Sam Ochonma, from a Corporate Executive to an Entertainment Buff

Sam
Sam Ochonma, from a Corporate Executive to an Entertainment Buff

The Nigerian advertising sector is a very dynamic, challenging and competitive one especially for the younger generation. It requires so much tenacity and resilience to brace the odds for a foothold and share of the market space. For the Hook Creative Agency to have held its own within few years and the Co-Founder Sam Ochonma also venturing into the Nigerian movie space as an Executive Producers which such aplomb following the recent premier of his second movie “Ajosepo” certainly deserves some compliment.

No doubt, the Nigerian entertainment industry remains a force to reckon with on the global scene and particularly the movie sub-sector despite not reaching its fullest potentials yet. Aside Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood ranks amongst the very best and no thanks to its largely private sector driven approach. A number of key players have been instrumental to shaping the narratives in the past which has given so much credence, growth and gains so far.

However, many of those who have made such sterling contributions to Nigeria’s entertainment space are perhaps those who learnt the ropes over time or have hitherto been involved in one way or the other. With the premiere of “Ajosepo” currently enjoying some rave reviews in the movie circles in Nigeria, Sam Ochonma is already making an endearing impression on the minds of many. In only his second full movie as an Executive Producer pulling behind the scenes stunts after his debut in 2021 with “Country Hard”, the Corporate Marketing Communications guru turned entertainment aficionado is leaving many in surprise just how well he is carving a niche for himself with the assemblage of some of the biggest abd arguably the best names in the industry in his new movie.

Sam

“Ajosepo” in one of its reviews by Fareedat Taofeeq is a hilarious roller-coaster twists of chaos and tradition in a typical but much civilized Yoruba socio-cultural setting with rich remonstration of values despite the expression of moments of infidelity by two of the main characters. The block buster culturally resplendent movie executively produced by Sam Ochonma is interlaced with a beautiful blend of tradition and modernity to explore family dynamics, religion and romance.

With little experience within the top echelon of Nollywood industry how Sam cast his dice so well to attract heavy weight in the movie lineup featuring veterans like Yemi Solade, versatile star Bisola Aiyeola and other star studded casts like Mercy Aigbe, Ronke Oshodi, Timini Egbuson, Ibrahim Itele Yekini, Kanaga Junior, Bolaji Ogunmola and Muyiwa Ademola amongst others is quite very commendable.

For Sam, the positive tractions “Ajosepo” is getting since the premiere in April 2024 is a testament of his vast managerial acumen both in the corporate world where he has left his imprints in Corporate Communications at some of Nigeria’s top oil and gas companies Oando PLC and Enyo Retails as well as his entrepreneurial experiences at The Hook Creative Agency, an advertising outfit he co-founded with a trio of others. Together with his co-journey men and their creative ingenuity they have built a company with strong local market edge with some international partnerships on which Sam has leveraged so well to upset the apple cart which is now robbing off well in his odyssey into Nigeria’s movie production industry.

Sam is of the opinion that movie making is no joke and comes as an expensive venture but yet should reward the players very well. “The industry has evolved and we must congratulate our entertainment industry, however I would say maybe a primary challenge may be funding for our creatives to bring their grand ideas to life, film is very expensive and sometimes to make a really good film you would require serious funding.

Government supports, private sector investments and partnerships will go a long way in helping us tell our stories in a more unique way”.
In order to attract more global followership and recognition, Sam feels that more international collaboration is the way to. “Asides quality production and intense promotional activities/marketing, I think international collaborations is extremely important in this space too”. He further suggested the adoption of the example of the music industry which saw a lot of collaborations to gain more acceptance worldwide.

“It’s the same for our film industry, kudos to Mo Abudu, what she’s about to do with Idris Elba. More deliberate collaborations, strategic partnerships and fusion of our stories will get us there fast”.

Sam
On why his adventure into the movie world, considering his Corporate Media Communications background, Sam says like advertising in a nutshell, “it is selling an idea, product or service so consumers can take action. As a company, we always want to create impact through our ideas, we want to tell stories, impactful stories that will spur change or enable a certain type of action”.

Sam’s passion as a creative is surely now translating from Corporate Communications and Advertising to Nollywood where he loves to see his ideas come to life through visuals and telling impactful stories through film. With his debut film “Country Hard” which was acquired by Amazon Prime through its inclusion in a Festival showcase and now “Ajosepo” in cinemas and on the wings of Netflix purchase, it’s sure that he has come to be a part of the new chapter of growth of the industry.

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