Many people have seen The Train movie and read few things about it, but very few people have heard from the writer of the movie. Damilola Mike-Bamiloye is of course the first child of Evang. Mike Bamiloye. Damilola added another feather to his cap when he wrote, shot and produced a movie on the Biography of his father and titled it “The Train.” In this exclusive Interview with Gospel Film News, Damilola Mike-Bamiloye disclosed what gave him inspiration to write the story, how the production was challenging starting from casting to costumes, locations, props and the likes. He also revealed to Gospel Film News what later happened to Bro. Rotimi who exit Mount Zion Faith Ministries. Excerpt:
What gave you the inspiration to write ‘The Train’ movie?
I believe it’s the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the truth of the matter is that my desire has always been that people will know the backstory of Mount Zion. A lot of people see the glory, they see the great things happening in the ministry but they don’t understand the sacrifice or the story that gave birth to the glory, all they see is the great things. When you see a great man of God or you see a great man doing exploits, you might want to find out, don’t just be distracted….yes, pay attention to the great things this man of God is doing, don’t just look at the physical things that you see, the display of the great things that God is using this man of God to do, I think it is important to understand the sacrifice that this man of God has paid. I just felt that it is very important for us to understand the sacrifices of our fathers in Mount Zion, they’ve paid a lot of sacrifices to be where they are today, but a lot of young generation ministers like myself, younger generation don’t really understand the sacrifice, there is more attention on manifestation, people just want to manifest but not everybody want to prepare, so people pay more attention to manifestation and less attention to preparation and if you understand from the life of Mike Bamiloye, there is lot of preparation that God has made him to pass through before we all see the manifestation we are seeing now, and that is very important.
Knowing fully well that the movie is a Biography Film, how were you able to source for right cast to take each role?
I will say again, it is the Holy Spirit, I cannot give credit to myself, I will always give credit back to God, because He made it possible, He is the one that got these casts. What happened was I realized that I cannot do the casting alone, so I decided involve my father and mother particularly for the two principal characters that is, Brother Mike and Sister Gloria because I needed to be sure that people that would be acting their roles are people that they will be connected to spiritually. We had a list of actors and we presented it to daddy, and daddy particularly choose Brother Seun and said look, I think brother Seun carries the same spirit and would be able to act it, so we called brother Seun but for Sister Gloria, it was a little bit challenging, I was even asking a lot of questions, I was going around asking people “who did you think look like my mum?” People gave different pictures, different people but I know that it is very important for that kind of character to be connected to mum and mum need to be connected to that person, mum herself choose the character, Tolu Mike-Bamiloye.
I can say that some of the characters were chosen by my Dad and my Mum, I wasn’t entirely responsible for the casting. For the other actor, Young Abayomi, in fact, we’ve banged on getting the cast nomination, when we got to Ilesha, we did a little audition for the kids there and we discovered that those kids could not even act, we did not brought out camera, we just tell them to do some little things, they were so shy, they were so uncertain, a lot of insecurity around them, they couldn’t really act it well, so I felt a lit bit concerned, I prayed about it, then somebody just called me and said that we should give Evangelist Esupofo’s son a try, that the son seems to be a good actor and we are talking about two days to location. Another person called me, a different source, and said why not just try this person, Evangelist Esupofo’s son, it’s like a confirmation of what the first person said, so I gave it a shot, I called Evangelist Esupofo and his concern was that are you sure because Peter (his son) was already grown, that he is already of age but I said he should not worry. We didn’t do audition for Peter to be honest, I think we just went on set. Two days to the location, we gave him the script, it was a day to the location, when we are at the dinning with my mummy, we just call Peter together, we told him to act out some things and he did it quite well, we thank God that all the casts were acting under the inspiration of God.
How were you able to pile up all the life history of Evang. Mike Bamiloye in a movie and decided to make it chapter by chapter?
First of all, it was a little easier for me because I know daddy, I know some of his stories and he shares some of his stories with us easily since I was very small, he has been telling us this is what happened in my life, so I have known some of this stories, sometimes when he preaches. If you know him very well, you will know some of these stories, he shares some of this stories while preaching, so I think what we did was just a collection of everything just came together. As I was writing the script, I just remember different stories he has told us and I compiled them together, some of them, we added to it, some of them, we just adjusted, basically, that was how I got to get all the stories together. Most importantly, I kept praying for revelation because beyond just a story, I want a message from God that will be a blessing to the world, God has a reason because God is the greatest scriptwriter, He was the one that made daddy passed through those things, it’s like God wrote the script for daddy to pass through or for daddy to act out his life. God has already written the story, daddy was just acting the story, now my prayer was that God should give me a revelation on why he made daddy pass through those experiences, that’s why the message is powerful, that was why a lot of people could take away something because when some are writing stories, I needed to write something that people will take away, that people will be blessed, lives will be imparted because if you just tell a story, that is a waste but if you tell a story that people will be blessed by it, I think that is a blessing.
How long does it take you to write the script?
The Train is a very peculiar script, it is not like a fiction, initially when I wrote the first draft of the script, it looks like a fiction because I added my own idea to it. I felt for it to be enjoyable, that there should be some fiction aspect, so I had my own idea but daddy heard about the story and my mum was concerned that look you cannot make it too much of a fiction because if you do, people will question the validity of the story, and this are true people, you cannot just paint people’s picture anyhow, so they were concerned so I have to write another draft. We wrote like three different draft so it’s very hard to specify how long, it wasn’t like my other scripts that I write in two weeks. The first draft was written in two weeks, the second draft was for like another two weeks, it kept going, even on set we were having corrections, we were having additions, we were having corrections from dad, suggestions and observations so as to get accuracy of event, it is very difficult to put a time frame for how long the script was written.
Looking at the props, costumes and locations, how challenging was it to get the appropriate ones for the shoot?
That is why I have to involve two of my fathers to come and help me direct: Daddy Yemi Adepoju and Daddy Isaac Femi-Akintunde because I wasn’t really born in that era, I can’t remember much details from that era, they’ve lived that era and understood the era particularly Daddy Yemi Adepoju who was also part of the foundational members of Mount Zion. I have to involve them to help with the directing, but for the props, getting the props and the costumes; thank God for the two brethren that came all the from Oshogbo, they brought in a lots of costumes and they helped us a lot. Another amazing thing about the Train was that some of the actors brought their costumes, people contributed to make this work, it wasn’t a solo success, it wasn’t just about me, I wasn’t the only one that made it work, a lot of cast brought in their costumes, the set designer too brought in costumes, the props manager brought in costumes, the makeup artiste Mummy Nike Owah, she did an amazing work, she helped us to sew some costumes, and we have pictures of mummy and daddy that we are trying to follow to get the accuracy of everything, it is a joint work basically.
Apart from God, what can you attribute the success of the production to?
I can’t attribute the success of the train to anything, ity God, God, God and God alone, He made it a success, God was the one that gave us the ability, the strength to use our little resources to achieve a lot, It God, God and God alone.
Why did you titled it “The TRAIN”?
Initially when the train was written, it ended at the train scene, that was the first draft, that was where the movie ended, where Brother Mike saw the brethren and they both entered the train, then I sent the script to Daddy Yemi Adepoju, he read it and he told me and said No, it cannot end there, that it has to end in Agbara Nla because that’s where the glory is and so he had to add the Agbala Nla scene to it. I think the Train is an experience that actually happened but most importantly, I think it’s a metaphorical interpretation, in the sense that the train symbolizes our journey, we are on a Train going to heaven as the song says, we are on the journey of faith and if you are in ministry, you must understand that we are in a train. Now, a lot of people will go with you on that train, most importantly, God is the driver of that train and that train is a journey, that train you are in is a ministry and you are on a journey. You will face so many trials and temptations on the road, you will face so many issues, so many conflict but the most important things is to always trust the driver of that train that this train will not crash, this train will not have accident because He is the one that has commissioned me to enter the train and He says He is the one that will drive the train, I trust him completely that no matter what I will get to the destination. I think that was the strong force that was keeping Brother Mike going, even when he felt like he was the only one, he knew that God has called him to this commission and he decided that you know what; I’m going to take this train, this journey of faith even if I’m the only one, I’m going to take the journey of faith alone and I know God will see me through and God surprised him by bringing the Mount Zion brethren that will help him, the foundational fathers and mothers that entered the Train with him on a journey to fulfill his destiny. We are all on a train and I think it’s very important for us to depend completely on the driver of the train. So many people have kicked God out of the train of their life and they have taken the wheel themselves, they have taken control of the driving themselves, that is why a lot of people crashed prematurely, they crash when they are not supposed to crash because God is no more driving that train.
Your wife was in labour during the shoot of the movie and you were on set filming the train, how were you able to control your emotions?
It is the grace of God, I trusted that God that led me to this film location will see me through, will help my wife, so I just have to trust God completely and focus on His work and allow God to focus on my wife. God saw us through, it is the grace of God to be honest.
In the storyline Brother Rotimi exits the ministry. Where is Bro Rotimi now?
Bro Rotimi left the ministry completely at that time but he later reconciled with Daddy Mike. Although he did not come back to the ministry but he later reconciled with Daddy Mike.
The movie was a bit silent about the biological father of Evang. Mike Bamiloye. What role did his father played in his life?
You know the funniest thing is, unfortunately people did not notice the father was in the movie. If you look at the third scene of the movie, The Train, you could remember he was at the burial of the mother where the priest was preaching, it was a very brief scene, you will see a man was carrying Abayomi, that man was his father, that was the man that was carrying Abayomi when he was a very little boy when everyone was crying, people were crying because of the death of the mother. Also the father was the one that went to meet the sister in the house, that was sitting down and the sister told Abayomi that the father was in the room. The father was the man that prophesied and said “I saw your wife in a dream, she is tall, light and she is from Ilesha.” People thought that man was Adepeju’s husband, No, Adepeju’s husband was in the last scene coming down, that man was the father of Adepeju and Abayomi.
Talking about the soundtrack, it’s somehow different from the usual Mount Zion style, Introducing chants and the likes, what is the idea behind this?
If you watch Mount Zion films well, you will discover that the soundtrack has some kind of similarities because they are all produced by JayMikee, (I believe JayMikee will give you more details about the soundtrack) but we wanted something epic for the train. If you watch Land of Fury, you will discovered it has a little bit of chant but we wanted something different, something epic, we kept on praying about it and at a point Joshua had his own musical block too, what I mean by musical block is that he didn’t know what to produce, and we kept praying about it and I believe God gave him the inspiration too to produce that soundtrack.
There has been several testimonies and reviews written on the movie, what do you see to this?
All I can say is I give God the glory, To God be the glory.
As someone who millions of youths are looking up to as mentor, what advice do you have for young ones out there?
My advice for young people out there is to rise up and kick start the vision that God has given unto them. They should not feel down, they should not feel limited, they should not feel because they don’t have the necessary funds, they should not try to compare themselves to other people, that this people have the means to do this but they don’t have the means to do this, because of that, they will now be redundant. Don’t give yourselves an excuse to be redundant, when God gives you a vision, hold on to the vision as if it is your life, beacause actually, that vision is your life and run with the vision, use the limited resources. If you look around you and you discovered that you don’t have the abundant of making the vision works or the funds, look around you, you will always have the stone to kill that Goliath like David, you will always have those five stones to pull down Goliath, you may not have the sword, you may not have the shield, you may not have the expensive weapons and the equipment but you will always have that stones to pull down Goliath and all it takes is just faith, a step of faith and ability to just allow God use you. A lot of people have vision but very few people are willing to run with that vision, others just feel they don’t have the ability so they are redundant, don’t give yourself an excuse to be redundant.
Alright. Thank you so much for your time with Gospel Film News.
God bless you.