Oby Gold Edozieh’s movie, Save Our Souls, which premiered in Lagos, Abuja and London, is presently making waves. The actress spoke to OSEYIZA OOGBODO about her cancer crusade.
Why did you focus on cancer in Save Our Souls?
Because I want to enlighten people. I discovered that ignorance is a greater killer than cancer. It is ignorance that is killing most people. Most people hardly go for medical check-up. Early detection is the best thing, and I believe that Save Our Souls will inform people to always check their health status.
But maybe people can’t afford medical check-ups.
No, no, no! What I am saying is it is a routine thing. Every three months, every six months, you should be able to go for a check-up of your body. You should have your own doctor. There’s no fee, extra-big fee attached. You are just checking up. It’s when you check and there’s a problem you can talk about excess money. But to check your body, for a doctor to check for lumps and all that, I don’t think the money is so much that people can’t afford it.
When cancer is detected on time, the chances of survival are higher. Since people started watching Save Our Souls, I’ve been getting calls from cancer patients and I asked myself, ‘How do I give back to these people?’ Number one, giving back to the people who have not contacted it is through watching my movie and knowing that they have to go for a medical check-up. Because this cancer thing, there is a stage it will get to that you can’t do anything. You can only, if you have money, you can only survive for some time, but you will still definitely die, whether it takes five or ten years. Then also, I asked myself, ‘How do I help the victims?’ Oby Edozieh as a person and an actress, I can help one or two of them. But through my foundation, Oby Gold Cancer Foundation, I can reach out to many of them, and very soon, I’ll do something for them that everybody will see.
How long does it take you to shoot the movies you produce?
I take my time. Save Our Souls took me six months, because I shot in Nigeria, London and India. I also have another movie which I shot in London. I will release it after Save Our Souls. So it depends on the individual involved. And mind you, I won’t spend so much money on a movie and just come and put it into the market like that. Save Our Souls premiered in Nigeria and London. It was also shown at the Silverbird Galleria, so I could make part of my money back. They initially said they would show it for one week and extended it to three weeks later. The Ministry of Health as well as First bank supported me.
You write and produce your own movies. Do you also direct them?
No. My last two movies, Save Our Souls and Sweet Breeze, were directed by Moses Iwang.
What distinguishes you as an actress?
I’m not just an actress. I’m also a producer, and I have a registered company. Let’s just say I’m focused. I’m into contracts, entertainment and every other thing under it. So I’m not just running all over the place looking for scripts or depending on acting. I don’t do just one thing at a time. I’m not an actress that you see every day on screen in different movies. From time, acting has not been what I feed with. Acting is okay, but could be better. I mean, when you talk about Hollywood actors, you talk about their mansions and everything. But here in Nigeria, you know how it is. I don’t need to go into details. Acting is, for me, a hobby, something I love doing. It’s not all about the money. But at times, money matters too.
What do you then gain from acting?
If not for acting, I wouldn’t have achieved most of the things I have achieved in life. I have achieved so many things that I can’t start counting them. I thank God for Nollywood. I hope and pray we get better, so we can also be like Hollywood. What do you feel about Nollywood’s failure to meet up to the international standard practice of shooting movies on celluloid? Anyway, what I’ll say is, as an individual, I think I have done something. I didn’t shoot with just any camera. And shooting on celluloid depends on your pocket, on your budget. I’m actually thinking of something like that. But you don’t expect people who don’t have the support of the government to shoot on celluloid.
Do you think the claim that Nollywood is the third largest movie industry in the world is valid, considering that Nollywood doesn’t do celluloid movies?
In spite of its shortcomings, I still give kudos to Nollywood. I agree that some of the movies are terribly bad. Abroad, they can use one year to shoot a movie. But here in Nigeria, two weeks, and the movie is done. And at times, they come out well. There are some award-winning movies that they shot under two weeks. So, if given more time, I believe that we deserve to be called the third largest.