For Chidinma Esther Dikeocha, her foray into the motion picture industry is not to make money but to become famous like her role models and impact society.
At the weekend, Dikeocha popularly known as Tomatoe Jos aka Nollywood launched her latest effort as a movie producer. The flick, ‘The Heart of a Tigress’ which is her fifth work held at Haille Selassie hotel and suites, Aguda, Lagos amidst pomp and ceremony.
In this chat with newstimesafrica, Dikeocha who is also an actress and business woman speaks about her career.
How are you doing in the industry?
First, I produce movies and act. I am not producing movies because of money but if it comes, I will take it but I am doing that to project myself.
The challenges in the industry is too much. When I joined the industry in 2014, it was hectic. When I go to auditions, I will be hopeful but at the end of the day, there would be no script. I then decided to look for money and begin to produce so that I will be able to project my face and I thank God that so far, I am growing higher and higher.
I have passion in acting and producing movies. If you come to my location you will enjoy yourself but the challenge is finance. We up and coming actors and producers are not finding it easy in the industry, it is not supposed to be so. But we have to move on. Even when we are told that home videos are no longer in vogue or exist, we still continue to trudge on. If you produce a movie and you cannot sell it through DSTV rights, it is difficult to sell in the market as they are no longer buying CDs.
How many movies have you produced?
I have produced five films. The first one was ‘Gang for Gang.’ I was duped. When I saw the production, it was nothing to write home about. The guy that lured me into it embezzled my money but I did not relent. It is like you are running and fall down, you need to stand up and continue running. I also did ‘Bitter Taste,’ followed by ‘Bleeding Tears,’ ‘Desire of my Heart,’ and ‘Ifeoma,’ The Heart of a Tigress’-that so far is my best job.
The one I am launching now is ‘The Heart of a Tigress.’
How much on the average does it cost to produce a movie?
If you want to produce a very low budget movie by using up and coming actors, you will spend N1,5million (One million and five hundred thousand naira). But if you want to use big names, then budget about N5m (five million). That is the least. People are shooting movies worth hundreds of millions.
Have you been recouping some of your money?
Yes, when I produce the marketers, I usually give to sell to TV stations, DSTV and other outlets don’t pay and the agents are there embezzling my money. I would then chase them and the ones I recover are used to produce another one. This one after my launching, I will first sell to television stations then start printing and begin to sell to individuals. When I sell to TV stations, I recover my money.
Apart moviemaking, what other business do you do?
I run a restaurant here in Lagos. I have people who run the restaurant. When I am on location, people are working there. If you do not have another job attached to this job, you will suffer. I always advice up and coming actors to have another stream of income. When you become popular you can now relax.
At the end of the day, what do you want to achieve?
I want to be like my role models – Ngozi Ezeonu, Joyce Kanu and Patience Ozokwo (Mama Gee). I also want to support up and coming actors to achieve their aims. They are suffering. AGN does not give actors work.