‘He said he would project me if I dated him’
Model, actress, producer and co-owner of PAAB World Entertainment Limited, Pat Attang, would tell you she’s a rookie producer, even after this delectable Oron, Akwa Ibom beauty has produced 31 films of her own. In this engaging interview as our Showtime Celebrity, Pat opens up on her life as an actress, producer and what it entails to produce a good Nollywood film
By Adetutu Adesoji
Tell us about your new movie ‘Doratti’?
Doratti is a lady whose mother is a retired prostitute. Doratti’s mother met her father on the job as a prostitute and they got married. Along the line Doratti’s mother went back into prostitution which made her husband leave her. Doratti grew up on the street not knowing who her father was. Because of the person her mother was, the village stigmatised her and this led to Doratti defending her mother and because of that she was disliked by everyone. Later on, Doratti’s mother finally retired from prostitution and Doratti enrolled in school and she became better for it. I played the character ‘Doratti’ and Ngozi Ezeonu was my mother. Doratti is a movie that stands against stigmatization and discrimination. Doratti was produced by PAAB, that is Pat Atang and Arsenal Bruno, I did the screenplay and it was my first time of doing that.
Is Doratti going to the cinema or is it a DVD movie?
Doratti is a DVD movie, it is in the market already. Although I have a new movie titled ‘Mystery’ coming out soon, and it is a cinema standard movie.
Aren’t you afraid of making a DVD film with the prevailing high rate of piracy?
I believe in the local market because I feel that cinema movies are made only for the educated audience. You don’t expect people in the villages to watch cinema movies. Also, if you go to the east you will notice that some actors are not well known because they only appear in cinema movies. My movies sell in local markets nationwide, as an actor, the market favours me more than the cinema. Also, we have very few cinemas in the country; we are about 200 million people and how many cinemas do we have? The local markets distribute their movies across the country even in the villages. If I would shoot a movie for the local people I’m not expected to use the cinema style because my audience will find it boring. I make cinema movies as well but I do more of DVD movies. The movie ‘Jenifa’ for example was made for the local audience, although it had a good storyline and all, it was made for the market and it sold well. Another thing is that comedy sells well in Nigeria.
How do you deal with marketers considering their stiff terms?
I don’t have a problem with marketers; I say this because I’m not an upcoming producer. I have produced 31 movies, about 23 as an executive producer; I produce for other people as well.
You have produced 31 movies; did you make profits from all?
The market is not easy and this is a challenge for every film maker. Ignore the hype on social media, film makers don’t make as much as they invest in movies. I will say only three out of ten movies make profits, how big a production is or the A-list cast on it does not guarantee how much profit a movie will make. As a film maker, I have learnt that a movie must have a good storyline, good picture quality, fantastic cast and crew to be a success. So much work goes into making a movie; the crew has as much work to do as the actors in order to make a good movie that will bring in profits.
As a producer, how do you handle unruly cast?
People say that PAAB productions has their set of actors, yes, we do but it is not our fault. We have worked with some actors in the past and we wouldn’t work with them again. There are two actors in particular that we will never work with again, even if it is for free. These people frustrated me on the set of my movie regardless of the fact that I paid them for the job. So many things happen in Nollywood that people do not know about, some actors display some unacceptable behaviors on set; some will hurry you up saying that they have to be on another set, some will not stay till the end of the production which is unacceptable to me. This is peculiar to A-list actors and it is not nice, for example, they might be called to act for 10 days and they would want you to shoot their scenes in two days which is impossible, other people on set are as important as well, all these affect productions. Another thing I will like to address in the industry is the issue of actors finding it hard to promote movies that they are part of. Some of them give excuses like they don’t see the need to promote a movie because they are not on the movie poster. They tend to forget the business side of it. I have done my part by calling an actor for my production, and every other thing is to their advantage, the payment, recognition and all.
Which of your movies do you consider most memorable?
I consider all my movies memorable because I play different characters in all my movies but ‘Estate Run’ stands out.
Do you feature in all your movies?
I take up roles in all my movies but I don’t necessarily play the lead roles. I play the role that I can; I cannot play a role that someone like Mercy Johnson will play. I don’t cast for my movies alone; I work with other people in that area. Most times my partner picks roles for me.
How did you get into the industry?
After my university education in Calabar in 2013 I came back to Lagos where my family resides. One day a friend invited me to a movie set where she was working, while I was there she encouraged me to join the industry, I was reluctant at first because I’m a very shy person but after persuasions I decided to get a form. Not long after, I met Zeb Ejiro. I got my first role in February 2013 in the movie ‘Saint Mary’ and I acted alongside Joseph Benjamin. After ‘Saint’ Mary’ I acted in other movies after which I met my partner, Arsenal Bruno and we established PAAB World Entertainment.
How did the partnership happen?
Before I finally met my partner, I met all sorts of people in the industry. I met someone that told me that he was going to project me and I was so excited at the thought of it, only for him to tell me that I had to date him in order to get jobs. I met another man that almost sexually assaulted me; he came to my hotel room and almost kissed me, I came across so many funny people. I met my partner through a friend. I was attracted to the fact that he was a business minded person just like me, a fast thinking and creative person. The first official movie we produced as PAAB was ‘Itoro the Housegirl’ and we have been working together since then. It was not easy when we first met, we watched people eating while we were hungry.
There are no stories about your love life; will you say you have been lucky romantically?
I’m a very private person when it comes to my relationships, I don’t like to talk about my love life. My career is my utmost priority right now; also I’m trying to do every other thing right before I go that way. I have never depended on a man for anything; I have always been a self-made woman.
You are one of the most endowed women in Nollywood, do you get comments for your body?
Yes, I do but I see them as normal comments, there is nothing special about it.