Nollywood actress visits Jamaica

Nigeria actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, has thrown out a challenge to Hollywood filmmakers to visit Africa and discover great stories.

The actress, who is in Jamaica on business as well as to film segments of her television reality series, The Real Omotola, said Hollywood is now restorting to killing children. Her charge comes against the background of the film Hunger Games.

Hunger Games is set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the 12 districts to fight to the death on live television.

"I can't believe someone allowed that to be made. Hollywood needs to find Africa. Yes, they are superior in terms of financing and technology. But for great stories they need to come to us," she said.

Nigerian movies are popular in Jamaica and Omotola (or Omosexy as she is known to fans) has racked up an impressive filmography. She is listed as one of the most successful actresses to come out of Nollywood, the popular name for the Nigerian film industry.

Omotola explained that acting was never on the cards for her early on, as the profession was once frowned on in Nigeria.

In fact, she really wanted to be a singer. But as a 16-year-old model a chance audition turned her on to acting.

Her breakthrough came in 1995 with the film Mortal Inheritance. This would set in motion a steady stream films including Beyonce and Rihanna, Ties that Bind, the Blood Sisters series, Royal Family, Games Women Play and Last Wedding.

While in Jamaica she is set to meet players with the local film community for an exchange of ideas.

So what can Jamaica's burgeoning film industry take from Nollywood?

"Passion," she stated emphatically, then paused. "The truth, is having been at there from the start I know what it as like with a few people just doing what they loved, and believing that nothing was impossible. So just get going," she advised.

She was unable to put a dollar figure on what Nollywood generates annually.

"It is hard to track, we have had to deal with a lot of issues including piracy as well as the fact that previously a lot of our films went straight to home video."

Omotola continued, "There is now a change, with the help of technology we are able to produce for cinema. With this, we will better be able to track overall earnings."

It has been reported that Nollywood produces more than 200 films for the home video market every month.

Source: Richard Johnson Observer senior reporter