Elvis N. Ololo has great visions for Nollywood in Germany and Europe. In the following interview, the CEO of Kingdomcome Pictures and producer of films like ‘Money Drop’ and ‘Silent Moment’ tells us how he came from Nigeria to Germany, why he makes films and how he wants to fight racism and support the African diaspora in Germany and Europe by making films.
Why did you come to Germany?
Having studied business administration in Nigeria, I moved to Germany to continue my studies. However, due to financial strains in my family, I decided not to go to university and worked on a farm in Gangelt, a small village in Nordrhein-Westfalen. After two years I moved to Berlin and got a job as a dish washer in restaurant. My boss, seeing some potential, promoted me to bar tender and afterwards to beer garden manager.
With what aim did you found Kingdomcome Pictures?
I was struck with the idea of filming everything I went through in Gangelt and in Berlin, running between German courses, delivering newspapers and working in the restaurant. I converted my personal life story to a movie script. I wanted people to know the other side of living in Europe. Driven by this vision, I enrolled into a film school as a part-time student. On completion of my studies in 2012, I produced and released my first movie titled ‘Money Drop’, a Nollywood blockbuster shot in Germany and Nigeria. Our objective is to produce African oriented contents that can impact positively to the preservation of African culture and heritage, telling our stories and fight the war against stereotype images.
What projects are you currently involved in?
Currently I am working on an unscripted reality TV series named ‘Großstadt Jungle’ – the first African reality series using German as main language of the African community. ‘Großstadt Jungle’ shows everyday life of people with a migratory background in Europe. The series is supposed to open eyes for African stories, reducing stereotypes and fighting racism. To me, integration is a two-way thing. While we all advice immigrants to learn the language and to adapt to the system, what about the German or European society? As a host to people of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, I think the German community also has to integrate and adapt to become a better host. In that way, the word ‘racism’ will become nothing but a forgotten history.
Would you say your work is similar to or a blend of Hollywood, Nollywood or German Cinema or do you have your own unique style?
We are using Nollywood ways of telling stories and a Hollywood professional touch. I would say I have my own unique style.
How do you contribute to a better German-African relationship?
I believe that people can understand you better if they know you, if they know where you are coming from, if they know something about your culture and tradition. That is the major topic in our current project ‘Großstadt Jungle’. In the beginning, living in Germany was very hard for me because learning German was very hard. Now, after living in Germany for more than ten years, I feel it is my responsibility to advice fellow immigrants and to show them how to live and work with each other like one big family.
What benefits and drawbacks does working in Germany have for you compared to Nigeria?
Based on the fact that we don’t have a platform for African oriented movies here in Germany, I would say I could be more successful in Nigeria because Nollywood has built its unbreakable foundation and is providing a strong platform for African contents. On the other hand, it also is an opportunity that Germany is a virgin country when it comes to African content. Besides, Germany is not like Nigeria where corruption and piracy is the order of the day. Because logistics and better equipment are easily accessible here in Germany, the work flow is almost stress free.
What do you want to accomplish in the future?
My future goal is to produce movies that will run along Hollywood movies in cinemas world wide. But before I get there, my main concern at the moment is to establish a platform for African contents here in Germany and Europe as a whole. And of course it would be a great achievement to watch our series ‘Großstadt Jungle’ on German or European television networks.
What advice would you give a young African boy who also wants to become a film maker in Germany, but isn’t sure of the odds in his success?
My advice to fellow African immigrants who want to make movies in Germany or Europe is: First get educated on movie production, because education is the key. Make friends, get connected with whoever has the same positive energy and shares the same dream like you. Stop wasting your time with dream blockers and people that contribute little or nothing towards your growth. Be focused and determined, don’t stop trying and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because only from mistakes you can learn. Be careful of any business transactions you do in Africa especially when you are not there. Passion is the key to success.