INTERVIEW: marketing and distribution of Gospel Films still remain a bottleneck- Film Maker

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Isaac Afolahan is a gospel film maker, a drama evangelist and the chairman of Lagos state ANCEDRAM. He is very skillful, goal oriented and a visionary leader. Afolahan has shot a number of films and his contribution to the gospel film industry cannot be overemphasised. In this exclusive interview with Gospel Film News publisher, Oluwafemi Dosu, the film maker disclosed his journey so far and the secret behind his success as Lagos ANCEDRAM chairman. Excerpt:

Can we meet you sir?

My name is Isaac Yemi Afolahan. The President of C-GEDRAM Global Network. CEO, Floris Media Global Link and the current Chairman, ANCEDRAM, Lagos State.

Could you please lead us into your background?

I am a native of Ijomu-Oro, in Irepodun local govt. of Kwara State, though I was born in Ila Orangun and had my elementary schooling there before i proceeded to Ilorin to where i had my HND in Urban and Regional Planning from Kwara State Polytechnic. I was born into a Muslim family and i attended Arabic Schools before the Lord encountered me in March 1997. I am the first in the family of five (5).

What about your professional background?

As a film maker, I started under Reverend Yemi Adepoju, the President of Victory Drama Group in Ilorin Kwara State, I grew under him learning through his ministry as a member then, later i attended Mount Zion Institute between 2005 (OCP) and 2007 (ACP), i enrolled to learn Cinematogry at Kingdom Vision Network under the tutelage  of Evang. Kayode Alao,. After that, I went back to Ilorin to learn Film Editing of which i develop myself along the way, and in year 2009 I enrolled for Film Directing at Discipleship Film And Media Institute, DFMI.  The rest is history.

How many films have you produced, directed or shot?

Personally I have produced 6 movies. I know i have directed more than 20 movies and i have shot more than 30 movies. Sorry i can’t be precise, i had lost count along the way.

Hmmmmm… How did you get trained in directing?

Like I said I studied Directing as a course at Disciples’ Film & Media Institute between year 2009 and 2012, and as a Director of Photography i have had several opportunities to shoot for many directors and understudy them while on location. These include ace directors like Daddy Mike Bamiloye, Evang. Kola David Okeowo, Evang. Kolade Segun-Okeowo, Pastor Lekan Asikhia, Rev. Yemi Adepoju, just to mention a few.

What exactly is your major in film production. I mean, what’s your strength out of all these areas?

Hnm… I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me, but as a technical person, i will say Directing and Editing.

Ok. As the chairman, Lagos ANCEDRAM why do you think you were elected for second term in office?

Well, i cant figure out why I’m re-elected but i can say it’s the plan of God that he has chosen me to serve again and to further consolidate and complete some visions that he started through us in the first tenure.

Your first term in office, will you say you fulfilled all your promises and carried out all your vision?

Yes, i can say that God helped us to fulfill all that was committed into our hands and we did our part.

What will you do differently from your first tenure in office?

We will go as far as God will be leading us differently. Aside, the packaging of our monthly state meetings, we will consolidate on all the major programmes we started i.e LADREX, Village Mission Outreach, 24hrs Leadership retreat, 6 Months Film Training, Inter-Unit Programmes and the likes, we trust God to help us take all these to the next level.  Also, aside the two major movies released during the first tenure and the two other student movies produced, we are trusting God that in this second phase we will produce another standard state film. We will prioritize the welfare of our members,  look into some empowerment programmes. Also, embracing online platforms, create a functioning website for the state, as well as having an online Lagos State ancedram TV. There are more to bring to the table, but we will be unfolding them as time goes on, just as you know, this is the beginning of the tenure, i need to harmonize with my new cabinet before letting the cat out of the cage .Thank you.

What are the challenges you faced in the previous tenure?

Not much because God really helped us to surmount all challenges that posed on our way. I just want to encourage our members to be faithful with their state dues without which we may not be able to do much. Also they should increase their commitment to all the sate programmes.

Looking at your busy schedule with ANCEDRAM, who is taking the front role in your personal ministry?

My wife is always there. She is a woman of Vision, Virtuous, courageous and strong. The woman solidly behind me. Also, God has helped me to build men that can hold forth while i’m away.

Your home, ministry and ANCEDRAM, which one is at the receiving end?

The three are been affected but God is helping us to strike the balance.

What can you say about the gospel film industry?

The gospel film industry is advancing, we have left where we started, though we still have a long way to go but actually we are progressing. In terms of equipment, we are up to date, message wise, there has been a lot of improvements, but i will still say that, we are not doing enough in the area of collaborations among ministries which can boost our production. This individualist ideas (though not all) is not helping some productions, I believe we can team up to produce better art. Also, we are still laging behind in creating awareness for our products.

 Our people needs more orientations about movie making, we should increase our knowledge in role interpretations. Beyond grace and anointing, we should also study to show ourselves approved. Marketing and distribution of our movies still remain a bottleneck. Moreover, since the world is going digitized, we should be thinking beyond hard copy films and think of how our movies can be watched and purchased online.

 If you have enough resources, what would you have done better?

Sincerely, if i have enough resource, i wish to own a world class production studio, where up to date film equipment are stocked and different creative works are being processed and finished. Also it is my passion to own a gospel TV channel that will reach millions of people.

There is a rumour that your wife is your back bone, how true is that?

 It is not a rumour, it is a fact, it’s true. Though after God.

If your tenure elapse as the chairman of Lagos Ancedram what is the next step?

Only God knows tomorrow, let’s get through with this chairmanship tenure first, when the time comes, God will lead me further.

How do you manage the state elders to gain their support so much, especially the former ANCEDRAM presidents among them?

They are my fathers and elder brothers, they are there to guide and counsel me. I do tap from their wealth of experience and with mutual understanding, God has been helping us to move together. I never see them as a problem, i always carry them along with our programmes and since they also want the progress of the association, we are both on the same cause, so there cant be problem.

Sincerely, Elders in Lagos State Ancedram are worth to be looking up to, they are always there, above all, they are exceptional!

Lagos ANCEDRAM was recognised as one of the most active state by evangelist Mike Bamiloye during the last state congress, what is responsible for this?

God has been our success story. Also the cooperation and undaunted commitment of Lagos ANCEDRAM members, these include all the Elders, the state and Units excos and all the members. Without mixing words, Lagos ANCEDRAM Members are driven by Visions and move with Passions. They are rugged drama ministers!

Your annual Drama conference, what is it all about?

In our Ministry, we have two major annual Drama conferences: Christian Drama Day (CD DAY) and ACTWOS (Actors Of The Word Summit). The initial was a drama programme which feature a live stage play every Easter Sundays, to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ during the Easter period and to create an alternative to reach millions of souls who may  want to visit those ungodly sites to celebrate the season or cinemas to watch  unedifying movies. The second programme (ACTWOS) is a solemn gathering of drama ministers for a retreat to encounter God, for a refueling, empower and to discuss, and  interact on how to improve in our area of ministry.

What project are you currently working on as a film maker?

As a film maker, In the ministry, I’m currently working on the scripts of two movies to be shot latest by November this year. Also I’m working on the state film script as well, preparing for our Academy’s professional training classes coming up in June, without mentioning other works going on on my editing suite which will soon hit the screen.

What’s your advice for upcoming film makers?

My advice for the upcoming is to be diligent in their field of operation. The bible says “seeth thou a man who is diligent in his business, he will stand before Kings and not mean men”.

They should keep adding to their knowledge as they grow up because whatever you know today and you refuse to add to it will soon become obsolete. They should submit to an elder to disciple them and be patient enough to climb the ladder of success. Above all, they should fear God and follow his commandment by living a life of integrity.

What can you say about Gospel Film News?

Sincerely, Gospel film News has become the online eye and mouthpiece of gospel drama world. This is a vision that we have been trusting God to inspire someone to take up and i’m happy seeing this happen.

 I salute the courage of the entire team. Keep it up, you have our support always, and i want to encourage all drama ministers to support this work where necessary. Thanks and God bless . It’s my pleasure having you. Remain rapturable.

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