In the dynamic world of Nollywood, a perpetual wellspring of creativity, Feranmi Oyalowo stands as a noteworthy contributor, adding his unique touch to the vibrant tapestry of Nigerian entertainment. Navigating the Yoruba arm of the film industry, Feranmi emerges as a distinct and familiar face, leaving an indelible mark with his storytelling prowess.
In an exclusive interview with On Screen, Feranmi Oyalowo opens up about his journey, emphasizing the integral role he plays in the creation of content that forms the cornerstone of Nigerian entertainment. As a testament to his dedication, Feranmi delves into the intricacies of paying his dues within the industry, a journey marked by perseverance and passion.
With a cinematic vision that resonates with audiences, Feranmi expresses his genuine love for crafting excellent stories. His commitment to storytelling reflects not only in the characters brought to life on screen but also in the narratives that captivate and resonate with the diverse audience of Nollywood.
As the interview unfolds, Feranmi Oyalowo’s insights provide a glimpse into the dynamic landscape of the Yoruba film industry, showcasing the relentless pursuit of excellence that propels the industry forward. In a world where Nollywood continually evolves, Feranmi stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity that defines this captivating realm of Nigerian entertainment.
Did you always want to be an entertainer?
Yes, it was always a dream for me.
How come you didn’t study theatre or performing arts?
My parents wanted me to be a medical doctor, and I needed to be obedient.
Most people attempt to launch into the industry without paying their dues or serving. What was your own entry like?
I paid my dues, and I paid in full. When I was a teenager, I joined an acting group called Afeez Sanyaolu Films Production. I was there for four years before I left when I gained admission to the polytechnic. It was during my days in school that I joined another movie group, Odunlade Adekola Films Production (OAFP), owned by Odunlade Adekola. I was a student in this organisation for five years acquiring knowledge and wisdom. All these were with rehearsals, exams, practicals, theories, visibility… as an apprentice in OAFP. So, I paid my dues for a long time.
Do you believe that in any way contributed to your success?
Yes. I would say perseverance, consistency, prayer, being a student under a great man, Ambassador Odunlade Adekola who impacted lots of knowledge and understanding in us his students, which is all that it’s takes to be a great person in our chosen field.
You have focused on the Yoruba arm of Nollywood, any plans to diversify?
Feranmi Oyalowo is fast becoming a household name, so I’m not limited or classified as a stereotyped actor. I am an open island, ready for opportunities. With time I know more opportunities will come.
Tell us about your latest projects.
My latest films are ‘Tomori’, an emotional family story; ‘Ajantete’, another emotional story; and ‘Alakija’, a multi-million Naira project. Alakija is the story of a powerful woman who believes nobody can cross her path and go free. All these stories are wonderful, just like Akanni Ekun.
Looks, talent or training, which would you say is key to be successful in showbiz?
I’ll say talent, in a way. But sometimes certain things work better than talent, looks or training. Grace, consistency and prayer. Basically, I think with God, grace, talent and consistency, you have the key to a successful showbiz career.
When you set out to produce your first movie, what prompted the idea into you to become a producer?
I wanted to be more visible, introducing my name to the world because as at that time I did not think anyone believed in me by giving me many roles in their movies. I felt it’s a means of introducing myself to the world. My first movie was Adeolu Ariwo.
Of all the movies you have produced, which was the most challenging, and what were some of the challenges you encountered?
My most challenging movie ‘Akanni Ekun’. The character was a bit heavy for an up-and-coming actor that was not well known. Many people doubted my ability to pull it off.
I was really scared of taking that role, but with the help of God Almighty, the producer (FMD Entertainment), my mother who stood her ground and encouraged me not to drop the role and with faith as a believer, it came to reality. That was the movie that brought me to limelight, it was my breakthrough.
Piracy continues to be the bottleneck of the success of many producers in Nigeria, what is your opinion on the way forward?
I pray things would get better. It is killing the business and even investors are scared of investing in filmmaking, but if our governments intervene, I guess there will be better changes.
Would you advise filmmakers to jump on trends in the themes of their movies or rather go with the actual interest of their stories?
I am a story person; good stories make me happy. I prefer maintaining a good story than forfeiting it for memes because a good story lasts a lifetime and you don’t know who your story might help by watching it.
How do you handle advances from female colleagues and fans of the opposite sex?
Females are like our mothers, you just have to be polite in dealing with them, whether it’s a fan or a colleague; both ways you must maintain respect even if you’re not interested.