The TENANT™, an International Award Winning Movie; written, produced, and directed by Jude Idada and Lucky Ejim.
The movie is about a young man “Obinna”, a Nigerian refugee in Canada, who faces deportation in 30 days. When all hopes seems lost, a chance confrontation with Timothy, his terminally ill landlord provides him an opportunity to remain in the country. Timothy who is a former immigration officer makes him a deal; he will intervene in his pending deportation if Obinna finds his estranged daughter Nicole and convinces her to see him one last time before he dies. With the clock ticking, Obinna fights to save his dreams, in the course of which he stumbles on a discovery that will shake the very foundations of his beliefs.
Bode Ojo’s Exclusive Interview with Film Director/Actor “LUCKY EJIM”
GOLDEN ICONS Q1: Congratulations on this excellent movie production “The Tenant”. How did you come up with such a brilliant idea?
Lucky Ejim A1: Thank you Bode, The Tenant was born out of a long, cold winter night of brainstorming between Jude Idada (Writer/Producer) and I in December 2005 after nursing our wound from the disappointing trip we had embarked on the year before to Nigeria in search of funds for another project we had intended to be our inaugural production. Just so you are clear, here is how it went down. We set out to Nigeria to raise funds for a particular feature length script that was tailor made for Nigerian audience but fell short because the budgeted funds ($400,000) sounded too alien to the various prospective investors we met since in their estimation, that amount could make 10 to 15 films. With confluence of ideas and ideals lacking between them and us, we returned to Canada. We pondered on our experience and decided to instead create something that looks at the displacement of immigrants…since we appeared to be immigrants at the time even though we had become naturalized Canadians. With the will to make it happen by any means necessary, we both sold our houses and cars, maxed out our credit cards and went to work. The rest is history.
GOLDEN ICONS Q2: How did you get into film directing and acting? Did you get some formal training?
Lucky Ejim A2: I got a formal training in both Acting and Directing. My basic knowledge of acting, I got from the University of Benin in Nigeria. This was further enhanced by my study of script writing and directing at the Toronto Film School in Canada. The propellant for me into acting was my love for Literature and English back in high school in Nigeria. I realized early enough that my journey in the science world (as I was a science student at the time) was a dead end because after much soul searching I couldn’t see fulfillment in the horizon. So I chose what I had passion for and after 15 or so years….I am still in it and love every bit of it.
As for directing, it became inevitable that I would wear this hat as well because I needed to harness the various facets of my being as a story teller. I was made to believe that an Actor is like a book waiting to be read and I was just impatient to wait for someone to hear my voice so I decided to instead scream and that required directing. What I am saying in essence is that the only way through which the stories that my heart yearns for could reach the general populace was for me to take on both hats. There you go…your question has been answered.
GOLDEN ICONS Q3: I believe this is your first movie production, and if I am correct, what were the challenges, as it seems like you are an expert?
Lucky Ejim A3: This is not my first movie production per se, but my debut as a feature film Director. I had directed four short films before directing The Tenant and have worked as an Actor on a few films prior to making this. It is definitely my first baby as far as Broken Manacles Entertainment Inc. (my production company – owned in partnership with Jude Idada) is concerned.
The major challenge was funding because Jude and I self financed the film. We struggled with getting money and got to the point that we had to sell off our houses and cars to make it happen. You can agree that is a huge sacrifice that would jolt anyone, but the love; passion and need to succeed against all odds kept us going. The post-production phase was not easy as well because of fund constraint. And it didn’t help that we were striving for perfection. Although we shot it in 2006, we ended up finishing the film in 2008.
GOLDEN ICONS Q4: Where did you shoot the movie, and how did you get the other actors that played various roles in the movie?
Lucky Ejim A4: 95% of the movie was shot in Canada and 5% was shot in Nigeria. I had a casting call, that a lot of Actors attended and had them all auditioned and the actors you now see emerged the best among the bunch.
GOLDEN ICONS Q5: What should we expect next from you, and how soon is this movie coming out?
Lucky Ejim A5: The movie is out and currently playing in all Silverbird cinemas in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. As well as Ozone cinema in Yaba. It is scheduled for release in Genesis Deluxe cinema Port Harcourt, on January 29th 2010.
There is a lot in the offing for me. The recently completed Moby Dick that I worked on as an Actor, playing the role of a Harpooner is due for release at the end of this year. So everyone should look out for that. Jude and I and the entire Broken Manacles family are working tenaciously at making a horror flick next and pre production is underway at the moment. I have also signed on to be in a film called The Lockdown, and in negotiation to star in another film whose name I can’t reveal at the moment.
The plans for 2011 and beyond would be revealed at a later date.
Thanks for all your questions.
More Exclusives on Lucky Ejim coming soon!!!
Interview by Bode Ojo for Golden ICONS Inc. Golden ICONS is a celebrity, lifestyle, inspirational and entertainment magazine tailored to embrace and highlight the outstanding deeds of ICONS and Citizens of Africa, America and Europe.