Interviews | 22 November 2006 15:27 CET

Nollywood Is Cheating Itself —Kanayo O. Kanayo

He recently won the Best Actor of the Year at the 2006 African Movie Academy Awards, but Kanayo O. Kanayo still does not consider himself a celebrity. In this interview with Sylvester Asoya, K.O.K. speaks about the challenges in the movie industry

Q: By emerging the best actor, it means that you have conquered bread and butter, at least for now. So what do you consider the major challenge?
A: I see myself as an agent of social change. I see myself as one who affects society by what he does. So, when a new role comes, it is an opportunity to also reach out through another storyline.

I believe that the better you interpret a story, the more people become convinced of your abilities. The challenge is that you are contributing and you want to believe that whatever information you give out affects somebody somewhere. That is a way which one contributes his own quota into making sure that society changes for the better. That is what I have learnt. One thing people tend to forget is that every story has somebody it is affecting. I was in a restaurant some years ago when somebody walked up to me and said 'If anybody had told me that you people would dramatise what happened between my wife and I, I wouldn't have believed it. I think my wife must have told you the story.' Invariably, whatever happened in that story must have happened in the guy's life. It means that beyond the surface, some stories are real. That is why every story brings a new challenge and the fun and joy of it all is that people are affected by these stories. And I think that is the whole essence of a new script and a new challenge.

Q: Aside interpreting roles as an actor, do you see yourself working behind the camera as a director in the near future?
A: Yes. I want to retire as a director. A time comes when you may no longer be active and vibrant, though it doesn't mean that you won't act when you are directing. But you just want to sit back and further the interest of the industry by telling the younger ones how to do it.

Q: What exactly are your views on intellectual property, especially now that infringement on artistes' rights is on the rise?
A: It is a shame. I will say it is sad that up till now, the various guilds are not functioning well enough to protect our interests. It is not just about protecting individual interest, everybody must be protected. From our end as actors, we should be able to do something for ourselves if government is incapable of protecting our rights. I want to believe that if the Actors Guild, Producers Guild, Dancers Guild and others come together, we can make a huge difference. But I want to say that I will gladly do anything in furtherance of the protection of the intellectual rights of fellow actors. At the moment, we must acknowledge the fact that there is so much abuse going on and we should do everything to ensure that our creativity is protected. For some of us who are already above 40 years, there is no way we can go beyond the next 10 years because our productivity would have dropped drastically. So, if we do not take the necessary steps, we will lose at the very end. We cannot be actors forever.

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