Africa Day reflections with the MTF Class of 2018: Q&A with Nigerian filmmaker and MTF Academy alumnus Allen Onyige
This Africa Day, looking back is just as important as looking forward. It’s been over a year since the first group of MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy candidates joined the programme! Among them is Nigerian filmmaker Allen Onyige, one of the 20 West African young creatives selected to attend the programme at the academy hub in Lagos in 2018. MTF caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to since completing the programme.
What was your experience like at the MTF Academy?
My experience at the academy was insightful, I didn’t just learn from the facilitators that came in daily, but I learned a lot from my fellow classmates who were at the top of their games. My goal at the academy was to be the better version of myself and I am happy I achieved that by unlearning what was not important before the academy, and relearning what is important while at the academy.
Who had the biggest impact on you during the programme?
I was inspired every day by my fellow classmates, but I think I got the biggest impact from Adeniyi ‘Taj’ Joseph. We were roommates, we discussed filmmaking almost every day and we experimented on some shorts. In addition, listening to our Academy Director Femi Odugbemi speak words of wisdom had a big impact on me. What have you been up to since completing the programme? I have made two films, Sunset in Makoko and Nkiruka. They’ve both been acquired by M-Net (Africa Magic). Sunset in Makoko has played in so many international film festival worldwide, it is an official selection for Nigeria’s iREPRESENT film festival 2020, the UK’s Lift-off Session 2019, the Mashariki African Film Festival in Rwanda, the BeBop Channel Content Festival in the US, the 2019 IntimaLente/IntimateLens Film Festival in Italy, and many other consideration that are not yet official.
Amazing! You’ve been busy. Collaboration is a big part of the MTF Academy ethos and plays an important role in the knowledge exchange within Africa’s film and creative industry. Have you collaborated with any of your former MTF classmates since finishing the programme?
I have! My film Sunset in Makoko was written by Amber Idongesit, Hilda Awori, and Precious Irogalachi. It was shot by Adeniyi ‘Taj’ Joseph and myself, the sound was done by Metong Minwon, and I have also worked on some projects with other alumni.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the world’s creative film and TV industry, but now more than ever, it has shown how important this industry is as many people rely on its creativity while at home. How has it affected you?
COVID-19 has actually pushed me towards creativity. I am currently making a documentary for an organization, and I have been traveling around Nigeria documenting the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s economy and how it is affecting low-income earners. And yes, I have been keeping safe. Don’t stop being creative, this is the time to put in work; this is the time to analyse yourself and study.