Art and Culture

I Knew I will End Up in the Arts Sector

todayJuly 9, 2022

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Victor Okpala

Filmmaker Victor Okpala has been in the industry and has a good number of television films, series and cinema projects credited to his name. In this interview with Ferdinand Ekechukwu, Okpala shares influences, aspects, and moments leading to his journey in the industry as he debuts his first cinema directorial titled Tiger ‘s Tail

Tell us about your journey into the movie industry?

Well, right from childhood, I have always been a lover of the arts. From literary and debating society to cultural groups in secondary schools, I knew I will end up in the arts sector. When I got into the university, even though I was in the social sciences, I was always with the theatre department rehearsing and holding drama sessions. Once I left school, I knew where to go but had to work a bit here and there then off to film school. Once I got back I registered my company and started with TV series production Eagle Eye which was syndicated in about 18 stations nationwide. While doing TV, I started working with other filmmakers as producer or line producer then went on to direct and the rest they say is history.

How long have you been in the industry and how many movie projects have you been involved in?

I have been around professionally since 2010 and I have done over 40 TV films, 10 TV series and about 5 cinema projects.

What has the experience been like working in the industry as a filmmaker?

The experience has been good and rewarding. Sometimes you face a big challenge that will almost make you want to give up but you keep striving and of course it gets better by the day.

 What was your aspiration growing up?

Like I said earlier, I had always wanted to be in the arts but as a small boy I didn’t quite know what part of arts business I will be in but I always knew. Example, I wrote an entire magazine as a junior secondary student and wanted to publish it. I read every novel or magazine I could lay my hands on, watched every foreign film or cartoon released then. All those things shaped my love for the arts. My mom wanted me to be a full-time pastor and others wanted me to be a lawyer but here I am doing what God has ordained me to do.

What aspect of your growing up years influenced your present career in filmmaking?

I was an avid reader of every magazine or novel you can think of. I was a very introverted young man growing up with my granny; I had all the time to read every book, novel and magazines. I watched a lot of Hollywood films. I also grew up on local magazines like Papa Ajasco, Dauda and the likes. I remember I used to buy those mini magazines with my lunch money while in secondary school. So, yes, that aspect shaped me. I also sang in the choir and church band.

What inspires the type/kind of stories you tell?

So many events in and around my life always inspires me to tell my kind of stories. I grew up watching Rambo and the likes, Mr. Bean for comedy and many other cartoons. So, I like to tell more of action stories or what we call thriller.

You have your first cinema directorial Tiger’s Tail which comes out soon. Tell us about it…

Tiger’s Tail is a project of passion, love and everything in between. We started the journey pre Covid-19 and of course Covid-19 happened and we slowed down and didn’t do it again till this year. It was supposed to happen in 2020 but here we are. Let me not say much about it so I won’t give away anything. I implore everyone to go watch it in the cinemas from 22nd July and see the magic we made. They won’t be disappointed at all.

 How did you come up with the story and how long did it take to shoot Tiger’s Tail?

I conceived the story in 2020 and started piecing it together. I have always, always wanted to tell a socially relevant story that will resonate and make impact. I have done that with my TV movies and series for many years, so when the idea came i called my writers and we started working on it and here we are with one of the best films you will see this summer in the cinemas all over Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon

You have a lineup of fantastic actors in the movie (Zubby Michael, Kelechi Udegbe, Alexx Ekuboh, Etinosa Idemudia, Nosa Rex and a host of others) – how was it working with them?

Working with these actors was pure bliss, not off course without the usual little challenges here and there but they were amazing set of people to work with. Alex has been my friend and working partner for many years so it was very easy to work with him. Zubby is a brother and we bonded as brothers. Rex has been a friend. You cannot have issues with Etinosa because she’s a free spirit. Tacha was her 1st ever movie before or after BBN house. All the actors on the project are amazing and have continued to be so supporting and promoting the movie. It’s a family affair and I love them all

What makes Tiger’s Tail different? Why should people go and see it? What should the viewers expect?

We are used to a kind of movie here in Nigeria but Tigers tail is refreshingly different and action packed with a lot of romance and drama. It’s a pot-pourri of entertainment and the audience will live every minute of it.

Are you adept to making any particular genre or film?

I love to make action packed movies that will keep people on the edge of their seats and off course topped with romance and a lot of drama. Black Panther is a movie i will never forget in a hurry. We are getting there by God’s grace.

What’s your goal as a filmmaker?

My goal is simple; to keep getting better at my craft and satisfying my teeming fans with every of my film and of course better things will always follow.

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