The lines that merges art and science is very blurred one and only very few individuals are able to transverse it, but not for Victor Okoye Frank, a medical doctor turned filmmaker. We caught up with this emerging filmmaker to have a chat with him on the success of his recent short film Purpose.
What inspired you to Change career path?
I don’t necessarily consider what I do a change in career path, as a matter of fact I only found a different application for my medical degree, My films have been a huge part of counseling sessions in United state and was recently presented at the American Public Health Association Conference 2017.
I craft stories that go beyond entertainment, in as much as it provides the much needed escapism; I try to reach for a deeper connection with my audience
So how are you able to do that with film?
First, The story must be unique, it’s almost impossible to think of but you wouldn’t believe that most humans share the same experience, and the task in creating a story that transverses fun is to find that common ground, such that the audience is able to relate to it, then embed a message inside in such engaging way that they leave the room with an experience unlink any other
So how do you intend to apply this to Nollywood?
I’m not really a huge fan of the films we have been able to make so far, Not that they are not great but I believe we have enough skill set on ground to change the narrative of this great country, I’m of the opinion that there are more pressing issues that could be discoursed in our movies besides bad mother in-laws (The the recent Ebola Movie for e.g., that made its way to CNN and Tiff) and all it takes is just a different story, something true but that can raise awareness for the people to have a different discussion.
What about the Market? DO you think there’s market for it?
I’m not exactly certain about that, I don’t enough data to prove that there’s market for it, however I know once a student a ready the teacher appears, meaning that think Nigerians deep down want to see something different.
I saw a Fela clip recently where he said his famous line “Africans like to suffer and smile” – And if you look at our current market, it’s saturated with comedy and people love it, but you won’t believe there are Nigerians being traded as slaves in Libya as we speak, Female Genital Mutilation, Female Gender rights, even governance, these are life changing topics that people need to see and take action on and if the media and our movie industry would call attentions to these , I believe people will see the light and truth is such visual content.
Do you have any upcoming project that paves way for such?
I’ve been working on a feature screenplay that touches the Army in a way I think hasn’t been done before, I’ve also written a couple other shorts and a documentary titled the Birth of a Slave, all of which are aimed at changing the status Quo
When will these be ready?
Production for most of them will start in 2018 and perhaps before early 2019, we would be releasing a number of them.
So what would be your advice to the upcoming Nigerian Filmmaker?
My advice to anyone looking to dabble into filmmaking is to keep it unique, I know there are not a lot of filmmakers out there looking to open the discourse for Real life changing issues, but the few that are there, are surely making an impact.
In the age of social media, attention is key; most people just want to see a 15 second clip and swipe to the next tutorial on Make-up foundation.
From the very beginning of your film, keep it engaging and keep your punch line for the last. I don’t care much for the tool that you use, but let your story strike a nerve