Olayinka Akinfesoye: A woman on mission to impact Nollywood with strong messages
Meet Olayinka Akinfesoye nee Dosunmu, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, mentor. She wears many caps but she says, ‘being a child of God is my pièce de ré·sis·tance!’.
She is working on a short film about depression, enjoy this interview with her.
What project do you have at hand?
I am working on a short film about depression and suicide. We are sending a powerful message about how deadly this illness can be. You know I worked in Mental health for a few years, taught mental health for 3+years and what I have found is that there is so much misunderstanding of the mentally ill individual. See when an individual is sick due to disease, that is a pathological condition, we can run tests, do diagnostics, we can measure signs and symptoms for example, Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer,renal failure etc but illness is a different ball game entirely. Yes disease and illness are inter-related but they are not the same. Mental illness is not measurable and there lies the challenge. We don’t believe what we can’t see. Many depressed people don’t have any physical signs that tell others that infact something is wrong and so they are dismissed, people respond by shaming them, saying they’ve brought this upon themselves etc. Our project is a powerful short film that will help us campaign for mental health. We hope that the government, private institutions and citizens will join us as we tackle this problem. It is a worldwide epidemic.
Why this particular project?
Mental health is a worldwide health concern and using film to create awareness in Nigeria and beyond is just one of the many ways to intervene.
Okay tell us about your director and why you chose to work with this crew?
Mr Saheed Apanpa of Apanpa films is our Director. If you see his past projects, you will know we made the right choice. On a personal level he has been a huge supporter of my work and on a professional level he has directed more films than I can count and has worked with great actors from Nollywood. I am glad to be working with him .
As a producer, tell us what do you think about the growing force called Nollywood?
Nollywood is going places. From Nigeria to the world. You are exactly right that Nollywood is a force. I know that it’s only going to get better. There is so much we can offer and I am glad to be a part of it. I see a future where our actors, Directors, producers will be sought after by international movie production outfits.
As a producer, what would you say is your aim and focus? What are your goals?
Quite simple. I want to entertain and educate. I want to impact lives with my productions. If you watch any film from me and my team, you will be better for it.
Any major future project ahead?
Yes. Quite a few at hand but after our short film and depression and suicide campaign. We have a movie project lined up . It is my hope that the public will be entertained as they are educated Also my team and I are working on a project to bring Nollywood even closer to their fans at home and abroad. Exciting times. It will be grand.
Tell us about your first ever project in Nollywood…
This is the Short film on Depression. I believe this film will go far in Nigeria and beyond. We will be submitting the film to the WHO and running a campaign with it in Nigeria and possibly beyond.
Aside Nollywood, what do you do?
I work in health management , I love educating people on illnesses and providing interventions that help them maintain their health. I am Nurse instructor, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor, I love to share the gospel with family and friends.
Why Nollywood for you?
Growing up, I used to write stories, songs etc. I have always dreamed of being a part of Nollywood . Anyone who truly knows me will tell you this about me. I have always dreamed and the time is now.
Who are your top 10 actors(male and female)?
Wow! Ok here we go:
Gosh 10 is not enough. So many others but since you asked for 10. There you have it.
Lastly, what prepared you for the producer duties and why do you think it’s your calling?
Like I mentioned earlier, I have been writing for many years, since childhood. In recent years, watching women in Nollywood breaking barriers has really had a positive impact and greatly encouraged me to start. God blesses one with talents, I am doing this to the Glory of God . He has prepared me for a time like this. I am supported by my family, my husband, my sisters and professionals in Nollywood such as Oga Bello and Director Saheed Apanpa.