I WAS IMPRISONED FOR SOME HOURS
I was born as Anyayo Modestus Onyekwere to Mr. and Mrs. Donatus Onyekwere. I hail from a village called Nguru. Oboama in Ezinifite, Local Government area of Imo State. I had a humble beginning and my parents are strict Catholics. I learnt from my parents how to be contended with whatever I have and this has been my guiding principle in measuring the levels of my success and failures.
The name Kanayo O. Kanayo
This is my professional name as an actor.
Motivation in acting
I went to visit an uncle in Lagos and I was watching television advertisements which were quite exciting and glamorous. I said to my uncle that, this is where I belong and that is what I want to do. Acting is what gives me joy, that was how I came into entertainment industry
Ups and downs
There is no easy ride to freedom anywhere in the world and behind every successful story there must be disappointments and challenges. We started with small roles and graduated into bigger roles and gradually our take home pay started appreciating. At the end of the day, it has been a good experience and we thank God that we are involved in an industry that one can beat his chest that he has achieved the feat.
Proliferation in Nollywood
No industry is ever saturated and one producer cannot produce enough movies for the market. But if you come into the home video industry without the right perspective, you will definitely fall by the way side and that is how it has been in the home video sector. Many have come into the industry and fizzled out because they are not genuinely prepared , they fell by the way side. There will be proliferation but in that proliferation, one can still identify professionalism and those who are real professionals would always stand the test of time.
Nollywood between then and now
If you compared the glamour in Living in Bondage in those days to what obtains now, it is like comparing Peugeot 404 of 1970 to X-class Mercedes 2006, there is no basis for comparism. Today, the situation has changed but in terms of commercial outlooks there has been a misplacement of priorities.
Some people have allowed their commercial interest to override their professionalism but some people have nevertheless done a lot of research to produce good films.
I am too critical about my person and sometimes, I don't like watching the films I featured in because I always found out that I should have done certain things better. Ironically, mostly, people saw I have done my best but to me I know I should have done better, that is the way I criticize myself or appraise myself.
Relationship between directors and actors
The relationship is not so rosy; because the name director has become a status symbol. People just want to become directors because they want their status to change not that they studied the work in any technical college.
People answer the title director because they stumbled on some friends or uncles who have the money. For me , Directors' Guilds should be like pilots, who are respected because they went through training . Film directors are people who sit back and digest the script and make a new meaning out of it but a lot of people who go by that title 'director' are not qualified . I don't respect these so called directors because we know who the directors are and some of them don't even know the job.
Award as the best actor in Africa
I couldn't leave my seat because for me to be nominated was already an endorsement. I was making a contribution to Nollywood and it was now judged and I was adjudged the best actor of the year, I considered it only making a contribution to Nollywood
Impact of the movies
Our movies have changed lives and the movies have healed marriages . Our movies are like soothing balm for a lot of people in our society. The movies have been an exposition of the things happening in the society. You can but give us kudos that we have been an agent of social change and that is what we keep on doing, the more stories we get, the more we contribute to national development.
A few years ago at Onitsha, I went to Upper-Iweka road, I had to be locked inside a shop till the market was over from 3p.m and people refused to go home till about 7p.m because they wanted to see me. Can you imagine that people still waited till 7:30 pm, some people had to bring two tinted cars and put me inside one of them and drove me out through the back gate.
They didn't know the one that conveyed me. These are various ways people react to us and the Onitsha incident was the one I remember vividly because I was somehow imprisoned for some hours because people wanted to touch me but I feared they could trample on me and this could become another sad story.
There is piracy everywhere in the world but we are hoping to see it curtailed in Nigeria. We may not be able to stamp it out because as long as there are some lapses in the system, piracy will always be there but I remember on two or three occasions we have called on relevant authorities to assist in some areas to actualize our dream of selling our products without crying over the activities of pirates.
The greatest culprits are video clubs that rent out movies without authorities from the producers. It is quite a shame that up till now we have not been able to get ourselves together to lobby the National Assembly to lodge our complaints against piracy.
Quacks in the movie industry
There are professional prostitutes in every industry, ours is in the limelight because it is a glamourous business. In any profession, charlatans would always exist. In medical profession, there are quacks who give doctors a bad name.
Nollywood and government
I think we operate in an environment where our government is not entertainment friendly and that is not good enough because this is an intellectual work, artistes in their old age should be able to draw their royalties from their work.
Let government give us more incentives to enable people derive some joy from their intellectual property .
In the area of importation of movie equipment, the duty should be pruned to an acceptable level, so that we pay reasonable fees on the importation of movie production equipment.