Meet Fiyin Gambo who wants to change the status quo in Nollywood
The days where a moving car will be shot by someone outside and nothing happens to the windscreen is almost over in Nollywood. There is a narrative that most filmmakers in Nigeria are comfortable with just doing love stories, comedy or a mixture of both. However, things are about to change as Fiyin Gambo, CEO Cliq Media is leading a new revolution of filmmakers who want to tell African stories in a different format.
I had an interesting chat with Fiyin Gambo recently, he told me about his journey so far and his lofty dream for African stories.
Please introduce yourself?
My name is Fiyin Gambo, I am a filmmaker and the CEO of Cliq Media Inc and Whitespace. I tell stories that are very compelling in a very unconventional way and I do that through the medium of film and storytelling.
What was growing up like?
Growing up for me was quite interesting, I was born in Lagos. So I think earlier on the spirit of hustling in Lagos was embedded in me. I learnt alot in my high school days which is where I got my public speaking prowess from.
I did two things in high school, I started my first company Miftel Archite at 13, we wanted a miniature model of the whole world. I was the Head boy in SS2 and I wanted to change the narrative of what prefectship was.
I said I was going to host this very big event where we were going to give tablets,iPods to the winners. I also said I was going to bring the voice coach of ProjectFame West Africa to the school, it was very crazy but we achieved it. So doing all these at a young age, made me realise nothing is impossible.
What were your aspirations growing up?
Growing up I knew I wanted to be someone that would be influential. I had a lot of role models who were shaping the world like Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg but I was in Africa with a different environment. I wanted to be someone that would have an influence on a global scale. I am not there yet, but almost at that point. At some point, I also wanted to be an architect because I had an appreciation for art. I also wanted to be an aeronautic engineer and a public speaker. Now, everything all ties in somehow.
Achieving so much at a very young age, what challenges did you face?
One of the major challenges of achieving so much at a young age was the stereotype –” You are too young to be doing this”. Because when you are young, you have to go do certain things first, but I felt anybody could touch the conscience of the world at any age.
So how did you venture into Cliq Media?
I was in my second year in University, I learnt animation during the holidays. I realised that we had the same softwares being used in Hollywood to make those big movies we see. So I was astonished that we actually have all we need to make good visual effect and action movies locally. This was the turning point for me, and I was like I was going to do it.
I wanted to do so much with enough videos to build this new momentum for action movies.
What are your views on the movie industry in Nigeria?
Nollywood is evolving, we have gone from the low-quality cameras to decent ones. I would say that we are currently in a wave, like the one that brought about the Silicon Valley in the US. We are beginning to see people appreciate our movies. Movies like The Wedding Party, Banana Island Ghost are all big budget movies that everyone rushed to the Cinemas to see. There is a craving for African content all over the world, so it is becoming more viable. We just need to sharpen our skills and also restore the brand of Nollywood.
As it stands, Nollywood doesn’t have a good brand in front of the audience. It is hard to convince a Nigerian to watch a Nigerian movie over Spiderman or the Avengers. What Cliq Media is trying to do is that we want to expand the genre of films, instead of just comedies and romance we want to expand the options into action movies and science fictions (Sci-Fi). We want to open the space for more filmmakers to be able to tell African stories. Because the technology is available and that is where we come in with our expertise.
What are the challenges being faced by new entrants into the industry?
First, there needs to be training, we don’t have enough good film schools in Nigeria. If people are not trained, there is bound to be experimentation. But young filmmakers need to get educated either through a structured school or learn from Youtube. There is no barrier, most people in the industry are independent filmmakers once you have your camera, shoot.
How did Cliq Media become a household name?
The first question we ask ourselves at Cliq Media, what can we do that nobody has done before. Our tagline is “Never seen before images”. With that people get attracted to something odd and unique which is why the brand has gotten to where it is today. We try to create a revolution in Nollywood and people want to be part of that.
What is the plan for the future?
We have great plans but the one thing that encapsulates our plans is that we dream that one day, there would be a long queue all over the world to see a Nigerian movie. We also want to be the first recipients of the Academy Awards. We want to be pioneering innovative technologies in films, we want to make big blockbuster movies that can stand the test of time and export the ingenuity of the African continent.