Obi Emelonye, Nigerian director, says being defrauded back in 2000 taught him a lesson in filmmaking.


During a chat with BBC Igbo, the 54-year-old, who is an ex-footballer, recalled his initial foray into Nollywood.

He said he had returned from the diaspora in 2000 to take on a movie project but fell prey to fraudulent associates.

“Starting something new doesn’t often go as planned but, with grit and consistency, you will find a way around it. Getting into filmmaking is difficult. I returned to Nigeria in 2000 but my associates duped me,” Emelonye stated.


“I’ve learned vital lessons. It made me go back to the diaspora where I prepared myself before returning a second time. As a filmmaker, my life changed. When I started making films, I wasn’t earning a living on it. I’m a lawyer.

“After going about my job in the day, I return at night to movies. I was doing the two, living on one while the other was what I wanted to do in the near future. That was how I juggled the two until I felt the movie could feed me.

“What’s important is that you know when to commit your all to something. But when you’re just starting out, you have to have something you can always fall back to when the times are hard.”


Known for directing award-winning films like ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ (2012), ‘The Mirror Boy’ (2011), and ‘Onye Ozi’ (2013), Emelonye has worked with some of Africa’s biggest names in Hollywood, Europe, and Nigeria.

In 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the director was dubbed the first indigenous director to make a movie via Zoom.

He had worked remotely with cast members in London and Lagos and ‘Heart 2 Heart’, the movie, received acclaim.


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