Film

Film Africa starts today 30 October: Quick Chat with “FOR MARIA EBUN PATAKI” director Damilola Orimogunje

Damilola Orimogunje

Orimogunje is a screenwriter and film director who began writing at a very tender age, writing columns for many Nigerian newspapers like The Punch and The Guardian. Graduating with a B.Sc. in Mass Communication from Caleb University, Lagos, Nigeria. Since he has worked with production outlets like Lagos Television, Royal Roots, Mnet and FilmOne as a content producer or writer. In 2014, he won the United Nations sponsored Homevida Short Script competition.  His short films have been selected and screened in over 40 film festivals including Luxor African Film Festival, The African Film Festival, African International Film Festival, Lake International Pan African Film Festival, winning awards for Best Short and Best Actor. 

Taking inspiration from the works of Wong Kar-Wai and Ingmar Bergman, he likes to bring subjects like love and depression to the center of his work. His most recent short film is titled Losing My Religion and is adapted from the short-story Losing My Religion from the book Bury Me Come Sunday Afternoon by Nigerian-American writer, Nike Campbell-Fatoki. As part of the 2020 Film Africa festival you can catch his latest feature FOR MARIA EBUN PATAKI and Online Watch Party + Live Director Q&A (World Premiere) screening in the Beyond Nollywood strand curated by Nadia Denton. It will take place on Sunday 1st November online. ALT A in keeping you up to speed on your film content and supporting independent African diaspora filmmakers ALT spoke to Orimogunje about his film and it not being a “Nollywood” film.

What was the motivation behind telling this story about depression? The ignorance on this subject (postpartum depression), in Nigeria unfortunately, it’s never been the subject of a film. I hope the film reshapes the wrongdoings in society on how people who suffer this from depression are treated. I hope it transcends beyond just a film and births other initiatives like mental health awareness seminar sessions.  

When you saw that your film was selected for Film Africa how did you feel?

I was excited because the first audience of the film is the UK audience which has a mix of many Nigerians and people with deeply rooted culture that’s similar to Nigeria where the film is set. Also, it is an important period where with Covid and lockdown, we get to talk about one of the subjects which is mental health as it is accentuated in the film. 

What have been the challenges to making the film: what are some of the lessons learnt?

Major challenge was funding but we triumphed by making it on a low budget and intensive planning that kept us very strict to our shoot schedule. I cannot think of any lessons now but it was a fun journey which I’d love to do again with everyone part of the process. 

Where was it shot and on what camera was it shot on?

The film was shot in Lagos on a Blackmagic pocket Cinema Camera?

Why is this not a Nollywood film?

Contemporary Nollywood mostly focuses on glamor and luxury, I’ve particularly always been interested in telling stories of working-class and ordinary family characters. It is important for me to be real, as real as a documentary. Many Nollywood films lack this and this was a choice to make the film as simple and relatable as possible. This also influenced the use of Yoruba language in the film. Many Nollywood films depend solely on good production design and achievements in cinematography. I love good pictures and ensured the film had an aesthetic beauty, plus sombre and intense music to aid the emotional realism. 

What makes a good director?

The ability to create and master a true and unique voice and the guts to never lose it. 

As you see what is happening in Nigeria with SARS what is your hope?

The last few weeks have been high-spirited and distressing too. But I’m glad the youth had one unified voice and I’m looking forward to us changing this great nation. I hope for a new Nigeria where police brutality and political corruption becomes a myth. 

Which filmmakers do you admire the most?

Wong Kar-Wai, Ingmar Bergman, Krzysztof Kieslowski. 

Where: Sunday 1 November | 18:30 | BFI Player & Facebook.

The 9th edition of Film Africa, takes place from Friday 30 October to Sunday 8 November 2020. Showcasing 46 titles from 14 different African countries, including 25 UK, European and World premieres, this year’s festival is yet another exciting and eclectic collection of some of the best contemporary cinema stemming from Africa and its global diaspora.

%d bloggers like this: