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Nora Awolowo Discusses Becoming a Filmmaker, Winning AMVCA & Wearing Many Creative Hats in Today’s “Doing Life With…”

Doing Life With… is a BellaNaija Features series that showcases how people live, work, travel, care for their families and… everything in between. We are documenting the lives of all people and ensuring everyone is well-represented at BN.

Did you miss last week’s conversation with Destiny Ogedegbe? You can catch up here.

This week, we’re doing life with Nora Awolowo, a director, photographer, filmmaker, and cinematographer.

Hey Nora. How do you do?’

Hi BellaNaija. Today, I feel good.

Great! Give us a peep into your background, and what part of your childhood influenced who you are today

I grew up in a family of 5 – two siblings, my parents and I. To be honest, growing up was fun for me. We all had vivid dreams of what we wanted to be as adults, only if we knew what adulting looks like. Here we are.🤣

What do they say about adulthood again?

Na scam.

Haha. So, you’re a director, photographer, filmmaker, and cinematographer. Tell us about your journey into the film industry

I started as a mobile photographer during one of the ASUU strikes when I was in 200L. I worked hard and got a camera. Then I transitioned into photography full-time. I got bored and thought of everything else I could still do in the visual storytelling space. So I decided I wanted to become a cinematographer too. Started learning the ropes, and combined it with video editing and drone piloting as an additional skill. So here I am, doing all.

Proud of your journey, Nora

Thank you.

Winning an AMVCA is one of the most significant feats for a creative. Can you tell us about the process behind the winning documentary?

Winning the AMVCA was a good feeling. I received an email to work on a project in Nigeria and my company led the team. Usually, I do not take a project seriously until I hear the voices on a call. However, this project caught my attention as they immediately disclosed that it was a FIFA project. That spiked my excitement, and we had a series of calls to discuss research and finding the talents we wanted to feature. After putting a team together, we were ready to start. The entire pre-production and production process took us about two months, followed by post-production, which took us another 6-8 months

What were the top two emotions you felt having received such recognition?

I remember I didn’t think I would win even when I had two nominations in the same category. I had others in the same category that had done really good stuff and my mind wasn’t even thinking I could win. I just wanted to go for the after-party after hearing how lit it was. Winning it was a good feeling; everyone deserves to win in life, to be honest. My emotions were all over the place and I had to switch off my major line for a week to control the calls I was getting. It felt good, I won’t lie.

Love that. As a visual storyteller, what inspires you to create impactful narratives through your art?

Anything I create needs to resonate with people. At least, one person should be able to resonate with it and I am good. We all can use our skills to impact the world one day at a time, and that is what I try to do with my personal projects.

Can you share some experiences in the course of your journey that have left a lasting impact on your perception of the world?

I think, for me, knowing “The Show Must Go On” in my cause of work if anything happens to you makes me find a balance between work and rest. If you die on set today, they will probably take a day off if they like you and continue shooting the day after. I always say there is a thin line between hard work and suffer head. I understand the need to find your daily bread, but I tell my friends it is someone who is alive that will spend the money. Working smart is one of my priorities in life, and I am still a work in progress in finding that balance.

Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, I have a ton of work that I expect should be out towards the second quarter and last quarter. Last year was for doing a lot of work, and also some personal news from myself later. Looking forward to all of its releases.

We look forward to them too. Tell us one funny behind-the-story that makes you laugh out loud when you remember it

I always think what happens in BTS is funnier than the story being filmed itself. But I’m trying to crack my head about a particular story to tell you now.

So, what’s a typical day in your life like?

My day depends on if I have to be at work. I think I am not a morning or night person. I function well from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. So if I have an early call time, my grumpy self has to find my way there and get the job done. When I am not at work, I wake up and just lay in bed depending on what I plan to do for the day. I read a lot these days, watch movies and probably find myself drinking wine to relax. On other days, I may be at home but attending to preproduction duties.

One unconventional opinion you have about the Nollywood industry?

A lot of Nollywood problem comes from a place of money and a thriving environment to film. Filming in Nigeria is chaotic. Comparing the budget of Nollywood films to other industries even makes the argument ridiculous.

Tell us one movie you wish you shot

Oh, Oloture!

Why?

It’s a beautiful movie.

Let’s say you are invited to film a project but you’re only allowed to use a single gadget. What would it be and why?

Definitely my phone. Watch me perform magic with it.

Top 3 fun things you’d do if you were offered 150 million naira right here, right now?

Buy Ram Suya of 10k. Probably stay at home and just chill my head for three days. Not fun, but I am big on financial prudence, so I am definitely listing out things to invest the money into.

Thanks for being on Doing Life With…, Nora

Thank you for having me.

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Many thanks to Nora Awolowo for having this conversation with us and answering all our questions – and swiftly too, we must add.

Do you love this content, have any feedback for us or want to be a BellaNaija Features contributor? We’d love to read from you. Shoot us an email: [email protected]Join us on Saturday for the next episode!

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