The name Olufemi Bolorunde may not ring bell to many. However this C.R.O at Bara productions Ltd, is a Stage and TV veteran with a successful acting career spanning over many years. The highly respected actor and director speaks exclusively to Tkbesh! on his career, family life, vision on Nollywood and general philosophy of life!
Tkbesh! In your own words , who is Olufemi Bolorunde?
Femi: OLUFEMI BOLORUNDE IS MAN (LAUGHS).BY TRAINING, I AM A THESPIAN. TO BREAK IT DOWN, I AM AN ACTOR, PRODUCER, AND DIRECTOR IN ALL ELEMENTS OF THE PROFESSION.
Tkbesh! Some of us here in the UK actually began to reckon with you as an actor in “Silent Tears” a movie by Yomi Fabiyi which you came to Manchester to direct, but I am sure you have been in the acting industry long before that. Can you take us back to when it all began?
Femi: HMM! I HAVE AN EXPERIENCE THAT HAS SPANED MORE THAN 20 YEARS FROM STAGE, TO TV, FILM AND OTHER ASPECTS OF MEDIA COMMUNICATION. “SILENT TEARS” IS ABOUT MY 5TH PRODUCTION IN UK. FEW YEARS AGO, A TV SOAP I PLAYED A LEAD ROLE, “ROYAL TEARS” WAS ON THE UK T.V STATION FOR MORE THAN A QUARTER. WITH ALL MODESTY, I CAN SAY I AM ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF NOLLYWOOD IN NIGERIA, I HAVE ALSO, MADE MY CONTRIBUTIONS INTO “GHALLYWOOD”(GHANA MOVIE INDUSTRY) AND LONDON NOLLYWOOD ALL TO GOD’S GLORY. SO, I HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR SOMETIME NOW.
Tkbesh! Are you married to an actress?
Femi: NO. IN FACT, SHE DOESN’T WANT THE LIMELIGHT AT ALL. PROBABLY, BECAUSE OF NEGATIVE STORIES ABOUT ME AND THE MARRIAGE IN OUR FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE. IT ALMOST DENTS THE MARRIAGE BUT THANK GOD WE STOOD THE TIDE TOGETHER.
Tkbesh! I would not like to go into the negative stories, I’m happy you were able to work things out.You being a married actor to someone not in the industry, how do you balance your career with marital life; does your star status affect your relationship in marriage?
Femi: FIRSTLY, I AM NOT A STAR. I HAVE A VETERAN DIRECTOR, WE CALL “UNCLE B”, AND HE USED TO SAY “YOU THINK YOU ARE A STAR? MY FRIEND, YOU ARE NOT A STAR. STARS DO WALK ON THE GROUND”. I AM JUST A THESPIAN. DOING WHAT I LOVE DOING. SECONDLY, MY WIFE DOESN’T SEE ME AS ONE. SHE NEVER NOTICES MY STATUS UNTIL WE GO OUT AND PEOPLE STARTS STARRING AT US. SHE NEVER LIKES THAT ANYWAY BECAUSE SHE IS A VERY SHY PERSON. WHEN I AM NOT WORKING, I AM A FAMILY MAN. I HAVE LEARNT TO BALANCE THOSE ACTIVITIES.WORK IS WORK, HOME IS HOME. THIS NATURE OF JOB NEEDS A HOME NOT JUST A HOUSE. I HAVE BEEN LUCKY TO HAVE A VERY UNDERSTANDING FAMILY.
Tkbesh! Saying you’re not a star, indeed you’re very humble. Tell us What kind of father and husband would say you are and anything at all acting or fame has denied you?
Femi: AS I STATED EARLIER, I HAVE LEARNT TO CARRY OUT THOSE FUNCTIONS WELL TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. I WISH TO DO MORE.IN RECENT, I HAVE MOVED ALMOST PERMANENTLY, BEHIND THE CAMERA. FAME WAS TAKING TOO MUCH FROM ME. I WAS BORN WITHOUT ANY SPOON IN MY MOUTH. FAME WON’T ALLOW ME EAT “BOLI” ON THE ROAD. (Tkbesh! Interrupt…) lol! Why “Boli” (roasted plantain) LET ME TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED FEW YEARS AGO, A JOURNALIST FRIEND OF MINE AND I WENT TO EAT IN A LOCAL RESTAURANT, IN FACT, HE PICKED THE BILL. THE FOLLOWING WEEK, THE SAME JOURNALIST WROTE IN THE TABLOID THAT I WAS AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT THAT DOESN’T BEFITS ME. I ASKED HIM WHY HE DID NOT WRITE THAT WE WERE THERE TOGETHER; HE SAID NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT HIM BUT ME. THEN, PEOPLE REASON YOU ARE NOT HUMAN. YOU CAN’T LIVE YOUR NORMAL LIFE. MY SISTER, FAME COMES WITH A LOT OF SACRIFICE. MOREOVER, THERE IS NEED TO TRANSFER KNOWLEDGE TO NEXT GENERATIONS. MENTORSHIP IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Tkbesh! Back to the acting industry, without going into details of what’s happening in the acting industry, what’s your take on the industry in general & where do you see ‘Nollywood’ in the near future?
Femi: IT HAS BEEN ROUGH AND TOUGH. WE ARE MOVING ON. IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER. THE INDUSTRY IS OPENING UP. MORE WELL-TRAINED FILMAKERS ARE
COMING UP. IF YOU WANT YOUR MOVIE TO STAND OUT, THEN, YOU HAVE TO GET IT RIGHT. THE COMING OF PAY T.V AND INTERNET WINDOWS HAVE BEEN VERY ENCOURAGING TOO. WE GROWING, WE WILL GET THERE SOMEDAY.
Tkbesh! That good to hear . In few words what Is Your Philosophy towards Work & life In general…
Femi: PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL THINGS. SEE EVERYBODY AS AN EXTENSION OF GOD, THEN, YOU WONT HARM OTHERS
. Tkbesh! We understand success to every person is not the same; To you, how would you define success?
Femi: SUCCESS IS HOW MUCH YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO IMPACT IN OTHERS AROUND YOU.
Tkbesh! Thanks for your time, we wish you a continuous success in your home & career.
Femi: THE PLEASURE IS MINE.I MUST SAY THAT YOUR MAGAZINE IS OF HIGH QUALITY. KEEP IT UP. I WISH YOU WELL.
Tkbesh ! Thank you.
As a Director: (Some directing Credits):
“He arose’ (stage play) 2012
Ransome (T.V SOAP) 2012
Contributing Director, The Amazons (T.V TALK SHOW) (2011)
Cyberia (a T.V soap opera) 2009 (SEASON TWO)
Cyberia (a T.V soap opera) 2007 (SEASON ONE)
THE RETURN (MOVIE) 2001
ILLUSSION (MOVIE) 1999
LIVING UNDER BONDAGE (MOVIE) 1995
King of Kings (Stage Play) (Life, death & resurrection of Jesus Christ) 2000, 2003 e.t.c
As an Actor,
(SOME ACTING CREDITS INCLUDE):
FAITH TO KILL,
LAW OF KARMA,
THE RETURN OF NNEKA,
HEART OF STONE,
NIGHT OF DECISION (STAGE),
KING OF KINGS (STAGE),
KING EMENE (STAGE),
BEHOLD THE MESSIAH (STAGE),
HELL IS NEXT DOOR (STAGE), E.T.C
(SOME T.V SOAPS CREDIT INCLUDES):
PAPA AJASCO (Series),
SUPERSTORY (Various), e.t.c.
Member, screening/Resource committee 1stAbuja international film & Video festival (2004)
Actor of the year, The Patér’s Heritage (1996)
Artistic Director, Rimax Theatre Troupe (1991)
Member, Lagos state Troupe to Nigeria festival for Arts & Culture (1990) …
Actors’ guild of Nigeria (A.G.N), Member
National association of Nigeria Theatre arts practitioners (NANTAP), Member
Independent Television Practitioner Association of Nigeria, (ITPAN), Associate member
All Nigerian Conference of Evangelical Drama Ministries, (ANCEDRM), Member
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