By Archibong Jeremiah
Ugah, Elizabeth Daniels, a film maker from Obudu Local Government Area in Cross River state has said that the spirit of entertainment has left the state and blamed the immediate past state government for not doing enough to develop the industry in the state.
The Lagos based movie producer barred her mind in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch.
Her words: “Few years back, I smiled with so much pride that entertainment is fast growing in my state Cross River, to me it seems that spirit of entertainment has left the state, the past government did the best they could, but honestly I feel more could have been done.
“I seriously cannot wait for the state to bounce back in this present administration. They are a host of talents across the entertainment strata in Cross River State, and sadly our entertainers now have to leave the state in search of greener pastures in bigger cities like Lagos. They is a general perception that one cannot ‘blow’ while in Calabar.
“The government needs to do more, to foster an agenda for the growth and development of the entertainment industry, not just by establishing state of the art studio and production outfit, but by also making it accessible and affordable for the teeming youths of the state. They also need to engage policy making, with a deliberate consciousness to bring about long term growth and development for the youths in the state”.
On her journey into entertainment, she said: “Through series of fated events, I found myself in the entertainment business just after my Bachelor Degree in Social Works, from the University of Calabar. Passion for change prompted me into entertainment; I felt and still feel that I have something to offer. After attending Royal Art Academy, being around film makers, the beauty and activity of creativity captivated me”.
Her movie FOLLY was nominated for the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award, AMVCA 2015 but didn’t win any award, here’s her reaction to that:
“The news of my movie getting nominated at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award, AMVCA didn’t come as much as a surprise to me and my team at all; FOLLY had already grabbed four awards out of 8 category nominations at Cross River State Movie Awards, CRSMA.
“The categories of awards received are: best editing, best make up, Gaffer of the year and best screenplay, among other category nominations which include movie of the year.
“AMVCA 2015 has come and gone, early this year, we didn’t pick any award, but being nominated, was enough motivation for a brighter future. I and my team put in a lot of hard work, to achieve a good movie like FOLLY in spite of the many challenges we faced during production”.
Elizabeth revealed that the movie FOLLY was screened and premiered in New York City, Washington DC, Lagos State and Cross River State (Calabar). “I just couldn’t help but bless God when my colleagues, friends and family where calling in and congratulating me”, she said. Adding that, “I made my first screen debut in 2011 in catwalk series, and in late 2012, I produced my first movie “Behind the Melody” starring Ini Edo, Jim Iyke, Kenya borne Millicent Mugadi and a host of others.”
When asked about sexual harassment in the industry here’s what she said:
“Sexual harassment has become the order of the day in most professions. I hope an organization can be formed to look into such unprofessional acts. Even in our university campuses, it’s a show of shame how lecturers frustrate students shamelessly. I have come across a lot of stories of sexual harassment from young upcoming actresses, but I have never had a personal experience of such.
“I have never been harassed by any director or producer before giving me movie roles. Maybe because I’m my own boss; I bring my crew members, and we diligently work on any of my movie project together, the movie goes out and makes returns, with that I can’t categorically say a lot about sexual harassment in the industry”.
She encouraged her colleagues from the State who are doing very well in the industry to give back to their home, Cross River State, as she does by donating to orphanages and NGO’s. “With lot of experienced hands, I see no reason why more movie production cannot be done in the state, she lamented, disclosing that, she and her team are currently working on a project for the state and audition will begin as soon as they have a date”.
The Obudu thespian applauded some of her professional organizations for their contribution to the growth of the industry and urged them not to relent, “I want to salute these bodies, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Performing Musicians Associations of Nigeria (PMNA), Cross River State Movie Awards (CRMA), and other bodies for their contributions made so far, please be encouraged to put more effort”.
She also had best wishes for her colleagues in the state and encouraged them to keep dreaming big. “To all the entertainers in Cross River who are still keeping the passion and working, I wish you all the best that anyone can achieve. Dare to keep dreaming big, for dreams are valid”.
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