Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meet Roseline Sanni Ajose (RSA):

Travelling Ghana, Britain, Nigeria and every where for movies’ sake

RSA: Roseline Sanni Ajose
It was inside the office of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s envoy in Ghana, Amb Demola Seyi Onafowokan, that we met. Our encounter was simply fortuitous, for we hadn’t the slightest premonition of running into an epitome of versatility, when we went visiting the Nigerian high commissioner in Ghana on 11 October, 2013.

Fifteen years ago, when she was still a starry-eyed 15-year-old, the teenager was taken to London. Apart from recent visits to shoot on location in Lagos, this lady has been in the United Kingdom ever since. Her full name is Mrs. Roseline Sanni Ajose, but permit me to address this lady simply as RSA, henceforth.

It is not always you run into a London-based Nigerian-born actress and RSA is one of them. RSA is not your run-of-the-mill actress: she is a theatre nurse, movie producer, script-writer and more; all rolled in one. RSA is also founder of an outfit called Inspiration Production. And, when we asked; what’s that?

She told mauricearchibongtravels that, “Inspiration Production UK company was formed in 2009, with a view to making a difference in Nigeria’s movie industry (Nollywood)”. RSA added that, it is not enough to just complain all the time: “We established Inspiration Production as people often complained of poor production and quality of Nigerian-made films”.

However, “Inspiration Production”, she continued: “Was not created to only take Nollywood to new heights but also to inspire. This is a huge stepping-stone and we believe that it will be an angle to draw-in more Africans in the Diaspora. In a nutshell, our company is set to build and encourage new faces in the UK who aspire to become actors and actresses regardless of your race or background”.  

As if these were not enough, RSA is also married and a mother of two. She is married to Mr. Kolawole Ajose. The world knew that the day the couple tied the proverbial nuptial knot. However, RSA would rather keep the names of her two kids out of this. Apparently, she is not only a devout mother; but also very protective of her babies and family. Family is special, and so is work. But, she makes sure neither infects the other.

What brought RSA to Ghana? She had heard countless people describe Ghana as “very beautiful”, and she was “visiting to see things first-hand”, she revealed. Was it her first sojourn in the former Gold Coast? “Yes, it’s my first visit”, she remarked. It was her premier tour, but we met on the lady’s third day since arriving in Accra.

Now, what was her impression after roughly 72 hours in Nkrumah’s country? Clad in a pink midi-length dress with conspicuous, intricately designed, silver ear-rings dangling from her lobes; RSA smiled and after a meditative pause, mused; “Yeah, Ghana is very nice. Lovely people, lovely food”.

It turned out RSA was not in Africa just to see Ghana. She was actually in transit en route Nigeria. For almost 16 years, RSA has not visited her hometown, Owo. Nonetheless, RSA’s love for her motherland, Nigeria, has not waned. Hear her: “My vision is to come and live in Nigeria, eventually”.

RSA had another reason, a professional motive, for coming to Nigeria. She came to push her first movie, Labo: Life is a journey. Shot at locations in Lagos and London, this film’s title derives from the Yoruba language phrase, Ile l’abo isimi oko. Directed by Femi Fadeyi, the movie’s subtitle, Life is a journey, more or less adumbrates the theme.

Cumulatively, how long did it take to put Labo together? “Shooting alone, took all of 12 months. But, from start to the finish, Labo gulped some 18 months before its premiere”, she recalled. Did you know that, of the plethora of movies Nollywood has spawned over the last 25 years or so, Figurine is RSA’s favourite. This was RSA’s coo: “O, I love Figurine”.

As to what she found particularly alluring about Figurine, RSA went on to reveal: “That film has a title and sub-title. I don’t know the meaning of the sub-title, which is in indigenous language, but we all understand figurine. I think it was this film’s title that inspired me to choose Labo: Life is a journey as title and sub-title for my own movie. I really love Kunle Afolayan’s work and I’m looking forward to working with him, someday”, she revealed.

RSA played Labo’s lead character, Omodesola (Dessy). Aside being one of the characters, script-writer RSA also doubled as Executive Producer. Like virtually every Nigerian-made movie in the last 20 years, Labo is also not on celluloid. “We shot with HD cameras, but in the UK it is already playing at many cinemas”.

Labo premiered in Britain months ago, but the movie’s UK re-run is slated for 28 December at Harris Academy Theatre Hall in Peckham, London. Furthermore, “the film is billed to premiere in Holland sometime in January 2014”, enthused RSA, who added that, Nigeria and Ghana premieres were also on the card for the first quarter of next year.

Apart from coming to raise awareness about Labo, RSA was also visiting Nigeria for the 2013 Nollywood Awards. Why was she interested? “Because I’m a Nigerian actress and Nollywood really, really, supported my film in London”, she remarked.

RSA again: “The Nigerian community and corporate bodies really did a lot for me. DSTV was there and they help to enhance the popularity of our work, so I’m proud to identify with what they do”. Shockingly, RSA had never heard of one of Burkina Faso’s claims to fame; Fespaco, the biennial filmfest held in Ouagadougou.

“I’ve never heard of it”, she confessed. Instead of embarrassment, RSA was as ever anxious to hear more about FESPACO. She queried: “When is their next festival? Because I’d love to go”. Apparently, she was already planning a visit to the Burkinabe capital for the next FESPACO.

After some five days in Ghana, RSA, came over to Lagos, Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence to push her movie. Want to meet RSA? Who wouldn’t! But, you might have to travel to Britain to see her. The lady returned to the UK on 16 November. She spent roughly two weeks in Nigeria before going back. What message was she taking to Nigerians in the UK?

“I’m going to encourage them (other Nigerians in Britain) to come home as often as possible. This is our home. We’ve got good food, the good life and rich history, so come home. This is what Labo is all about. If you want Nigeria to get better, then come home and contribute towards making it a better place. I’ll tell them not to sit in London and always criticise Nigeria as being bad. We’re not bad people and our country would get better with all hands on deck”, she enthused.
Aside trying to push her debut movie amid her other official and domestic engagements, RSA is already working on another film. “We haven’t given it a title, yet. But, it’s a foreign film”, she concluded with a cheery smile.

No comments:

Post a Comment