Actress, Judith Audu, made headlines with her movie, Not Just Married, which swept numerous awards at AMVCA 2017. Not resting on her oars, the actress has gone on to produce more films including Stormy Hearts and Obsession. In this chat with Entertainer, the actress opens up on the secret of her success, her dreams and also shares a word of advice with wannabes.
What new project are you working on?
Judith Audu Productions has a couple of feature films. A TV series and a documentary have been in the works for the past three years. They revolve around fertility and will be shot with an all-female crew in five states. We are still in the fund raising stage, but intend to shoot it first quarter of next year.
As a female filmmaker, what are your challenges?
I see myself as a filmmaker. Gender doesn’t matter even though sometimes I have to work a lot harder to get to do what I have to do. It is never a problem as I do love to be here. I love what I do, the only challenge I have is fund raising and how to properly marry arts and business to be more commercial.
In 2014 you produced your first short film. It was on domestic violence. What inspired it?
Not Right was inspired by the things happening around me and I had a lot of people close to me at the time that were battling domestic violence and that provoked me to pour it down on paper and I wrote the script; that was how the movie was birthed.
Have you ever been a victim of abuse or violence. If so, how did you overcome?
No, I have never been a victim.
Just Not Married has been described as the most successful film by an Indie producer for 2016 and it swept awards at the AMVCAs. What is the secret to your success?
Just Not Married is a product of God’s grace and I daresay it was the grace of God on the project that made it stand out. It was a passion project done with love. Everyone that came on board believed in the project, not for any financial reason, but genuinely believed in the project. The script is one of the best scripts I have seen and it was written by Lani Aisida. All the actors felt it was also the best script they had seen and were glad to be a part of it, so they all came prepared to give their all to the project. The director, Uduak-Obong Patrick outdid himself and also gave his all. Same for the technical team. Asurf Oluseyi was outstanding in all he did including the editing of the film, so it was the collaboration of awesomeness with the best in the industry. Thanks to an awesome script, the reception has been overwhelming. I am forever grateful to my husband, Morten Foght, who believed in my dreams and made it come to life.
You recently featured on the polish programme, Women At The End Of The World, and you are the only Nigerian to have been chosen. How does that make you feel and what did you learn from the experience?
Very humbling, I was shocked when I was told the team would be coming to Nigeria to do a documentary on me and would go everywhere with me for five days. And when I saw the entire entourage that came all the way from Poland led by the amazing Martyna Wojciechowska, I was speechless! It was overwhelming I must tell you and we had a great time together. The experience taught me that sometimes, when we are in our little corner doing what we do, thinking people are not seeing us, people are in fact taking note and waiting for the right time to applaud. I was nominated by some top industry people I still don’t know. Apparently, a lot of other ladies were listed and I was chosen, because I was involved in a lot of activities and they particularly liked my short film about domestic violence, Not Right.
What would you say has been the greatest decision you ever took?
The greatest decision I ever took was choosing my life partner. He helped me frame my career and leads me in the right direction. I wouldn’t have been here if I were with someone else and this is a fact.
What should your fans expect from Judith Audu Productions in 2018 and beyond?
We hope to be able to attract a lot of investors so we can achieve our goals. We appreciate our fans and we are grateful for their love, support and love. We owe them amazing content and we will keep doing just that. This year I personally took on a lot of roles, adding to my acting and producing credits. I did a lot of production management and casting, I learnt a lot and next year I am adding some new roles to that. Watch out for more awesomeness from Judith Audu Productions in 2018 and beyond, we just got started.
Do you have any regrets?
Every experience that happens to me that leaves a bad mark I always try and learn from rather than regretting it. I see it as a waste of energy as I can’t make it right. So I move on fast and don’t harbour regrets; I learn from everything that happens to me.
What has been your happiest moment as an actress?
My happiest moment as an actress is actually every single time I get an opportunity to act; it gives me joy to take on roles totally far from my normal personalities and even better, when I can bring the character to life in a very believable way.
What is your take on domestic violence and at what point should a victim quit the relationship?
I don’t understand why we have to get to the point of violence of any kind, be it battering, emotional, financial, psychological, before making a move. I have never understood why loved ones get to that point and why the parties involved remain in abusive relationship when it is obvious it can have a fatal end, even if it doesn’t lead to death, depression and isolation, it leads to mental breakdown. I strongly believe any form of domestic violence against both women and men is unacceptable, should be frowned at and the signs should be addressed on time. Victims should understand their priority is their happiness and safety and they owe it to themselves to walk out alive while they still have their heads on their shoulders instead of bothering themselves on what the society will say; walk out and quit when you still can. The good thing is that these days, even the society frowns at it and the law now has agencies to handle cases so they should reach out on time and save themselves from a fatal end.
What advice do you have for youngsters looking up to you?
My advice for them is always to be sure what they want and then go for it. They should realise they can be anything they want and have no limitations, except that which they create themselves. Life isn’t as easy as a lot of people make it look like. It takes a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, dedication, determination, discipline, consistency, persistency, and focus to get there, so they should be ready to work extremely hard and know that it will never come easy. But the trick is to never give up, to trust the process, believe in themselves and their dreams, no matter how impossible it looks, keep pushing and to not put their trust in people and putting all their hopes in believing someone will help them fasttrack their dreams. No one owes you anything, so don’t hand your life to anyone. Take control, trust and believe in yourself, thank God for the internet and even if you don’t have money to go train yourself, you can read and watch videos on line. read, read and never stop reading and remain focused.
Is your husband not jealous that you are getting all the attention courtesy of your career as an actress?
He is not the jealous type. He is the type that supports, motivates, encourages and pushes me to be the best at what I do, so he never gets caught up in something as petty as that. He understands how the industry works way better than me.
What are your dreams?
What are my dreams? To find fulfilment in all I do and be extremely happy in life.