Ghanaian movie producer of Nigerian descent, Daniel Edah, known in the industry as Lopez, is one of the country’s young producers going through all odds to survive in a clearly ‘struggling movie industry’.
He told Francis Addo in this exclusive interview that “there is too much hatred in the Ghanaian movie industry.”
This wide spread hatred, he opined, is having an adverse effect on the success of the industry.
Lopez also spoke about his movies, his career as a producer and the industry in general.
Below is the interview:
Is it difficult to get started as a producer?
I wouldn’t say it’s hard because I didn’t start filmmaking as a producer. I started as an ordinary observer on set, and I was actually a continuity man which is more like a script supervisor before I advanced into producing my own movies.
How is the experience so far?
The marketers and distributors believe so much in the old producers, to an extent they don’t even scrutinise their contents before distributing. That brings too many lackluster, forgettable and just plain bad movies pouring into theatres; distracting the entertainment media, and the audience of good contents, and more importantly overwhelming the audience. Sometimes the new or independent producer’s films that are picked up for distribution are guaranteed a limited theatre run and publicity.
This is supposed to be a dream come true, but until some of these issues are tackled, I won’t say I am enjoying it yet.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a life in filmmaking?
It can be frustrating sometimes, but I keep telling people to never give up on their dreams. We should always invest our efforts and resources into things that we have passion for.
Tell us about your production house.
Well, DEO Studios is aimed at bringing modern creativity and known for our enormous and educative movies. I have quite a number of movies to my credit, ‘Suicidal Game’ was produced and released on DVD market in 2013, I did ‘Mufty’s Diary’ series in 2014, ‘In April’ was produced in 2015 but was released in cinemas and digital markets in 2016, ‘Rosemary’ was produced in early 2016, and of course the new one ‘Swings’ was produced this year. These movies feature the likes of Yvonne Nelson, Chris Attoh, Regina Van-Helvert, Eddie Nartey, Ekow Blankson, Bismark Nii Odoi (The Joke) Pascal Amanfo, Roselyn Ngissah, Amaechi Muonagor, Beverly Osu, Umar Krupp, Fella Makafui and many more African actors.
What assurance do we have that your production house would stand the test of time?
We have passed the test, I have had my challenges, and challenges do not haul me; that’s why it’s my profession.
‘In April’ was a big opener.
Yes, ‘In April’ was my first cinema movie, and it’s the movie that brought me into limelight and more exposure. I’ll say its hard work and God’s grace, for it actually met my expectations.
You made a lot of money from that production?
I invested a lot of money and efforts into that production, so as they say, to what much is invested, much is expected…it’s vice versa.
What was the most important lesson you learnt from that production, especially working with a celebrated name as Yvonne Nelson?
As I said before, that wasn’t my first produced movie, but I learnt a lot from that one being the big one at that time.
I had always wanted to work with Yvonne Nelson, she’s very natural when it comes to acting, and fortunately for me I got the perfect script at the right time to work with her.I must say, she’s very influential and supportive if you know her personally.
Everyone calls you Lopez.
The real name is Daniel Edah. Lopez is an adopted name from my Spanish friends just like I have adopted a Ghanaian name, Elikem.
I am from a family of four. I hail from Jesse, Delta State of Nigeria. I look quiet on the outside, but people who know me personally know that I talk a lot when I am cool and comfortable with people around, but above all, I am very reserved.
Why do you set out to be a producer? Is it about the money?
Well, at first I didn’t even think about the money, although it all follows. I just wanted to actualise my dreams and the things I have passion for.
What has been your career dream from childhood and does that influence what you do today?
I started following drama group activities from my childhood, in school and church but my parents wanted me to do Law.
It is believed producers take advantage of young ladies.
I don’t know if that is true anyway, but I cast people based on what I see in them, how capable they are to do the job and if you check my movies very well, you will see that I really give opportunities to new actors.
What are your general impressions about the movie industry so far?
We lack supports from one another in the Ghanaian movie industry, too much hatred, selfishness and people trying to sabotage other people’s works. I think it’s time high we made something out of nothing. Let’s help and support one another.
It is true that the industry is dying?
I keep hearing and seeing in the news that the industry is dying, some even say the industry is dead, but I don’t hear people talk about possibilities or points of improving the industry.
Any ideas to further improve the industry?
Maybe for now, I should use this opportunity to plead with some of our senior colleagues to stop fighting for power and position, but rather bring everyone together so that we can all improve the industry at large.
How soon are you bouncing back to the big screens with another production?
I try to be very consistent; yes consistency is a major key to success. We deliver one or two movies every year.