We have been really excited about the new film by Ikenna Okpara entitled “See Me”. A short film which simply questions the level of commitment you’re ready to give to the one we “see”. Get Jamz was opportune to see the film right before the official release which was on Friday, the 1st, at midnight. And we haven’t stopped going back to the movie which is on the “Ikenna Okpara Studios” YouTube channel. Get Jamz observed that this is one beautiful short film that has a really beautiful picture with smooth lines of dialogue. (The entire film was actually driven by dialogue.) The acting was top notch, and we think the locations and the entire production was a brilliant work.
We caught up with the Writer, Director, Executive Producer and Producer, Ikenna Okpara, at his Jos home to discuss his new short film. Mr. Okpara was warm and welcoming. His kind smile, a thing to envy. He took us into his one room apartment which was neatly put together. What really caught our eyes was his beautiful mini library which was lined up with some of our favorite books: from Achebe’s “There Was a Country” to all Chimamanda Adichie’s works. We also noticed a lot of Nora Roberts. A good number of romance writers’ works were on the shelf of this mini library as well.
Get Jamz: Why so many romance books?
Ikenna Okpara: First of all, welcome to my small cottage. (This had us all laughing.) There are so many romance books because I am romance, and romance is all I do.
GJ: What do you mean when you say you’re romance?
IO: (He offers a tiny smile) I am all about romance, and it’s essentially what I write about.
GJ: Oh, we get the picture now. And we noticed that, ultimately, your new film “See Me” is all about romance.
IO: It is.
GJ: Such short answer. (And we all laughed to this, including Mr. Okpara.)
GJ: Moving forward, tell us what inspired this new film of yours.
IO: “See Me” was actually inspired by my lack of the will to commit. I haven’t been in a relationship for a long while.
GJ: That’s a line from the film, isn’t it?
IO: I guess it is.
GJ: You guess? Are you not the writer of this beautiful film.
IO: I am. (He laughs.) But I write a lot of stuff, so I can’t really remember.
GJ: Cool. So, you haven’t been in a relationship for a while. Does this mean you’re single?
IO: I am.
GJ: Another really short answer. (Another round of laughter from all of us.)
IO: But it’s the truth. I am single, and have been for a year and six months.
GJ: Eighteen months. That’s some mad detail. And who counts these days?
IO: I do. (More laughter from us.) But really, I’m big on specifics.
GJ: We see that. But for someone who’s all about romance, isn’t it a bit of a shock that you don’t have one of your own?
IO: I do have relationships.
GJ: Okay, we’re confused now.
IO: Don’t be. (He’s laughing.) I have relationships with fictional characters; both my characters and characters from other people’s works.
GJ: Oh, we get the picture now. But we’re talking about real relationships now. Why aren’t you in one?
IO: ‘Truth is, modern romance is just shit. It amounts to nothing at the end of the day. You get into a relationship and after three months the both of you start wanting different things.
GJ: Three months? Another specific.
IO: I told you I’m big on specifics. Anyway, like I said, modern romance amounts to nothing, usually. It’s even worse when you’re not bucks’d up. There’re a lot of nice things in the world right now, nice things to buy with money–lots of it! And you can’t blame these people; if you can’t get these beautiful things, someone who is even more capable will get it for them. There’re no more ride or dies. All man for himself. (Laughter feels the room.) But…listen. But there are some lucky few. I’m not saying it’s all bad.
GJ: Don’t you think you could be lucky?
IO: I am too fucked up to be lucky.
GJ: What does that mean?
IO: (He laughs before saying:) We have more movies coming and more interviews, let’s save some of these things for later. (Everyone laughs.)
GJ: Moving on, have you read any reviews about your new short film?
IO: I don’t pay much attention to reviews.
IO: I just don’t.
GJ: Okay, let’s help you out. There’re mixed reviews about your actors. Some say it was the guy who wasn’t into character, some say it was the lady.
IO: That was expected. Both actors were incredible, in my opinion. They did really well. Adahson was passionate and gave everything, he poured his soul into that performance. Bee (Bwefa) was everything I needed to make this movie work. Did you see her passion? Her zeal? Her demonstrations? She was a total catch. They both owned that screen!
GJ: That’s powerful. I want to talk about your crew. How was production? Tell us a little bit about that?
IO: Oh my God, my crew are the best! Those guys are my express team! We were very small but made the most of everything. From my incredible DP (Director of Photography), Aristo (Kene Ochiabutor) to my producers, Ed and Maurice. My sound guy, Goodnews (Ekpot). There were these two beautiful ladies who were gracious enough to assist us that day: Emerald and Yop. Really beautiful souls. My crew are the best. Everything happened because of these guys. My gratitude goes out to them.
GJ: We’re getting to the end of this interview and we feel so bad. (Mr. Okpara laughs to this.) To sum this up, what do you have to tell the audience who are yet to see your work?
IO: Ikenna Okpara Studios is coming heavy, guys. Be prepared!
GJ: Such confident words.
IO: Yeah. And they should go and see “See Me”.
GJ: That’s the level: See “See Me”! (We all laugh to this.) Thank you for your time, man.
IO: Thank you for dropping by. Thank you, thank you!
GJ: Our pleasure.
Mr. Okpara saw us off and engaged us in conversations that are for our ears only.
The short film “See Me” is OUT NOW! Catch it here:
And do like, comment and subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Some photos from the making below: