By doing the little we can, whenever we can and wherever we find ourselves to the very best of our ability, we probably can change the world one step at a time. That probably explains the life of the dynamic and sensational banker turned film maker Kunle Afolayan. With each step and production he seems to be doing just the little he can, where he can to push the bars of excellence further.
With his production company Golden Effects and an average of 5 full time workers, Kunle Afolayan is raising the game when it comes to film making in Nigeria which before now has been full of half baked, poorly produced films from the popular Nollywood.
With budgets stretched to their possible limits and story lines that seemed to be recycled over and over again such that watching one Nigerian movie almost meant watching about another 20 more, Nigerians had come to take the situation as it comes what with the ‘Alaba boys’ phenomenon.
Kunle Afolayan, son of renowned theater practitioner, Adeyemi Josiah Afolayan popularly known as ‘Ade Love’ who was renown in his time with his traveling theatre band continues to pioneer new ideas in film making.
Afolayan, whose works include Irapada (2006), The Figurine (2009), Phone Swap (2012), and the latest October 1 (2014) started out as an actor staring in Tunde Kelani’s ‘Saworoide’ in 1998 but as bank work came in he wasn’t quite able to devote much time to acting until 2004 when he decided to let go of a well paying work in the bank with a car and comfortable life and pursue the dream of being a film maker.
He notes that being a film maker wasn’t really so much of an interest while growing up but then after his father died and seeing what others were doing as he grew up; he felt he could do it better.
After he quit his banking job, he stayed back at home for eight months to think of what he wanted to do and later left to study digital film making at the New York Film Academy. With the right certification in his kitty and knowledge of what works in the world of film making he came back to begin the journey of a creative entrepreneur.
With an office apartment handed over to him with just 6 months rent to elapse, he got himself an office assistant and then came the idea for his first film ‘Irapada’. With this he says he was able to get his first camera ‘From Irapada,I bought my first camera. Thereafter, every project that I did, I’m always equipping myself for those projects, that was how it all started. After Irapada, we grew to maybe a company of five staff and we moved out of there to another office, a bigger space’.
The young Afolayan also typifies the fact that challenges really are opportunities in work clothes as he notes that he almost refused working on the October 1 script when he first saw it, looking at the setup that would be required to shoot the film in context. But then he decided to look into it as such a film would set him on an international pedestal and acclaim. The film took two years to produce and $2 million in budget. But then it’s been premiered to wide acclaim since its October 28th launched date.
With the strides already recorded, Afolayan is setting a standard for other young and upcoming entrepreneurs in the creative world as he follows in the steps of the likes of Tunde Kelani and Tade Ogidan in quality film making and making a bold statement that indeed one man can make a difference by doing it right and that yes it’s possible to get it right in Nigeria. He is a clear example that following one’s passion and a desire to be different are the secrets to becoming outstanding.