‘Nwaanyi Ike’ will revolutionise Igbo series production –

In this interview, Bioluvativ Akinyemi A chat with “Nwaanyi Ike” director Victor Okpala about the African Magic original series and how it will impact the industry and society as a whole.

What do you think the Igbo section of Nollywood portends. Will this encourage more stakeholders?

I think more producers should be encouraged to produce content in local languages. We are all for Nwaanyi Ike. If you look at the production value, the team that handles it, the crew, the cast and everything, we want all the costumes. We spare no expense because we only want the best. If you do it well, as long as it’s a good story that grabs people’s attention and gets people’s attention, people will watch; even with subtitles or dubbing. So, language is no longer a barrier.

Directing a 26-episode series is no easy feat. What challenges did you face on set?

With Indigenous language content, you are doing double duty. First, the script is in English, and then you have to work with the writers to make them understand… because it’s not just about speaking Igbo; you have to deal with the nuances of the language, you have to be familiar with them. There are idioms and metaphors. Translating from English to Igbo, you have to deal with timing. If you’re British, actors read the script, internalize it, shoot it; it’s then translated into the language they have to speak the way you want it to be spoken. You have to narrow it down to Central Igbo. It is not easy to get everyone from different parts of the Igbo dialect to speak as much of the central dialect as possible. So it’s very challenging. This is time consuming. In the past, when you filmed two or three English scenes, we only filmed one. If you want to make a good work, you must follow these procedures. For me, as a perfectionist as I like to call myself, I have to get it right. There is no middle ground.

What do you think is unique about this Igbo series?

This is unique because many Igbo people don’t want to tell this story. Not a pleasant story – trying to wrest power from men and give it to women. But I’m a different type of Igbo. I believe in empowering women. I believe this girl should rule the world. So yeah, I’m telling about The Untold and I’m glad a lot of people liked it, that’s what supports the movement.

Africa Magic and MultiChoice’s investment in Nollywood has raised the bar for movies and now series. What is your outlook for the industry and its stakeholders?

I am so grateful for the huge impact MultiChoice has had on me in Nollywood. I would say that the survival of Nollywood is largely dependent on the channel’s investment in the industry. Year after year, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment are being made. It’s a huge investment, and they keep homes alive; jobs put on people’s desks; and a lot of stuff. They did a great job and I’m grateful for them. Nollywood’s influence cannot be quantified.

This series is said to be the first original Igbo series about African magic, on GOtv to be precise. What was the rationale behind this agreement between the production team (of which you are a part) and the Multichoice Entertainment team?

I didn’t intend to do a series in an indigenous language. I want to do it in English. In fact, when I came up with the idea, it was written in English. As the conversation progressed, a twist occurred. Producers insisted that it seemed appropriate for a particular channel due to the peculiarities of the story. I was asked if I could make it in Igbo and I said yes. As an independent producer, I do a few things. I have produced several series and films in Igbo language for Africa Magic Channel. And so began the journey. Based on everything people are really used to, I very much doubt people’s acceptance of it. But I also know taste buds are different. So I know that if we do something good and do something really interesting, people will follow. I have had this concern from the beginning.

Nwaanyi Ike epitomizes Nigerian society. How does it affect or promote family values ​​and was this planned from the start?

What I’m going to do is make a great show in the language my client (ie the channel) wants the show to be in, and that’s what I’m going to do. I want to address the inequality among women in Ibolan, where a woman cannot inherit from her father simply because she is a woman, whether she is the first child or not. I find this very odd.

This is unacceptable to me as a human being. Then, my first child happened to be a girl, and I was thinking, if for any reason I were to write a will for my child, I would leave my daughter out. I think this problem has to be solved. A few years ago, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision on the issue, lingering in the courtroom for more than 20 years. I say this needs to be told. If there were to be a follow-up series, we’d focus on how the judiciary can help calm bias tensions between men and women. So I think that should be the unifying factor for the people. Tribalism must be avoided.

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