Eric Aghimien is the producer/director of the much acclaimed award-winning film, A Mile from Home.
In this interview he takes his audience on his journey towards stardom and how consistency paid off in the end.
Excerpts from the interview:
Eric: My full name is Eric Enomamien Aghimien, but I grew up with Osarodion. I was also nicknamed SPIKE by a New York Film Academy Screenwriting and Producing instructor, Mr. Ryan Gibson, in the DelYork Academy Creative Workshop
…given the environment, in which I grew up with little or no supervision and guidance from parents who were hardly around, I decided to become a medical doctor. But, at a point in my life, I met my late uncle, Mr. Imuentinyan Osaghae, who noticed my artistic abilities and told me I should be in art and not science.
What were you doing before Film-making beckoned or have you always worked in film?
Eric: Before Film-making, I was into professional graphic design and event coverage – normal hustling …lol. When I moved to Lagos in 2006, I attended a computer school where I learnt how to use the graphic design and the video editing software. Before then, I worked as a waiter in some restaurants, but quit the job before I started the school. When I finished the course, I registered a company called Hills Pictures, under which I started professional graphic design and event coverage while preparing myself and researching more into Film-making.
Why and how did you embrace Film-making?
Eric: Film-making was always there somewhere; everything I did as a waiter in restaurants, graphic designing and event coverage were to keep me afloat while I learnt Film-making, so as to pursue a career in entertainment. When I came to Lagos in 2006, I came as a singer, but there were some thoughts on Film-making somewhere in my mind, but I was not sure.
While I was busy chasing a career in music, I attend many auditions, including Star Quest. There was this particular talent hunt show where I was auditioned, the grand finale was held in Planet One, Ikeja, Lagos, and was sponsored by Sony Ericson. It was covered by the Sound City crew and when I saw their cameras and other equipment plus their crew working, something leapt within me: a feeling of awe. I felt something I have never felt before and right there, I decided and was 100% sure I will be a film-maker.
Could you list all your productions with dates, giving vital details of your cast and crew, nominations and awards, which the films/TV productions have won? Tell us everything about A Mile from Home.
Eric: This is a big question with many branches but I’ll like to start from the bottom. So, when I decided to become a film-maker, I had so many stories in my head to tell, but I realized it was impossible to tell these stories with very low budget and to make matters worse, most were action stories.
Considering telling a believable story, I had to write a story that will not require special location or set, a story that will not require expensive costumes, a story that will be dominated by young people who are still in their adventurous years and putting all of these into careful consideration, I wrote “A Mile from Home”. Initially, A Mile from Home was tentatively titled and shot as “The Way Back Home” until the week I was to release the trailer and I realized it was a common title on the internet, so I decided to change it.
One of the strategies I employed to make the movie was to choose locations that were within walking distances. For casting, although I had two auditions, but I made sure I carefully selected my lead actors. For example, I had the pictures of how my characters will look, speak and act, besides the audition; I went to the Theatre Department of the University of Lagos to scout for the right characters by pretending to be a student while I watched the student rehearse.
After their rehearsal, I approached ‘Sambasa’ Chiedozie Nzeribe, who was very humble, adventurous and enthusiastic about being a part of the project. I auditioned him for the role, he got it and his performance in the movie was outstanding.
Tope Tedela, on the other hand, came for the audition and got the lead role eventually. These two boys were amazing on set; their conduct, willingness to learn and tolerance were just mind blowing for me. One thing I believe is that talent can make you shine at first, but what keeps you shinning is character.
I am very encouraged with the success of A Mile from Home because it is my first feature film and it was well received with positive reviews. So far, it has won about 14 awards with over 20 nominations, namely:
Best Movie – 2014 Nollywood Movies Awards (NMA)
Best Rising Star Male – 2014 Nollywood Movies Awards (NMA)
Best Actor in a Drama – 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA)
Achievement in Visual Effects – 2014 Africa Movies Academy Awards (AMAA)
Best Actor – 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards (NEA)
Best Director – 2014 Golden Icons Academy Awards (GIAMA), USA
Best Drama – 2014 Golden Icons Academy Awards (GIAMA), USA
Most Promising Actor – 2014 Golden Icons Academy Awards (GIAMA) USA
Best Sound – 2014 Golden Icons Academy Awards (GIAMA) US