Twin brothers, Arie and Chuko Esiri are the Directors of the award-winning Nigerian film, Eyimofe (This Is My Desire), which has continued to win international awards and attract rave reviews in leading media across the world.
The film took the film circuit by storm when it was taken around the major cities of North America and Canada by Janus Films, which acquired its marketing rights for the North American market. It was officially released in the US in New York on July 23, 2021 to a standing ovation.
Youthful and cerebral, the twins, who are from Warri in Delta State, Nigeria, have already made major in-roads in filmmaking and have big plans for the future.
Arie Esiri granted GPNEWS an online interview, where he addressed several issues, including what government must do to advance the fortunes of the sector in the interest of the country.
Q: What has it been like working with your twin, Chuko? Have there ever been any challenges and how do you resolve such?
A: I consider working with my twin a real privilege. For the most part being able to be in two places at once is a real advantage especially on an indie film shoot. The toughest part of the process was the edit when final decisions on the cut had to be made but we were lucky to have a great Editor who would help cast the deciding vote as the third party in the room.
Q: What have been the major challenges you have faced as a filmmaker?
A: As most independent filmmakers will tell you the hardest part of the process is most often finding financing for the film. We were extremely fortunate to have come across GDN Studios who believed in the vision of the movie and backed us financially.
Q: What have been the highest points in your career so far?
A: The highlight of our journey thus far is playing in theatres. We never imagined that the film would have a theatrical run in Nigeria, North America and Europe. It’s still astonishing to think that a small film like ours could interest distributors but it’s also extremely encouraging.
Q: Your last film, EYIMOFE, enjoyed rave reviews and won international awards. What factors do you think accounted for the global recognition and widespread acceptance?
A: It’s hard to say what could have contributed to its success but we had exceptional talents working on the film. From our actors to our cinematographer, production designer, costume designer and institutional support from Kodak and PostWorks. We also had an incredible collaboration with a lot of the communities we shot in, Mushin, Lagos in particular. We took a big risk shooting as many locations as we did with the limited amount of time we had but it meant that the movie featured Lagos in a way that one is perhaps not used to seeing in film.
Q: What lessons from the production and marketing of the movie would significantly help in your future projects?
A: I think adequate preparation and the right partners at the start of the production are things we will pay closer attention to in the future. Bringing on sales agents and engaging distributors earlier in the process would have been beneficial.
Q: Are there any films in the works? What should your fans expect?
A: We’re currently adapting a classic novel which will take place in Lagos and we hope to get bigger budgets in the future to do more ambitious work. We’re interested in doing something in the crime/thriller space in Nigeria.
Q: What is your advise to the Nigerian government concerning support for the film industry?
A: We just need the government to take what we do seriously and see it as a great opportunity to export our culture through storytelling. It means building the infrastructure we need to make ambitious films, opening up channels of discussion with filmmakers in the country and paying attention to our needs. The goal ultimately is to make shooting films in the country easier.