Ask Nigerians who hold the Nollywood forte and are doing well in terms of careers in the United States of America and Eva Banks’ name will be in the top ten.
After reaching heights as an actress and producer in Nollywood, the screen diva moved to the United States to hone her teaching skills and push the boundaries of the Nigerian film industry in the United States.
A graduate of American International University where she earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration, Eva, who is best known for producing the critically acclaimed film Caught in The Web, starring Ghanaian actor Van Vicker, revealed in this interview that she is fulfilled in her career as both an actress, producer and director in Nollywood and an administrator of her own health care company.
The journey here
I STARTED my acting career decades ago in Nigeria, playing with most famous legendary actors like John Dumelo and veteran actress Patience Uzokwo (Mama G). Later, I decided to produce my own films. The very first film I wrote and produced was called Caught In The Web, which earned us five outstanding nominations at the Nollywood and African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) in 2011 in North Carolina, USA.
After moving to the United States, I became part of the Nollywood film industry that already existed. I played a major role in its development and still do to this day. I produced many TV series, TV commercials and movies such as Family Secrets, Love Betrayal (a soap opera/TV series) and Blind Folded which premiered in Houston and featured actors like Kalu Ikeagwu and Moses Efret .
Blind Folded earned multiple Los Angeles Film Awards nominations and directors, Stanley Acholonu and Ikechukwu Onyeka won the Best Director category.
Challenges encountered in Nigeria and the United States
As an actress, my talent was hidden for a long time at the beginning of my career in Nollywood, like most acts to come. But when the time came, it exploded and as they say, the rest is history. However, as a producer, I faced multiple problems in raising funds for a film project in an environment that did not yet envisage making an African film a viable business.
Raising money for film production and finding real professionals who can act without the conflict of their main job interfering with the filming schedule was another problem I encountered as a film producer in the States -United.
Unlike Nollywood in Nigeria, Nollywood in the United States has faced critical formative challenges especially in the areas of funding and acting professionalism and actors are not able to create time between their work paying bills and respecting film rehearsals and filming schedules. But in Nigeria, Nollywood has the right production order structure. The bottom line is that Nollywood has managed to survive all these challenges and still clings to them.
Other things that need to be improved or changed in Nollywood US and by extension probably apply to Nollywood Nigeria include; put its house in order, in particular by striving to have a credible umbrella association, which will look into quality control and the discipline of offending practitioners.
The problem of piracy is still there. Addressing or minimizing it is one of the biggest problems in the industry. I also think Nollywood needs co-production or collaboration treaties with Hollywood and other advanced countries in their film industry to take it to the next level.
State of Movie Distribution in Nollywood
Well, in terms of distribution, especially online distribution, I’m happy with what’s happening with the collaboration between Nollywood and Netflix. Nollywood is currently undergoing a major transformation in its mode of production and distribution. Quality issues and missing content have been accelerated by Netflix’s oversight, as evidenced by movies streaming around the world. I consider the union between Netflix and Nollywood a very commendable union.
Additionally, the collaboration with Netflix has inspired many Nollywood filmmakers whose films are not yet Netflix-compliant to embark on a far-reaching transformation driven by the adoption of cutting-edge apps and models. technology to make good movies. The bottom line here is that Netflix has set the bar high in the Nollywood film industry. Everyone is now trying to catch up. This is a good development in our film industry.
No regrets at all; I have thrived first and foremost as a mother and in my various careers both as an actress, producer and director in Nollywood and administrator of my own health care company. I am grateful to God that my children Daniel and Sandra are married. Sandra got married recently in a wedding held at the prestigious Lagos Oriental Hotel in Lekki and my son Daniel got married last year during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.
So I’m happy and fulfilled. I can only ask God for more grace to continue to excel in my acting, producing and directing career and in my role as a mother and CEO of my healthcare company.
MoviedomExtra and more…