Veteran actress Franca Obianuju Brown is a movie producer, script writer, director and a lawyer. She was born in Onitsha Anambra State. She is known for her prominent role in the 1980’s popular television series “Behind the Cloud” where she acted as Mama Nosa, and this particular television series shot her to limelight. She is also known for playing the role of wicked step mother in movies. She is currently in her 50’s, but hardly looks her age. She is blessed with a very sexy shape and gorgeous look that anyman will die for, and she still maintains that look up till date.
Franca Brown attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. Kaduna State, where she obtained a degree in Law, she proceeded to University of Jos in Plateau State with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and a master Degree in Law. She is one of the pioneers of the Nigerian movie industry, and contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood in Nigeria. She joined the industry in the late 80’s and also one of the very few female movie directors in the industry. She has featured in over 500 movies and still counting, and has produced over 20 movies.
Her latest movie “Just a Mirage” is currently showing online, which increased her rating as a female director in the industry. Lots of people were surprised that she could produce and direct such a movie, which is filled with lots of crime scenes.
Franca Brown has featured in movies such as Deep Bondage, Behind the Cloud, Leap of Faith, Desperate Women, Clash of Destiny, Women at Large, Plane Crash, Sunrise, Discord, Tears and Sorrow, Vatentino, Obstacles and lots of others.
In this interview with City People’s Senior Showbiz Reporter, BIODUN ALAO, she talked about why she is now dedicating her entire time into movie production, the challenges of being a female director, how she has been able to maintain her sexy looks and where she hopes to see the industry in few years. Below are the excerpt.
What would you say has made you remain relevant in the movie industry for over three decades?
It is God almighty that has made all that possible, especially when you are focused, and you have a strong passion for the industry. Like me, I have a strong passion for what I do, I produce, I direct, I act and also do script writing. I am practically into over 4 jobs so that goes a long way to show and prove that I have a strong passion for it. And that passion has been what has kept me in the industry. When there’s money, I am here, when the money is not coming forth, am also still here, and I believe strongly in the Almighty God, that as we progress, money will surely come forth. And I also want to keep a legacy, that in this industry, I worked really hard, and also made lots of money.
How does it make you feel being one of the first female directors in the industry?
I really feel good about it, and I don’t feel intimidated by the men, because the sky is big enough to accommodate lots of stars. So everybody has their space to shine. And the males are very accommodating, we are just few female directors in Nigeria, but that doesn’t make us lesser to them. We do our things in our own way, direct our movies and even showcase it.
Your job will speak a lot about you, either being a woman or a man. I am one strong believer that if you put your passion into what you are doing, you will definitely achieve your goal in that particular thing.
What are your challenges as a female movie director?
The challenges are basically funds. I have learnt the skills, I have the arts and crafts, what we need in the industry is fund.
Some of us have not been able to get funds. Besides funds, in any industry you are, you need passion. Take for example, there are eleven people chasing one leather called football, so it is the passion that makes a particular person to score a goal, coupled with the style and the way the player was able to maneuver. So it is your passion for directing and your style of directing, that gives you that edge above others and protect you. So I have been projected in the industry and so is my style of acting and directing and I give God Almighty the praise, because it is a gift from him.
What particular movie shot you to limelight as a director?
I will say the movie “Just a Mirage” It is on the internet, I will urge people to go and watch it. It is a very beautiful movie, with lots of crime scenes. Lots of people were surprised that I could do such a movie with lots of robbery scenes. I have got lots of positive feedback on that movie.
How do you achieve interpreting different roles as an actress?
As an actress, you need to be versatile, and to achieve this, you need to learn the craft and have the skills, then the passion now comes, then you can also do the business in the show. The passion compels you to always want to do more, giving it your best and be result oriented and before you even realize it, you will start doing the business aspect of it.
If you look back to your over three decades in the industry, do you have any regrets?
No regrets at all, am so fulfilled, I have not even brought out my best, am still looking forward to getting more opportunities so I will be able to showcase lots of what I have inside of me. I have not even started at all. When I say opportunities, I mean laying my hands on more funds, producing more films. I love to see my films, I love to see people going to cinemas to watch my films. Let them say, I want to go and watch Franca Brown Movies. I love to have that name like Steven Spielberg, he doesn’t have 10 heads, am sure he will always want to be a mentor to somebody. I read three of his books, I have watched everything that he has done. I follow him on Ig. There’s nothing like you having a very good and sound mentor. He has been my mentor, but unfortunately, he doesn’t know me. Everything that he has laid his hands upon, I have watched. The truth about this life is that, as a human being, you don’t know it all. In the industry, you should learn, and also get people to mentor you there. You should have the passion that will take you to high places.
Despite your age, you have been able to maintain your beautiful looks, what is the secret?
I don’t have any secret to my looking good. When God has blessed you with something, especially looks, it will always be there, you don’t need to break a bank to keep that look. So I give God Almighty the glory for blessing and creating me this way.
Any secret beauty routine?
No secret beauty routine. It’s God Almighty.
In the next few years, where do you hope to see Nollywood?
By the grace of God, I wish to see Nollywood excel, I wish to see more international recognition, I wish to see Nollywood doing business, because we don’t have funds to do lots of things people are claimouring for us, plenty awards, no money attached to it, and many other things like that.
All the same, we thank God for the awards, the fame, but now, we should be able to do the business. There’s nothing wrong for us also having our private jets, like we have in other fields. I’m not saying it will happen overnight, but I strongly believe with hard work, we can surely achieve it. I see Nollywood artistes like directors, producers, actresses, actors, scripts writers, cameramen and all others, that have really worked and contributed to being able to say, Yes, this is what I can show for all my hard work.