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I would have been a footballer - Fred Amata

Source: Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare ( http://www.nigeriafilms.com )
Fred Amata
Fred Amata

Down-to-earth Fred Amata comes from a family of filmmakers and actors but this has never made him to joke with his profession. Rather, it has motivated him to go the extra-mile and exhibit an alluring flair over the years. In this interview with Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare, he speaks on his passion, advocacy work, personality, experience and sundry issues. Excerpts:

How long have you been in the movie industry?
I have been on television since my days at the University of Jos. We started with a dance programme called Fun Time in the early 80s but for the movie industry, it was when I was posted to do youth service in Lagos with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). That was in 1987.

I could say that was my official starting point because I did soap opera for television; I did programmes for television; I was the production manager for a programme called At Your Service and then I started directing Ripples, which was then the number one soap opera on network television.

Then, the transition from television to movies came and I was involved. So, when you ask me how long have I been in the movie industry, I would say I have been in the movie industry before the Nigerian home video began.

It is a fact that you are a family of filmmakers, to what do you attribute this?
Yes, we are a family of filmmakers; it is common knowledge that Zack and Jeta are my brothers. I would attribute the passion for films in my family to my father, he also was into films and actually, he is credited with shooting the first film ever in Africa. The film, called Freedom, was produced in 1956 and it was the largest picture in the pre-independence era.

If you are not into filmmaking and acting, what other profession would you have gone into?
If I am not a theatre person, I would have been a footballer. Nothing else.

Do you like football that much?
I love football. I told you I had something doing in the evening, it is football. I am going to play football after this interview. I love it so much and I am a member of about three football clubs.

How would you rate Nollywood at this present time?
I would simply say Nollywood is about to explode into the world of cinema. If you recollect, what happened in the era of home video was like an explosion, a boom.

It is a Nigerian system; there is a boom in a particular sector at a certain period. During the boom in the video film industry, the chaff was sifted and local home videos went international but now I am talking of a boom in world cinema.

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