On 12 December 2010, Bolanle Ninalowo won the Best of Nollywood Revelation of the Year Award. For what does he deserve this honour? For writing, producing, directing, and lead acting in the highly anticipated movie – Rebirth. In Rebirth, Bolanle tackled the huge issue of HIV, from infection all the way through to redemption. This movie has been premiered in Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York; and was endorsed and premiered by the Lagos State Government on World Aids’ day, Dec 1st. Yet to be released to the general public, this movie epitomizes the struggles, frustrations, and hope that infects and affects those directly and indirectly dealing with HIV. Sitting down to talk with this rising star, I came across a few more revelations of my own. Enjoy!
What is the purpose of the movie?
Impact! Being in the Nigerian movie industry, it’s my first movie. I wanted to do something different. So I focused on HIV, attempting to give hope to those affected. In our developing nation there is a lack of awareness. I wanted to impact and portray life after HIV, the possibility of life after HIV.
How long did the movie take, from inception to final production?
Who was the script written by?
It was written by me, Bolanle Ninalowo. I also produced, directed, and lead acted in it. It was a busy time!
Was it hard acting and directing it at the same time?
Yes it was! It was definitely a learning experience. It wasn’t easy. The final product speaks for itself though, it’s paying off now.
What does the revelation of the year award mean to you?
Wow. It’s big! The Revelation award is an indicator of what’s new and hot, what people should be looking out for. It was a big accomplishment for me to be identified as that next best thing. All Thanks to God!
Have you always wanted to be in the entertainment industry?
Absolutely! It’s always been my dream. Now I’m in it and trying to make a difference. The Harp Commercial I did in 2008 was my reality check. Then I felt it was time to pursue my dreams and get into the acting game. Big accomplishment right there, major major!
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I want to be that guy who has touched a lot of lives. I just wanna be successful. Be happy. Watch my kids and my marriage grow. I didn’t think Rebirth would be where it is today, didn’t think it would premiere in 5 major states. You can’t force people to like your movie, but they did! Rebirth to me is a breakthrough. Expectations are high now, being revelation of the year.
Any projects we should be looking out for?
Met with a couple of guys yesterday who are shooting a big movie. I’ll be the lead actor, look out for it. Details coming soon to a city near you! I’m also set to star in a music video.
I’m also writing a script about sickle cell. It’s the story of a girl who is a sickler. Despite the discouragement of his family, a guy falls in love with her and wants to marry her. I want to tackle different issues and situations. I want to do it all. When it’s your time it’s your time you have to seize the moment. So I’m reaching for the sky!
For every project, I just want to live up to the task. I want to learn everything. Every new job is a new experience. Every new script is different, and you’ve got to be able to interpret it in a way the audience will like it. Those are my goals and dreams right now.
I’m going to be doing everything. Scenes people can relate to one way or another.
Who do you act for? Who do you do it for?
My first goal is to put my family on the map. I’m from a family with 8 siblings, and I always felt like we have a doctor, a lawyer, a marketer, and now we need an actor. I like it. I think I can act. It’s something I’ve always had a passion for, I never expected it to be my career path, but the Harp commercial triggered that. Irrespective of what we are all doing, we want to get paid. Really we all wanna make a living. I wanna use this opportunity to open doors for my friends and family. I’m fortunate to be able to accomplish mine. I want to give people opportunities to do what they are capable of.
What is your motto? What one phrase could encapsulate the way you live your life?
Determination: you never know what you can do until you try. Anybody can make it. Anybody can do anything as long as you put your mind to it. Put God first. Put your mind to it. Anything is possible. Period!
Part of my plans next year, come back to America and go to the New York film Academy, and even take some courses in script writing. I want to do projects that will cut across the entire world. I’ve been lucky and highly favoured with the movie making so many waves – it’s not even out in Nigeria yet. I plan on making more sophisticated movies. With Rebirth, I was just using what I had to put my work out there. Now I’m ready to do highly sophisticated stuff. Looking forward to the future. I’ve been highly favoured! Rebirth is the first Nigerian movie about HIV premiered by the Lagos State govt on world Aids day, the first premiered in 5 major states, and the first award winner as a director’s first movie. I’m looking forward to beating those accomplishments. Looking forward to doing it all!