The ladies behind the scenes of LASGIDI COPS
Yemisi Wada is a Lawyer called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990, a Childís rights advocate and she has been on the Childís Rights Implementation Committee of Lagos State since its inception in 2010 and now an Executive producer. In running her NGO ëHaven for the Nigerian Child Foundationí where the focus is on Street Children
Growing up for me was very memorable. Life was much easier than it is now in every way. Our infrastructure worked, our s schools were the best and we had everything as our Naira had value.Our holidays then comprised of long car journeys traveling within Nigeria. Both my parents were civil servants and the essence of dignity in labour was instilled in us greatly. In my journey to date, I have been involved in a lot of businesses and now Iíve had the grace to do what I enjoy doing, advocacy through telling stories.
Haven for the Nigerian Child Foundation
I realised that children on our streets were not all touts and vagabonds but many had found themselves there trying to survive, when I turned 40 and it just made me so sad. I also realised after speaking to many of them that but for the grace of God that could be my children. Haven was birthed then. To date we donít have any corporate sponsorship but thanks to some very generous and dedicated supporters we have been able to successfully take off a lot of boys off the streets and almost every month we celebrate a new success story.
Advocacy was my initial reason for creating Lasgidi Cops. No one voluntarily walks into a Police Station here without expecting some stress. I decided that it would be good to portray the Police force in the way it ought to be. In getting this idea out many people thought the idea was too far fetched and it also sounded like a campaign for State Police as I wanted to base it on Lagos State as thatís where I live and where I know. To address these misconceptions we decided to change it thus that the Nigerian Police exists but in Lagos a special unit has been formed and funded due to a rise in crimes by some criminal elements that want to seize control of the states. This unit is called the special crimes unit hence the title ëLasgidi Cops Special Crimes Unití. I also love reading and watching television. I particularly enjoy crime series so I was fed up of watching mediocre productions and decided to put my money where my mouth was. I am humbled by the way it has been received. The year it was released, it was nominated by the AMVCAís for best edit. The year after it won the ëBest TV seriesí award at the ëBest of Nollywood awards, and since it started showing on Iroko TV. Last year it has been voted one of the best 3 online series. We have had reviews and clamour for more seasons from Nigerians in diaspora and in fact itís been dubbed into French to be aired in French speaking territories now. This popular demand is why we are now shooting Seasons 2 and 3 together now so we donít leave our fans hanging for so long anymore. Now itís showing on ONTV, Wazobia TV and it started showing on AIT on Sundays at 7pm.
Is it coincidence or deliberate that you have an all female core crew?
Yes it was, at least this particular core crew. I funded Season 1 personally and that caused us some problems as the funds were limited and staggered as I earned hence things were not done as efficiently as they ought. It was also a first outing for me hence I paid dearly for my novelty. With seasons 2 and 3 I had to be super efficient in the production hence I was introduced to Lulu and Lyndsey as they had just produced their own film ëRule no 1í on a very tight budget by doing a lot of things themselves with proper planning. Together already weíve been able to save so much money in pre production doing a lot of things ourselves.
Nollywood, future and present
I am very proud of what Nollywood has achieved I must say. Over the years I celebrate the veterans that have stuck by it and now made it attractive and open to people like me to live my dream. A lot still needs to be done for the Industry. If we are more authentic with our acting and our story lines we too will attract more audiences like our Music Industry.
Challenges on set of production
The problems we have are our Nigerian problems that affect everyday life. Poor infrastructure hence planning is difficult and expensive. You cannot film most times with generators because of the noise. Unprofessionalism has huge costs. We have the area boysí palaver in some areas of Lagos. The biggest though is funding.
Oluchi Afurobi is a producer and director who has played significant roles in the movie industry in Nigeria.
Born on 23rd October 1986 in Imo State, Nigeria, Oluchi has had a flare for feature directing and production. She started her movie career in 2010 at Metfilm School, United Kingdom where she studied directing and producing.
Her feature credits include director of Untwisted (2011), producer of in the music (2012) which made it to the Nigerian cinema, producer of Rule No 1 (2017). She has also produced a couple of short films like Vex (Affrif selection), Forgone, The package, Stalker and many others.
In addition to film making, Oluchi is co- founder of the Rising Phoenix, an entertainment production company that has managed a number of Nigerian Artists and actors. She is also fully involved in script writing, set designs and props.
Oluchi is director of programming for women in film and television in Nigeria (wiftin)
Growing up for me was quite interesting seeing that we were just two kids, my brother and I. My parents made a point never to divide chores according to gender. By the time I was 10 years old I already able to change tyres of a car, strip wire coating to the get to the naked wire, dismantle anything and put it back together. These skills help me everyday in the job I do. For my film, I do the Production Design which includes building sets, designing set and generally putting together the look and feel of the film.
Rising Phoenix Entertainment
Rising Phoenix Entertainment is a Film Production company I started a couple of years ago with my elder brother. We do everything visual ranging from Film to Commercials to Documentaries to Music Videos. We have produced three feature length films including Rule Number One(which is still in the cinemas now), a TV Series and a couple of short films. We are currently working on our fourth feature length film.
Love for investigative production
I watch a lot of crime series and documentaries; I read a lot of crime books too. When I heard about a Nigerian crime series I was intrigued. After I saw it, I told a friend that if I ever get the chance to work on it I will jump at it. When the call came it was a no brainer.
Working on an all female team
Usually working on an all female team can be stressful, but not with this crew. I have worked with Lyndsey for a while now so we have a groove already. Working with Mrs Wada is like working with your really cool aunt who watches more movies than you.
Hope in Nollywood
Nollywood is an industry that is growing fast. I see us becoming as big as any movie industry in world, if only we can get out of our own way. We havenít started working with the actors yet. I believe we have chosen the best cast for this production and we will have a great time with it.
Lyndsey Femi Efejuku
Lyndsey Femi Efejuku is a Director and Producer, she studied Televison and documentary at Richmond college UK, Directing at Metfilm School, worked with Ginger Productions and Metfilm productions in the UK. Lyndsey has worked on several films ranging from short film: 2days to Christmas, Too Late (Mogson Production). Feature Length: Rule Number1 with cinema showings through June/July 2018, Beautiful Escape currently airing on African Magic Cable (DSTV), Series: Castle & Castle, On The Real, Tiannahís Empire (Ebony Live TV), and a pilot for a teenage series called CLIQE. Presently producing the famous series Lasgidi Cops Season 2 whilst directing a couple of episodes.
My childhood was amazing with a lot of love and laughs, we were taught to be there for each and to always have kindness for the people around us. The biggest impact of my upbringing is being able to work with all type of personalities because growing up we had a lot family members come to live with us and nobody asked how you felt about it but we had to live together and love each other. Growing up, I wanted a career in law and I did legal studies with business, but I was that child that loved movies a lot, the one that always came back to school after the holidays and told my friends about all the movies I watched over the holidays and I loved telling those stories, I didnít think of making films just telling stories, it was by chance that I found the Television and documentary course that I did and realized that I could tell my own stories the way that I wanted with film.
Joining the Lasgidi Cops team
I joined the Lasgidi cops crew in feb 2018, I had worked with Yemi Olowoshaba the DOP and Editor of Lasgidi Cops season 1 on my own film and we spoke about gidi cops and how much I liked the idea of it and I will really like to be part of the next one if possible. Mrs Yemisi Wada was looking for new producers for the show and he recommended me and as the say the rest is history. One of the reasons I wanted to be part of it is that itís a genre that has not really been done in Nigeria at the time it came out and telling a story that shows how the police force is suppose to be is a story worth telling, films have a way of shaping how society should be.
Working with the crew
Working with a crew of women is not a new experience for me, most of the productions I have worked on has been with women producers and I have worked with Lulu Afurobi for years on a lot of productions and we work very well together, we understand each, listen to each otherís idea and basically have the same work ethics. Working with Mrs Yemisi Wada who is the creator of Lasgidi Cops has been great, she has a very strong idea of where she is taking the show and at the same time listens to the ideas that we come up with.
View on Nollywood
Nollywood can be as good as any other industry as long as our work ethic is right, we know that making film is like any other job out there and we must do it with passion which a lot of filmmakers are doing right, Nollywood has a great future.
We were looking for people that are willing and ready to put the time and effort into doing the work with passion and the right attitude.
Worthy of mention
Lasgidi Cops is telling the story of how the police system should be not necessarily how it is at present. I know a lot of people will watch it and say that doesnít happen in Nigeria, the point is that it should happen in Nigeria and we hope that people can watch it and change the way things are in the system.
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