When Onyeka Nwelue received two Africa Movie Academy Awards nominations, Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, noted that ‘washing’ (Nigerian lingo for celebrating a feat) was paramount.
Nwelue, who was nominated for his work in ‘Agwaetiti Obiụtọ’, did not win the award but said there was “a lot of washing because we bought maybe about 120 bottles of wine”.
In a chat with TheCable Lifestyle, Nwelue spoke of how the Nobel laureate motivated him to go into filmmaking and to not chase perfection.
He said: “There’s no such thing as perfection and this is what I’ve learnt from Soyinka. He said to me ‘Go make films, whether they are good or not, people will watch it, people will like it. Go write books, publish them, if there are errors, that’s the reason why we have second edition of books’.
Nwelue continued: “Just create, just do it. Don’t think about perfection and that is what is holding a lot of young people around the world because they all want to be perfect, they want to release a song that is a hit. You can’t be like that, you can’t create a hit by thinking about it.”
The ‘Abyssinian Boy’ author said contrary to popular belief, Soyinka is “like the most accessible Nigerian”.
Nwelue said the Nobel laureate will feature as an eponymous character in the new book he “just finished” writing.
“I have just finished a new book now, I have published six books this year already because when I had a car accident, I figured that I needed to hurry up, something might just happen, I might just die,” he said.
“So I have finished another manuscript, it’s called the other side of obsession; it’s a story about the PhD student who is obsessed with Wole Soyinka.
“It’s an Igbo man who is obsessed with this Yoruba man and finally, he wakes up one morning and he’s told that Soyinka is coming to deliver a Chinua Achebe lecture in UNN and that’s where he finally meets Soyinka.”
The author, who received his first AMAA nomination in 2017, described filmmaker Kunle Afolayan as his inspiration in Nollywood.
Nwelue said: “He’s a huge inspiration to me that you can make your film and still be a celebrity and still make money from it and still inspire people and diversify.
“Figurine was the film that won AMAA the first time I ever attended AMAA awards in Bayelsa and I said to my brother in the hall that night that one day, I’ll be on this stage.”
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