr. Edward Olutoke.
Aside this project what else are you doing?
I am doing so many things, but currently I got appointed as the administrator of Badagry Theatre.
We’ve not been seeing you in movies lately, what happens?
I have been acting but I don’t feature in so many movies. Back in those days, the few I featured in were of good standards and were appreciated. But now, the truth is, there is a deluge of video films in the country; as we speak a lot of people are on location right now. These days, if you have 5,000 of these movies released, you will have to search very well before you can get three or four out of them that are good. Today, there are so many new actors out there, so you hardly see old actors in movies.
You appear in TV series more than movies, is there a reason for that?
It all depends on how you are invited. So, I get called more for the series.
Would you say the Nigerian movie industry has improved compared to what obtained in the ‘90s?
Comparatively, there have been lots of developments. The Nigerian film industry is now globally known. Nollywood is a global brand and some of our films have been winning awards abroad. But a lot still needs to be done in terms of training and infrastructure. Film is different from video; it’s just that now due to technology one can produce film on digital camera and show it in a cinema house. Film is referred to as cinema and the cinema culture is just picking up in Nigeria. So, we are going to see a lot of Nigerian films going to the cinema. I was in Bling Lagosian even though I played a cameo role. I was also in Arbitration.
Are you in anyway threatened by the young generation of actors coming into the industry?
Threatened? No, why would I be threatened? There are two things: I am training the younger ones in the university; some of these young actors are our students; so that is a contribution. And then, one cannot be competing (with them) because roles differ; we have roles for young and older people.
What do you dislike in Nollywood that you would like to change?
Instead of dislike, I would say I am not pleased with the attention not given to training. I think by now Nigeria should have a high-grade film-training institute. Or rather, in our universities there should be film departments where people can be trained not only in performing arts but also in technology. These we don’t have, we still more or less depend on on-the-job-training.
What would you say about Buhari’s administration concerning the movie industry?
Don’t let us talk about Buhari’s administration, because I am not sure they have helped anybody. In terms of culture, arts and entertainment, the government is a disaster. I am not sure they are interested in all that. You can’t see a major percentage of northerners promoting culture, arts or entertainment, even though a few of them are making efforts in Kannywood. In deed, a bulk of what is happening in the industry happens in the south.
Does it mean there is no plan by the present administration to build a world standard movie village?
Former President (Goodluck) Jonathan tried to do this at different times, he mapped out some money, which was domiciled in Bank of Industry and many artistes accessed the funds and produced films. That’s a responsive government, but I am not sure the present government knows what Nollywood is all about.