Clare Ezeakacha, the founder of Clare Cares Foundation is a voice-over artist and a movie producer. Her first movie, “Gone Grey” was about the dark life of popular philanthropists. The movie premiered in 2016 starred Stan Nze, Judith Audu, and some other great Nollywood actors.
Recently, Clare Ezeakacha produced and directed (her directorial debut) a short film, “Arima” which was about sexual violence. The timing can’t be any more right than it is. Considering that rape and sexual violence has become one of the largely discussed issues in the world today. Talking about Arima, Clare Ezeakacha says, “It’s a story I am attached to. I’ve been down that line”. Though she doesn’t feel comfortable talking about her own experience, it’s still a commendable effort to join in raising awareness about sexual violence.
In this exclusive interview, Clare Ezeakacha talked about her passion for movies; the challenges she faces as a Producer; the Send A Child Back to School Project(a project organised by Clare Cares Foundation); and cited Judith Audu and Genevieve Nnaji as her biggest influences. I’m sure you’d enjoy.
VUN: First, talk about your background and how you got interested in movie production.
Clare Ezeakacha: I am from a catholic family, from Anambra State. I am the first and I have three siblings. I studied computer science at Madonna University, then a PGD in mass communication at UNN and a Masters in information technology. I have always had an interest in film while studying sciences. I always wanted to be the creative head and not be in front of the camera. I never say never, but, I don’t intend to go into acting.
VUN: Why don’t you intend to go into acting, even with your “never say never” mindset?
Clare Ezeakacha: I just prefer being backstage. I just admire from afar but love being the brain behind the screen.
VUN: Which actors or producers have influenced you as a producer?
Clare Ezeakacha: Judith Audu and Genevieve Nnaji.
VUN: This is actually interesting. I love both women myself.
Clare Ezeakacha: Nice, they’re strong and amazing.
VUN: When you have a movie project, how involved are you in the writing of the project?
Clare Ezeakacha: Say 80 per cent, I am involved in the story before it’s developed to a full script. I get a writer and tell him or her the kind of story I want. Then, we go back and forth with it till we arrive in the direction we want the story to be told from. Well, this is mostly when it’s my production.
VUN: Talking about career strategy, what type of projects do you intend to do?
Clare Ezeakacha: Films that deal with time and season. Stories that people can relate to. Asides this, I also have a foundation I carry along, during this journey, I meet a lot of people and I get stories from there.
VUN: Talking about your foundation; you organise Send A Child Back To School Project, what inspired it. How do you raise funds and what have you been able to achieve with the project?
Clare Ezeakacha: Oh, I have always helped the needy and orphans right from my university days. I did that every of my birthday. But, I thought to make it big by having a foundation so I can reach out to a lot more people. I use social media to solicit for help and I have friends and colleagues who also help with their social media, so we get donations from people.
VUN: How long do you take to read a script or finally decide to work on a script or ditch it?
Clare Ezeakacha: I am a fast reader, in less than an hour if I am not distracted, I should be done with a script. If a production involves more then one producer, I seek my partner’s consent before any decision is made.
VUN: You recently produced a short film, “Arima” . What got you attracted to the script and what was the production process like?
Clare Ezeakacha: It’s a story I am attached to. I’ve been down that line. It only took me an hour with my DOP and the writer, then the actress to make it work.
VUN: Do you want to talk about your personal experience?
Clare Ezeakacha: No.
VUN: Why is it important to submit movies to film festivals?
Clare Ezeakacha: For recognition and to learn more. Various films are being showcased, all will face a panel. So, from there you learn a lot and meet people in the same field.
VUN: What challenges do you face as a movie producer and how do you handle them?
Clare Ezeakacha: Challenges I face – well, I will say it’s basically one major challenge. Which is, raising funds for production.
VUN: How do you deal with the challenge?
Clare Ezeakacha: I re-strategize. I either hold on till I get the desired amount or I try to work my way around what I have.
VUN: What’s your view of the Nigeria movie industry?
Clare Ezeakacha: We are growing, and making progress. There’s been a great change and we keep doing new stuff.
VUN: What advice would you give other budding producers?
Clare Ezeakacha: Stay focus, don’t be in a hurry to make a film. Be constructive about the decisions you make.