Why I’M Investing In Nollywood – Patricia Livingwell, Canada based Filmmaker
What would make a person travel for over 6,000 miles to an unknown country with unpalatable tales about it?
Such is the story of pretty Patricia Livingwell who left the comfort of her home in Canada to travel down to Nigeria to become a part of the third largest movie industry in the world.
Though she is originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, Pretty Patricia Livingwell is also a citizen of Canada. However, she prefers to be addressed as an African.
In this chat, the thriller and horror expert scriptwriter cum movie producer talks about why she loves Nollyood among other issues.
When did story telling start for you?
It actually started as a grown up. My father wanted me to be a Lawyer because I can always defend myself but then I understood that sitting in the lawyers’ cabinet for hours defending cases you don’t know when it started wasn’t really something I wanted to do. I decided to write.
Do you believe that was a calling?
I don’t know if I should say it was a calling or not. All I know is that it was something I wanted to do. Personally, I don’t really love to work for people. As a young woman in my twenties, I have worked for different companies. You know they will just call you at 7.30 in the morning to change your shift and come at a particular time. I was really sick and tired of all that, I don’t like that. So I decided to find something that will allow me to work on my own time. I thought maybe writing is what I need because writing does not demand that I should be in a particular office at a certain time. That was how I started. If it is a calling, Thank God, I believe I have the talent.
Looking into Hollywood from where you are coming from and Nollywood, what prompted your interest in Nollywood?
There is a big difference between Hollywood and Nollywood. The reason I’m here in Africa to work with Africans is because it is easier for me. It is not easier because Hollywood is difficult to get in but it is because I’m African. I’m from here and not forgetting that I am a mother. Going to Hollywood means I have to leave my family and go to the United States of America which I have tried to do. Sometimes, it is quite difficult because you have to follow these producers to different type of meetings and without lying to you, the budget can be exaggerated. I don’t have the capacity at the moment to get in. I thought I should start from here because I am from here. I am interested in this place not Hollywood. If I am interested in Hollywood, by now, I would have moved there.
What interests you most about Nollywood when there is Ghana, Kenyan, South Africa etc?
I chose Nigeria because it is the third largest movie industry in the world after Bollywwod. I’m not in India. I don’t see myself in India, otherwise, I would have gone to India.
Are there some actors, producers that you would want to work with in Nigeria?
I don’t have anybody in particular that I could say I must work with but I believe we have the best. There is one actor that I really admire – his name is Kanayo O. Kanayo. That man is the only one I enjoy watching because he is one of the best actors. If I have to work with that man, I’m just going to have to be privileged to do so. I don’t know if he is just an actor or also a producer, but if there is anyone that I would love to work with, it should be that guy.
What role are you looking at in Nollywwod?
I would take more of producing and storytelling. As of acting, I’m not too sure about that. I have never acted before and I don’t see myself coming out just for the pleasure of acting to become an actor. I don’t see that interest in me. Unless somebody wants me to act, that means I have to probably practice for a couple of days, weeks or months, then, I can come into acting but I’m not someone who rushes after or looking for fame even though I don’t know how to do the job. So it’s producing and storytelling for me.
What do you know about the movie industry in Congo?
I know a lot about the moving industry in Congo but we do not really have a movie industry so to speak. I love my people, they are hardworking but they are into home videos and I was hoping that with time, we can go there and work more on filmmaking like back in the days. I don’t know if you have seen this movie with the late Papa Wemba that is titled, ‘La Vie Est Belle.’ It was a good movie. We wanted to get into the movie industry but out of lack of knowing what to do, people just started doing film like home videos. They shoot today, within few days it is already on the internet. That is not something that I want to do. After Nigeria, I will definitely go to my country to propose what I have.
How many of your scripts have been produced?
So far, I have written, Strength Within, Rules of Darkness, Beyond the Rising, among others. Some of them have been produced. We have made the conception of some others. The ones that have been produced have been produced mostly in Canada. Most times, I sell my scripts. The movie producers are at liberty to alter anything. They can change the title or do whatever they want to do because I always give a chance to my investors and buyers. Whatever you want to do to it is up to you. Even if somebody wants to invest in my project, I always leave an open door.
What kind of scripts do you write?
It is thriller and horror. I’m not good at writing romance movies and all that. That is what Darlington Aduda (producer of ‘The Accidental Spy’) told me that here that people want to watch a movie mixed with some comedy and all that. I told him that, that is not a problem, if I bring my stuff and you want to add comedy, add it.
Since you came to Nigeria, what is the experience like for you?
It has been a roller coaster experience for me. When you have family members that are worried that you would be kidnapped and all that and at the same time, you have your spirit telling you nothing would happen to you. I have met some good friends who have been there for me even though I met them for a few time. It’s quite an experience. I’m liking it.
What do you hope to achieve working here with Nigerian producers?
I hope to achieve greatness.
Do you hope to write a story that would be interesting and sell like Black Panther?
We are all different but why not?
If there is one thing you want taken off from Nigeria, what would that be?
Nigeria is a nice place honestly speaking. I feel sad sometimes when I see Nigerians themselves destroy the image of the country by saying all sorts of things. I believe there are bad and good things in every country but to my own experience without seeing the worst so far so good, I am not complaining. As of my own experience, what should be removed from Nigeria is corruption. As I was coming here two days ago, I was with a taxi driver and we got lost. There was this police officer that stopped asking for money. I ended giving him a bottle of perfume so that the poor driver would continue his way because he was saying that his drivers’ license has expired. It is either we pay N5,000 or he gives us a ticket and seize the car . I don’t even know what it is that they do and I couldn’t allow that to happen because I am sitting in the car. I’m not from here and I don’t want to get down and look for another cab, so I had to negotiate and give him something that belonged to someone else so that he would leave that poor driver to go his way. Corruption is what we don’t want in Africa. Sadly, it is in every part of African countries.
Why did you not break into the Canadian film market?
We don’t really have a movie market in Canada. We do have one but as far as I am concerned, I don’t want to get into that movie market. I know we have a lot of good actors like Rachael McAdams, Ryan Reynolds, Jim Carey, among many others, these are Hollywood actors from Canada. Why are they in Hollywood as I speak? We don’t have good movie industry. For me, either I’m in Africa or Hollywood, I choose Nollywood.
Is it right to call you a Canadian?
No, I’m African. It doesn’t matter if I’m a citizen but I’m still African, my kids are born in Canada too but I teach them how to be African. Whenever my daughter goes to school, she tells her friend, ‘I am from Africa.’ We went to school there, moved there, gave birth to kids there but we are not really from there. Samurah,com