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Interview with “Becoming Abi” star  Bolu Essien now on Netflix

Interview with “Becoming Abi” star  Bolu Essien now on Netflix

A driven young creative in Lagos lands her dream job at a leading advertising agency and navigates the corporate ladder in hopes of making it big. Set in Nigerian workplace dramedy series created, written, co-directed, and produced by Bolu Essien who also plays the titular character,

  1. How do you think audiences will relate?

All it screams is relatability and that has been the feedback so far. Viewers can connect to Abi and the realities around her as well as connect to the other characters, either as a reflection of them or someone they know. But a lot of people will disagree that Shai reflects their character or personality (laughs)

  1. What attracted you to writing/directing?

A sense of purpose. As I was graduating from the university over 10 years ago, I began to understand that I wanted to become a creator, and creating starts from writing, so I spent time praying and asking God for an expansion. Since then, I began to develop my voice as a writer. As a director, I started from church, where I directed plays, and also during my university days when I directed school film projects and some stage plays. However, to harness the skill better, I started studying the works of other directors before plunging into it with my first documentary titled Scars of Honour, which is a riveting documentary that focuses on destigmatizing the perception that women who choose Caesarean Section as a mode of child delivery are weak or lacking in faith. My most recent work in this regard is Becoming Abi which I co-directed.

  1. Explain the journey to Netflix? 

My partner and I decided to produce and fund this project with support from a few friends and when we were done, we shared it with FilmOne, one of Africa’s leading distributors. FilmOne was excited about it so they shared it with Netflix and Netflix loved it… and here we are. 

  1. Tell us about Evolving Light Studios? 

We start by saying ‘if it is not creative, we are not doing it’. At Evolving Light Studios, we want to tell stories people can relate to, stories that people can feel and touch because it mirrors their experiences or has characters that they can relate with – this is exactly what we have done with Becoming Abi.

  1. What does a streaming platform give you that was not there before? 

You can’t light a candle and put it under a bushel, it needs to be seen – this is the value that the streamers bring. Good content needs exposure and with access to our content, viewers can be entertained, new avenues for partnerships are opening up, and our work is traveling across borders faster than we would have imagined.

  1. Tell us about Abi’s motivation?

Abi’s motivation or her drive was essentially to “Become”, and I say so because Abi is a person who wasn’t sure of her capabilities as a person or as a creative, but she strived to become the best that she can be. Will she struggle? Yes. Will she stumble? Possibly; however, the motivation for everything Abi wants or will be is in her journey to becoming who she is meant to be.

  1. Do you think that Nigerian content is underestimated in terms of producing content? 

Exploration is possible with funds. This will be my answer. Is there room for improvement? Yes – creatively & technically. However, the possibilities or the opportunities to be correctly regarded or possibly overestimated is in having all the resources you need to deliver on your vision as a creative and then fair- yet subjective judgment can happen. Me, I am excited about what we have planned on our slate at Evolving Light Studios but also seeing what our Nigerian filmmakers are doing, I am excited about the future and its possibilities.

  1. Becoming Abi is now available to a global audience how does that make you feel? 

I am currently in a state of gratitude and indebtedness to God. For us the vision is clear, and it is to create content that can resonate locally and globally. I have so much to give to the world through filmmaking and exceptional storytelling and we just can’t wait to do more. 

  1. What are any of the fave moments that you can mention that was very close to home that you enjoyed watching back? 

Of course, the series is loosely based on my experiences so one of which is how I met my husband who used to be my colleague but also shooting the agency office scenes at the exact agency where I used to work before and around my desk area – it doesn’t get closer than that.

  1. Where do you call home? 

Home is where the heart is. Nigeria first but the world is my home and wherever film takes me, I’ll go (smiles).

  1. What next for Evolving Light Studios? 

We have a couple of projects on our slate, and we are working on delivering another engaging series and/or film to our teeming audience. Follow me on @boluessien and @evolvinglightstudios on Instagram to see what we are up to. 

See Also

Becoming Abi is now available on Netflix

Starring: Bolu Essien, Olayode Juliana, Seun Ajayi

Creators:Bolu Essien