Interview With Sunny King- Upcoming Film Director
When did you first become interested in films?
I remember being interested in films back in 1999 after watching “The Matrix” five times in the cinema. That hasn’t happened to me before or since. The film had themes, ideas, religion, kung-Fu, bullet time and philosophy all wrapped up in one. It’s my favorite film of all time next to “The Road Warrior” (The Mad Max series)
How did get into the film industry
I got into the world of film-making after watching Fernando Meirelles “City of God”. It came at a time when I was soul searching to determine what I was going to do with my future. Coming from an African background, work in the entertainment industry wasn’t seen as a good career move other than being a doctor or an engineer. This film showed me that a good script with great execution can take you anywhere in the world. The fact that it got so much attention for the storyline and was not deemed a huge blockbuster style movie, made it all the more impressive and inspired me to go make films.
Did you get a lot of support when you started?
I got a lot of support from my family. Especially coming from an African background, their faith in me during the early years of my career was immense. I can’t thank them enough.
What can you say about the film industry?
It can be challenging in the beginning when you don’t have enough money to play with, which gives you the opportunity to learn and prove yourself independently. You also get to network with like-minded creative people in the industry to collaborate and create a body of work that can help get you noticed.
Any famous director you would like to work with?
It would be a tie between Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg as they do support upcoming young directors.
What keeps you persevering?
My passion for Film making keeps me up. I get to creatively explore new worlds and share with audiences who appreciate the work put into the making of the movie. It is the best job one can hope for, especially when the hard work pays through critical acclaim and box office.
What was your first short production called? How did that come about?
My first short film was called ‘Signs’. It came about when I used to hangout with a friend of mine at an internet café, we spoke about how a lot of interesting people from all walks of life with strange habits came up to the shop; so that idea inspired me to create a story for the film.
”Unspoken” that was a bold subject to tackle? What inspired you to take on a subject like that?
At the time when there was a lot of discrimination against the LGBT community across Africa, we felt as filmmakers in the Diaspora to address the issue sensitively.
Were you faced with any challenges?
Other than the budget of the film, we didn’t face difficulty in making it.
We pulled in some favours and it was fun on the set. An experience I will never forget.
Would you consider yourself as a risk taker as most producers/directors are perceived?
Yes, I am a risk taker . Unspoken was a challenge in itself when we considered making the film, it changed careers for everyone involved and I’m proud of it. Our latest movie is a risk taking venture as well, to see if genre movies with African leads can appeal to an international audience. Unspoken was very successful on its two year run at film festivals and I’m expecting more from “PREY”.
I understand you’ve scoped some awards and nominated for best short films?
Can you tell us about that?
UNSPOKEN won Best LGBT Film at the London independent Film Festival 2013 and won best Short movie at the Nollywood Movie awards 2013. It was also nominated for Best Short Movie at the NAFCA AWARDS 2013 and nominated for Best Director and Best Short Film at the BEFFTA WARDS 2013
“Unspoken” screened at the premiere of Nollywood movie “Last Flight to Abuja” to a resounding success.
It made the top 10 finalists out of 526 short films worldwide at Afrinolly short film competition. ”Unspoken” has also done several film festivals like Buff (British Urban Film Festival), Africa in the Pictures Festival, Film Africa, London Independent Film festival, Cinema Africa in Sweden and the 6th international WAMMFEST Women and Minorities in Media (USA).
What do you think of Nollywood?
Nollywood to me has great potential and the only industry at large where Africans can tell their own stories on their own terms despite the challenges.
But with my new project, we are trying to take the Nigerian film industry up a notch to show African and Diaspora audiences who are not used to this level of design and sophistication in Nollywood movies to be pleasantly surprised.
Tell us about this new project?
“PREY” is the story of a young woman who is stalked by a psychopath in a car park after a night out. The film deals with voyeurism and the dangers of obsession. The film is also a mixture of genres, a cross between the horror, thriller and slasher genre. I’ve always wanted to explore these genres in Nollywood cinema. It’s not something you see enough of, particularly with African women as the lead in a Hitchcockian inspired film.
A bit about the team you worked with.
I worked with the writer and co-producer Edith Nwekenta on the script. My company Oakmanfilm partnered with Luti media and Nollywood movies Sky 329 to make “PREY” a reality. LUTI MEDIA is an award winning, BAFTA nominated production company based in London that specialise in music videos and commercials of high production value. They produced videos for Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliot, Nicole Scherzinger, Rita Ora many more. Our company Oakmanfilm believes in creating a better world for African and Diaspora cinema worldwide and that is why we partnered with Luti Media and Nollywood Movies.
Anything else in the works?
I’m working on another thriller at the moment. This particular film has more ambition and a bit more edge with a great premise.