Nse Ikpe-Etim in Conversation as Part of BFI BLACK STAR SEASON


A ground-breaking 3-day programme of international Nigerian Cinema took place Fri 18 – Sun 20 November 2016 at the BFI Southbank as part of BFI BLACK STAR.

The ‘Beyond Nollywood‘ weekender showcased a new crop of Nigerian filmmakers who are revolutionising the industry beyond Nollywood with arthouse, documentary, animation and experimental films. The event was been curated by Nadia Denton in association with BFI African Odysseys.

For the first time, one of Nigeria’s most sought-after actresses, screen queen Nse Ikpe-Etim was in discussion about her career and the Nollywood star system.

Delving straight into her career Ms. Ikpe-Etim stated that she never wanted to be an actress, but it was something she thought she might want to do after being captivated by Sophia Lauren’s performance in the 1961 film, El-Cid.  Like most, her mother wanted her to study medicine, but she studied theatre arts instead.  After graduation she worked as a banker before being cajoled back into acting by a friend who recognised her talent.  At this point in the conversation, Ms. Ikpe-Etim laughed at her own naiveté and stated that she only agreed to the role because she reckoned she would be paid a lot of money.

She went on to say that once the acting bug caught hold, she knew that acting was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.  Her only regret for pursuing a career in film and television, is the loss of privacy, however being able to follow her dream was not something she had anticipated happening for her.  Which is why she takes her craft very seriously. When asked how she prepares for a roles, she stated that she needs preparation time because she favours Stanislavski’s method acting, which means she tries to stay in character for the duration of filming. In one case she was in character for a period of 3 months.

When asked which role has been her favourite role to play so far, she picked her latest film, A Hotel Called Memory (Dir. Akin Omotosho).  Ms. Ikpe-Etim states that the role has been her greatest challenge mainly due to the fact that the film is a silent movie and she had to communicate using her eyes and body language.

The conversation piece ended with Ms. Ikpe-Etim stating how excited she about the quality of films and stories coming out of Nigeria and as well as possibilities for her own steadily rising international career.

Words Sade Adeniran
All pictures courtesy Michael Tubes, Michael Tubes Creations

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