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AFEEZ ABIODUN

Source: nigeriafilms.com

Among notable Yoruba filmmakers, Afeez Abiodun popularly called Owo is a force to reckon with. Owo is small in stature but the movies which the Iseyin-born artiste have churned out in succession are many.

In a chat with US, Abiodun, who is incidentally married to the late Funmi Martin's daughter, Mide, explained how he came into the movie world and how he has gone so far.
Abiodun bared his mind on his past as well as his future plans for the industry.

Excerpts:
Background
I am Afeez Abiodun a native of Iseyin, Oyo State. I started my education in Iseyin, attended St. Paul Anglican School I, Idiroko, Faramora Secondary School and IDGL where I completed my secondary education. After that, I came down to Lagos for greener pastures.

I started my acting career when I was in primary school. I loved acting even at a very tender age, it was then that I wrote a drama entitled: Kokoro Aiye for my school and people liked it. In those days, I loved watching drama series by Akin Ogungbe and Jimoh Aliu on television.

Career
I came to Lagos in the mid-1980s. I went to see Rasaq Olayiwola popularly called 'Ojo opa gogo', who was born in Iseyin and in the same house where I was born. He was already acting before my arrival. In those days, many of the story lines were based on incantations and disappearances. It was later that we introduced synopses and scripts. I am glad to be part of the new development.
Films

I have lost count of the movies I featured in but in 2000, I started producing my own movies. My first production was Majen sinwon waiye. In 2001, I produced Adurotoluwa. In 2002, it was Abusi Edumare. In 2003, Yonu simi, while in 2004, 2005 and 2006, I produced Agbalam, Eje tutu, Gbenren meje, and Oba bi Olorun respectively. The next one will also be a bang. I am not ready to relay the story now but my films are always educative and highly entertaining.

Why I produce once a year
I don't believe in churning out home videos just for the sake of it or for monetary gains. I have seen some producers churn out up to eight to 10 movies in a year without any difference in their lives and when I move close to many of them, I found out that they are churning movies out basically to make ends meet. But for me, I want the best for my fans, I believe in the maxim, 'slow and steady win the race. That is why I produce a film once a year except for last year that I produced two on request.
Most of my fans know that each film I produced is a hit, hence they call me Seriki awon olopolo (Sheikh of Intelligence).

Nicknames
I have different nick names. Some call me Seriki awon olopolo, while others call me Afeez Owo.
I think, I earned 'Seriki awon olopolo' during the premiere of my first film, Majen sinwon waiye in Kano. The Yoruba settlers there called me by that name and it struck basically because of the story synopsis, plot as well as the intriguing suspense and moreso because it was my first movie.
I got the nickname 'Afeez Owo' through my association with Yemi Ayebo (Yemi my lover), owing to my close association with him. At that time, wherever Yemi was, people would surely find me there and before I knew it, people started calling me 'Afeez Owoyemi' (Literally meaning Afeez is Yemi Ayebo's right hand man).

Artistes becoming directors
There are many reasons an artiste could decide to be a director over night. For example, I started directing as a result of experience I had with directors. I found out that, some of them don't paint the picture that I actually want. Having written the scripts, I believe I should known the interpretation better than anybody.

I have a unique way of interpreting my story lines but mostly, directors distort the vision and I sat down one day and told myself that I could do it. And after studying the way directing is being done, I started directing my movies myself, which turned out to be good. I also use my fans as my mirror.Mostly, I ask them to correct whatever mistakes I must have made, so that we would be able to avoid such mistakes in subsequent productions.
Film industry
The movie industry has tremendously changed. Many people are making good fortunes from the industry, which is a testimony that acting has gone to another level. These days, parents encourage their wards to join our profession, unlike what it used to be in those days.
Today, we have a training school called the Independent Television Procucers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) where directors can update their skills. I also intend to attend a three-month course in Directing in the school.

Relationship with late Funmi Martins
She was a good mother to me. God should grant her eternal rest because she could not be easily forgotten due to her motherly disposition towards up-and-coming artistes when she was alive.
I had a very good and strong relationship with her. She was like mother and everything to me, even after her death, the relationship still exists, and it would never be destroyed.

Mide my wife
When the late Funmi Martins was alive, I stayed in her house with five others because that was the way she wanted it. She knew that Mide, her daughter was quite close to me, we were always together but then, there was nothing between us. But after her death, the relationship became stronger and by the grace of God, Mide and I have been married for four years, and we now have a child, Omotola Abiodun.

Roles
I usually act minor roles because I believe in perfection. I don't believe playing the lead role when I know that it may not be suitable for the kind of picture I have in mind. Though many people said I have become a stock character by acting the role of gateman in most of my movies, I have also acted a robber in one of my films entitled: Agbalamu.
Marriage with an actress

Understanding each other is love and understanding is all about trust. In whatever we do, we always map out our plans to favour both of us and not adversely affect our home. For instance, if I would be busy for 25 days, she knows that she has to avoid getting jobs that would lure her to location because of our child. The same thing also applies to me. Once I am around, she goes for 'shooting' and I stay with my daughter, that has been the way.