Orok Duke Jr. is a prolific film maker who describes himself as a constantly evolving director with an insatiable thirst for new experiences and challenges as well as a dangerous imagination. Schooled in the United Kingdom, Orok, (MetalDuke), as he is called professionally is currently doing his NYSC with EbonyLife TV at Tinapa.
Born and raised mostly in southern Nigeria, Orok Duke has always been an avid daydreamer and story teller. While nurturing his growing love for cinema, he developed his visual signature via intensive studies in Fine Arts through secondary school and A-levels. He took up Media Production in The American Intercontinental University of London, where he specialised in directing & producing. After receiving BA & BFA honours, he further pursued his passion for cinema via a Filmmaking MA course at the renowned London Film School. Now a London based film director, he aims to bring passion, and contribute to the industry. Death, love, reality and the desire to escape from it! Those are the various themes that inspire his film making. He aims to reveal alternative, twisted views of serious subject matters, through strong, unique, visual crafting.
His film won an award as the best short foreign film in the Abuja International Film Festival last year. His new film “Awaiting Lazarus” has again been nominated in the same category this year. Currently holidaying in London, MetalDuke, son of former Cross River State legislator, writer and poet, Orok Duke, in this interview with CrossRiverWatch in his London base says he is flattered by the nomination.
You won an award at the Abuja International Film Festival last year and your film, “Awaiting Lazarus” has been nominated again this year, how do you feel?
First of all, I am flattered that you have considered my progress, as a subject matter worth discussing. I’ll now proceed to answer your questions, as best as I can. Personally I’m surprised. I usually throw so much of myself into my work, and forget any credit I may or may not deserve. That being said, it is flattering, and I’m glad the Nigerian people consider my work as something worth looking out for.
What is “Awaiting Lazarus” about?
Here’s a nice, brief synopsis for “Awaiting Lazarus”; a secret society with a keen interest in the occult gathers for one of its regular ceremonies. Its members are tricked into performing a forbidden ritual and unleash a dangerous spirit in the house. Each member struggles to survive the night, and unravel the traitor amongst them.
Are you planning to do films that will mirror our own local Cross River narrative?
Yes, it definitely is on the list of things I’m planning to do throughout my journey. However I’m not sure what you mean by “narrative”. I am more than happy to support and create good, reputable work that is influenced by the culture and spirit of our people.
From your experience in Europe, what do you think are the challenges of film making in our State, Cross River?
I’d not associate any challenges with Cross River alone, but the country in general. Nigeria is full of creative, intelligent people. However there are many things that hold our film industry back in my opinion. There are many upcoming film enthusiasts with good intentions, who lack the training, know-how or any sort of education related to the matter. In fact, we lack decent film or cinema-going culture as a whole. This is why people may not understand how to create or understand the creative process in an efficient manner. In the end, these are just challenges and are by no means insurmountable.
What plans do you have for your career in the make-believe industry?
My plans remain the same, as they did before I started chasing the dream. I want to create films that are daring, entertaining and reflective of my chaotic psyche. I also want to develop my craft over the years, in order to reach something close to my full potential. I’ll have to disagree with you on the “Make believe” term there. Film/movies/video is a medium, just like others. It has been used to create experiences that have inspired people to achieve greatness. Tales have been told that people can relate to, and even learn from. Even some of the best fantasy tales are rooted in life’s hard lessons, or experiences. Actors, crew and the magic of cinema are part of a vast box of tools, to grab the attention, and touch the lives of an audience. For me, film making is absolutely NOT make believe.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.