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It is no news that Nollywood movies has evolved over time. No doubt it has become synonymous with Hollywood movies. Just recently, Nollywood movies now features on bigger screens such as Netflix and other contemporaries.
Movie producers and directors in the industry are working round the clock to make sure Nigerian movies take a center stage. One of those producers working tirelessly to make an impact in the Nigerian movie Industry is Happy Julian.
Happy Julian’s story is a true definition of “Don’t Give UP.” She started out as an actress and gradually worked her way to the big screen. Today she’s a force to reckon with, humility and selflessness has always been her key and watchword.
She is the CEO of Ebanky Global Production and in this exclusive interview with Abel Wealth she shares some secrets of her success in the Movie Industry.
- What is your name and give us a brief background of yourself
I’m Happy Julian Uchendu, first child from a family of nine including mum, dad, four girls and three boys. My Dad is late. I’m from Azigbo in Nnewi Local Government Area of Anambra State. I was born and brought up in Zaria Kaduna State where I also did my primary and secondary School. I graduated from University of Jos where I read Micro-Biology. Currently I’m an Actress, film producer and entrepreneur base in Abuja.
- What would you say motivated you to become a Movie Producer/Director?
I started as an Actress. I went from one audition to another with little or no hope of getting a role to play. It is very difficult for people to believe in you, those who are willing to give you a chance wants something back in return. I worked with winner’s laboratory Hospital at Garki II, Abuja but had to resign from the job so I can focus on my acting carrier. I had to start doing things myself, due to the strong passion I had for acting and continuous believe in my dreams. In 2012 I had my first production done titled Mogana.
- What do you look for in a script?
I look out for Moral, Suspense, Good Ending, Educative, Love and relationship.
- How do you select your cast for a movie?
I consider casts that can interpret the character in real sense.
- How long have you been in the Movie Business?
I have been in the movie business as an actress since 2008 and I went into production in 2012.
- Have you ever had to handle a difficult conflict in your career as a movie director? What did you learn from it?
Yes, every business has it’s ups and down, it is not always smooth you know, I had some loss in my first production, second production and even the third production. I had to start asking myself what I was doing wrong. I got the answer I needed and amended my approach. I worked on my script, cast, director, location and marketing strategies.
Do I still face challenges? The answer is “oh yes” I do, but each time it comes I tried to look at the mistake learn from it and move on. Mistakes are inevitable, to succeed you have to face many challenges.
- What roadblocks did you faced when you were starting up?
The major challenge was marketing my movies.
- How would you rate Nollywood movies, being a key player in the Industry?
Nollywood is no longer were it was, gone are the days when movie producers seek the help of marketers to sell their movies. These marketers are known for stripping off all entitlements from the movie, thank God for open channels like DSTV, IROKOTV, ONLINETVS, TV STATIONS, including CINEMAS, now many Nollywood films are on Netflix.
- What do you think should be done to Improve Nollywood and the standard of our movies?
There should be more investment in cinemas across Nigeria. The Government and corporate organizations should play a key role in making this possible. There should also be more contents buyers, they are limited and it is affecting so many good productions. The fear of recovering the capital and making profits has discouraged many film producers.
- We know you’ve produced many grand breaking movies; can you tell us some of the best movies you’ve produced and the concept behind them?
Some of my productions that have made it to the big screen are: Think Skinned, Stoke of Luck, A Day Outside, The Innocent and My Silence.
These movies are true life story, featuring cases of Abuse, Molestation, Rape, Domestic violence and Kidnapping.
- Tell us about some of the Nigerian Actors/Actress who featured in your movies and those you wish to work with in the nearest future.
Ha, I have future so many great Actors and will also want to continue working with those I have already worked with, no need to mention names.
- Can you tell us a little about your upcoming project(s)?
I’m working on a series, an Irokotv Project at the moment.
- Can you tell us about the greatest moment in your career?
I thank God for where I am today, but I’m not where I want to be yet, so i’ll keep on doing what i love doing, Making movies.
- How do you spend your leisure time?
Sleeping, reading scripts, watching movies.
- Are you married, single or searching?
I’m not searching.
- What is your best food?
Rice and beans
- What is your advice to your fans, now that Nigeria is going through Coronavirus Outbreak?
Stay at home, wash your hands regularly, sanitize your hands and pray often, be safe. I was supposed to start a production by ending of March, but I had to postpone till further notice, including my auditioning, safety first.
- What is your advice to those who aspire to become a movie producer/director like you?
Keep believing in yourself, don’t stop focusing, keep researching, don’t stop asking questions, and believe in God.
- What is your advice to the Government of Nigeria?
The young and old know the issues facing our dear country Nigeria, it’s not new to us anymore, and we have over flogged these problems. Since as a child till my adulthood, things have kept on getting worse, what advice have we not given? There’s nothing that hasn’t been said to our past and present leaders. That’s all I can.
You can follow Actress Happy Julian Uchendu via
Facebook @happy Julian Uchendu
YouTube @Ebanky Global Production.