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Why I’m Not A Purist Filmmaker – Tunde Kelani

Veteran filmmaker and cinematographer earlier this year shot a documentary using two smartphones. The documentary ‘Yoruba Without Borders’ was screened at the 9th edition of the iREP International Documentary Film Festival. He speaks to The Interview about the challenges that came with it.

Filmmaker and Cinematographer, Tunde Kelani / olorisupergal.com
Filmmaker and Cinematographer, Tunde Kelani / olorisupergal.com

You seem to be everyone’s daddy, does that overwhelm you?

No, they call me TK mostly because when I’m working it is what people call me. I want people to be free with me because that way I get the best out of them.

They are important to me. My children also call me TK and it doesn’t bother me.

Did the American filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s iphone movie inspire you to shoot your latest documentary with smartphones?

No, not at all. I have been learning about it in the past few months and practising it. He has done it to make a full narrative film. That’s different. I used mine for a short documentary.

What were the challenges that came with it?

First, you have to respect these small things. It is not exactly plug and play; you have to make something substantial out of it.

So you have to take more care, invest in time and money to buy the necessary accessories.

One of the remarks made by filmmaker Kunle Afolayan about you is that you are always working with the latest technology in filmmaking?

But that is the point. I have worked in all the known technology of making motion pictures. The thing is that they are always technology-based.

I mean that is what makes Nollywood possible. It is that technology that gave us alternative to the analog chemical processing of making films.

And it empowered us. That is what technology is supposed to do. I am not that kind of filmmaker that is purist that says it has to be done in a particular way.

No, chances are if I find an interesting story, I will pick up what I can lay my hands on and do it.

Again, the issue of technology is that, according to the economic factors, it largely depends on your purse. How much do you have?

That sometimes determines what kind of technology you want to deploy. It is important. I know sometimes filmmakers are stuck to one thing. But I don’t look at films that way.

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