News Update


Header Ads Widget

INTERVIEW!! "SADE" The Most Anticipated Animated Movie Will Be The Biggest Role Model To Children In Nigeria and In Africa, Producer, Miller Ademola-Luwoye.

Promo Image for "SADE".
Ideas they say, rule the world and in entertainment, what makes the difference is one’s ability to evolve with breathtaking ideas that would help either shape nor change history as is the story behind “SADE”, the first animated feature in recent times.

The producer of this great work, Miller Ademola Luwoye spoke with and the interview is hereby presented for your reading pleasure. 


Can you tell us a bit about you, your education background and what it was that sparked your interest in music?

My name is Miller Ademola Luwoye, a Musician, Film-maker, and Entrepreneur.  After my secondary school education, I enrolled on the Jazz studies course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Shortly after, I got a scholarship to further my music study at the University of London where I graduated with a 1st Class honours degree in music performance and arts management. 

My early musical influence was the 'church'. My parents took us to church every Sunday and Tuesday. After church service I would approach the choir stand and watch the master musicians do their thing. It was a beautiful thing.

Those guys were on fire; a fire contagious enough to stir my interest to join the choir at the age of 9. That is how I got into music. I was also fortunate to have lived in an environment where I discovered the music of great musicians such as Shina Peters, Ebenezer Obey, KSA, Fela, Wasiu Ayinde, Orlando Owoh, Oliver De Coque and other highlife musicians. One song that I will never forget is "Eddie Quansa" from NTA'S New Masquerade. The combination of the highlife guitar, the Igbo language and the New Masquerade characters (especially Chief Jegede Sokoya, and Chief Zebrudaya) really ignited my love for Nigeria, and arts and culture in general. 

There is no country in the world that is as diverse and rich in culture as Nigeria.
I have also been influenced greatly by jazz musicians such as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollings, drummers Art Blakey, Horacio Hernandez, Jojo Mayer, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Feyisara Akinwunmi, the great Fela drummer--Tony Allen.

Poetry, Neo-Soul, Conscious Hip Hop music from rappers such as Common, Talib Kwali, Mos Def, The Roots are all part of what shaped my view of music and film.
And of course, gospel music played a major role in my music development.

The music of Fred Hammond, Bola Are, Ron Kenoly, Panam Percy Paul, Kingsley Ike, Curt Carr, Kirk Franklin, James Moss to the new movement Gospel music such as Israel and the New Breed, The Hillsong movement and a host of others. 

Today, I'm likened to a melting pot of many things, from music, to the movies. 
L-R. Ngozi Nwosu, Kate Adepegba, Miller and Yinka Davies during production.
How did your your journey into films began and what inspired the SADE animated feature project?

Film and Music brought me here. As a musician who is highly interested in movie soundtrack, it was only a matter of time before I started getting involved in making movies. Image and Sound to me are inseparable. This interest led me to play in jazz bands in London West End which is the theatre capital of the world.

Every now and then I'll check out some musicals from Lion King to Sister Acts. 
Another key factor is my passion for telling beautiful stories to the hearts and souls of mankind, stories that would go on to shape societal values, community togetherness, encourage love and kindness and make the world a better place.

I see myself as a conscious film maker. I want my stories to be a response to whatever poses a threat to the peace of this beautiful world we were gifted by God to take dominion of. 

The SADE project was inspired by my involvement in what is called the Early Years Education Foundation Stage (EYFS) in England. I conducted music sessions for various pre-schools in London, one of the most amazing times I've had. I began to write educational materials for children to aid their learning, this involved a lot of animation. This is how the fire of SADE was ignited. SADE originally started as a series in pre-production back in 2012, but I later got a leading (divine inspiration) to start working on a feature. When I met my partner and producer O.B.A Owolabi in 2014 it became clearer we needed to go for a feature project and here we are today! 

This is your directorial debut and you chose animation. Why this genre and not live action and why family entertainment?

Animation movie is a road less travelled in Africa, and it was clear from the onset I needed to go on this less travelled road (Animation), due to my love for drawing, classic story telling, and children entertainment generally.

Regarding family entertainment; the great Walt Disney said "Adults are only kids grown up, anyway. So, there's a child in everyone.” I know most people see family entertainment as lucrative due to the amount of money Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar have grossed over the years. But beyond that, for me it was automatic that whatever I do become family focused due to my work with schools, churches and NGOs that cater for young people and family. Most of my stories are family centred whether romantic or inspirational. Also, I'm a happy family man with two children.

That being said, my first live-action film is in pre-production now, and funny enough it's another unusual live action in African cinema. It's a 3 years project and should be out by 2020 by God's grace.

You started this project in 2012, is there any reason why it took 6 years to come full circle?

The process of animation production is long and complex. It usually takes a long rigorous process to achieve. A typical Pixar animation takes four to five years. On SADE, we had to start from script to storyboard, voice recording, to reel/animatics, reel to models, sets to shorts, shorts to shade/textures, lighting and the steps goes on including a long process called rendering.

There is also the aspect of musical score, and sound effects. Thinking about this right now is making me sweat (laughs!) because it brings back memories of the 6 years journey. It's been an amazing experience. 

Working with some of Africa's top actors, I'll never forget that beautiful sunny afternoon in Lagos when we convened with the actors to have our first reading. Amazing ambience. Everyone was excited. The voice recordings alone took us three days, 8am till about 11pm daily but we had a great time also treating ourselves to some great African delicacies during our breaks. And the jokes in between?? Gosh! It was crazy. I mean, having veterans who have been working together for over 30 years under one roof was crazy. Bimbo Manuel, Norbert Young, Deji Adenuga, Ngozi Nwosu, Jude Orhorha, Kate Adepegba, Abiodun Aleja, Yemi Shodimu, Kehinde Fasuyi who is an amazing veteran dancer, Toyin Oshinaike, to the younger generation of amazing actors Gabriel Afolayan, Omowunmi Dada, Judith Audu, and Sophia Mohammed. 

Who wrote the story and screenplay and is it based on any past experience or its just fantasy?

I wrote the story, while the screenplay was done by two brilliant writers; Vicky Dieffen and Olawale Obadeyi who is a veteran writer and wordsmith and an alumni of the great Ife (university). Having a screenplay that is well balanced by two writers who are from two different cultural backgrounds is interesting. Vicky is an American, and Wale Obadeyi is a Nigerian. The story is a combination of past experience and fantasy. I wrote it while I was on a plane journey to Los Angeles in 2011. Then at some point in 2012 we began to develop the various aspects of the story making sure a culture so rich and diverse is well represented.

Which animation studio(s) and visual artists did you work with and they Nigerians?

The project was taken care of in-house. By in-house I mean our animation studios GREATHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK in Ikeja, Lagos and in the city of London. We did not only make use of our amazing 3D generalists in Nigeria, we also have the likes of Ini Dminstrel, Kent Edunjobi, Gbenga Akinfenwa and Young John that worked on the animation sound design and score. Animation production is team work. So far, we have over a hundred people on board. 
Miller with Lead Actor, Omowunmi Dada.
 How did you get funding for the film and what did you have in mind before casting the actors? Who plays Sade?

The project is 100% percent funded by our production company GREATHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK. We knew what we wanted to achieve was going to cost us a lot. It's a capital intense project. So, we had to be ready. Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony spend hundreds of millions of dollars on animation production, sometimes more than live-action budget. Some filmmakers in Nigeria think we are crazy to attempt a project of this magnitude in Nigeria with all the odds. But even though Nigeria is our home, at GREATHOUSE we think global. We look forward to the journey ahead.

SADE is played by Omowunmi Dada, who I believe is an all round brilliant actress. Right from the reading/audition session majority of the cast and crew knew IT WAS HER ROLE. She gave a stellar performance. Well... I'll leave all of that to our audience and critics to decide. 

You have some doyens of the film, music and entertainment industry on this production. Sunny Ade, Jimi Solanke, Bimbo Manuel, Yinka Davies, Cobhams etc. These people have rich voices and an amazing track record. How did you convince them to come on board this relatively new genre and also pay their fees?

Interesting question this is. Let's just say when it's time for a thing to show forth, IT IS TIME. There was a witness in the atmosphere that this is long overdue and it is as if everyone involved in this project had been waiting and preparing for it. Someone like Uncle Jimi Solanke hit it on the moment he got the script. I had to travel down to Ife to record him. It was an amazing time I'll never forget. The chemistry, his sense of humour, attention to the details, and gosh! That great voice! Papa Jimi invited us to his house for dinner after recording. The warm reception is unforgettable. 

KSA is another legend who bought into the vision the moment we had the meeting with him. He was so gracious to us. I really hope my generation learn from these great people. I really hope we imbibe the principles that make these legends great for real. King Sunny Ade was attentive, in the moment throughout our meeting. His work ethics and professionalism is out of this world. For a great man to turn up at a meeting on time, delivers work on time, receives people with love and respect, after that he has achieved? These are virtues that are missing in the so-called "industry". 

So, let's just say when it is time, things will fall into pleasant places.  That's exactly my experience with SADE so far, and I pray it continues to the glory of God.
This is like a concert!

It would have been great to add Sade Adu to the exciting mix though. Just saying. Did you think about her at all for the project?

Interesting Adebimpe! SADE ADU came to mind right from the onset. But we have some pleasant surprises.  I won't let the cat out of the bag, for now.

From the poster, the only non Nigerian seen is Erroll Chavalier. Why is this and what role did he play?

Erroll is a Canadian-Bahamian veteran radio host who has an impeccable voice that would make anyone turn their head and look again. He played the role of a London Carnival representative.

How were you able to juggle your work as a musician with the animation project?

Hmmm... It's all intertwined. The music work gives some sort of flexibility to invest some time into the animation project. Though it hasn't been easy, especially for someone like me who is very finicky. Things must be right before I say ok “oya, asiko tito”—okay, it's now time (laughs!).

I invest an insane amount of time into my crafts, be it a music engagement, or animation. Something I believe I might have gotten from studying Steve Jobs' life.

I was addicted to Steve, and I still am and his friends, Ed Catmull, John Lassetter (President of Pixar and director of the Toy Story franchise) are some of the people I believe have gotten into my being as well and have inspired me a whole lot.

What plans do you have for distributing the movie since it is going to be our first animated feature out of Nigeria?

There is a whole lot of activations planned ahead of SADE release in Nigeria and around the world. Everything will start unfolding shortly after Easter 2018. It's my hope that Nigeria and the rest of the world enjoy the things we have planned for SADE.
Will it premiere in Nigeria and will it also go the international film festival route?

Oh Yes! There are plans for Premiere in Nigeria and some parts of the world. 

Are you going to have any international premieres? Annecy Animation Festival in France will be a great place.

Yes. We are currently looking into Annecy, but we have plans for London and Los Angeles.
 When are we expecting to see teasers and the official trailer?

There's going to be a teaser release in March 2018.

With so many great musicians on this project I am sure the soundtrack album is also in the works and likely to be off the charts! Are all the sound tracks written specifically for the film and who is the film composer? You?

Oh Yes! That's the original plan. The original motion picture soundtrack will be released shortly after the movie hits the cinema. I think we might have some songs of many decades from the album. As a musician who's also a filmmaker there's a lot of expectation from the music community which I have been preparing for, for years now.

We have many composers on this project who are world class, straight out of Nigeria. Omolara Ayodele Singer-songwriter who has written many hit songs on Naija chart including Timi Dakolo's "Iyawo Mi", wrote most of the songs on SADE's Album.

Omolara came highly recommended by a friend of mine Wilson Joel, another amazing producer. We have incredible musicians and producers on board the project, like Ini Dminstrel, Cobhams Asuquo, Gbenga "Phatstringz" Akinfenwa, Kent Edunjobi, and Young John who has produced some of Naija Afrobeats hits including Olamide's "Wo".

I directed the entire music and movie score and I’m very particular about sound and images. They've got to be together, in terms of timbre, mood, colour etc and I count myself fortunate to have these incredible musicians on board.

I think I should say this; on one of the tracks on the album, we have seven top Nigerian drummers playing on one track at the same time. 

And what can I say about the amazing traditional bata players and the Yoruba chant artistes we recorded live in Ibadan, Nigeria. Dope stuff! One of the highlights of Ibadan for me apart from the great music we recorded, was the “abula” I had in Bodija(laughs!). I can't wait to go back. 

Will it be available for sale eventually like happens with international animated feature films?

Yes, yes, it will be.
Miller with King Sunny Ade.
 What is your vision for SADE? Is the titular character going to be a role model for Nigerian and African children can you tell us a little bit about her?

Hmmm. What can I say? Let me just put it this way; SADE is like an onion. You peel a layer, and another layer shows up. There's so much packed in the vision. 

Yes, I think SADE would be a role model for Nigerian and African Children. Her character is loving, sharing, caring, kind and talented. I think Nigeria and Africa as a continent need the moral of SADE'S story now more than ever.

Is there any international animated feature you could liken SADE to and are you going to submit it for international awards like the Grammys and Oscars?

Yes, I can say the SADE's concept, the artistry, the music can’t be likened. It’s unique, it’s first of its kind, and will bring a different experience I believe. 
Re Grammys and Oscars, I don't know what the Creator has in plan for us, but I believe all will be beautiful in the end.  
Producer, Miller Ademola-Luwoye.

Can you share a particular experience while working on the project that was a decisive one? Did you ever want to pack it all up at any point?

Oh Yes! Lots of crazy experiences that could have prevented this project from seeing the light of day, but thank God for giving us victory. I remember when we experienced some shake up in the animation team. The lead animator had a family challenge and had to go away for a while. When a lead animator leaves a project it simply means the project would stall pending the time another lead comes on board, and the truth is things will never be the same, because concepts and designs are never 100% the same. This was a big challenge, because the lead animator knows the heart and soul of the project just like I do. It was quite worrying, but thankfully the lead came back because of his love for SADE and the warm relationship within the entire team. 
What message do you have for filmmakers working in or who wish to work in animation?

Not sounding like a cliché, KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Be sure it is really what you want to do. Don't do it because others are doing it. Do it because you love it. Life is not a walk in the park, but be positive through all its challenges.

Nothing makes your life better and easier than having a mentor.
Someone who has travelled the road you want to travel on. Dedicate time to learning new stuff. Be a voracious reader and have an insatiable hunger for learning.
We must keep evolving, especially in this dispensation.

Finally, put your trust in God. Commit all you do in His hands. There is nothing that is committed into God's hand that doesn't fulfill its purpose. 

Post a Comment