She is one of the ladies making the ‘new Nollywood’ what it is now. Hardworker, Judith Audu-Voight is an actor, production manager and movie producer. The lady who hails from Auchi in Edo State speaks to SAMUEL ABULUDE about her journey, married life and sundry issues. This is vintage Judith Audu.
Can you briefly describe yourself and what have you been up to?
My name is Judith Audu. I’m an actor and film maker. There is a project I’m doing as a production manager, but I am not at liberty to talk more about it. I just finished a movie titled Obsession, commissioned by Rok Studios. It was a very personal one for me because I worked with some of the best actors I love, Yemi Blaq, Femi Branch and I also starred in it. It was directed by my very good friend; the person that directed ‘Just Not Married’, Uduak Obong Patrick. It was produced under my own Judith Audu Productions.
We also have two feature films that will be commissioned by ROK Studios later. I have a documentary that I have been working on for the past three years. It is an all-female crew and that will be shot in Bayelsa, Port Harcourt and Ondo. We will be finishing it next year. The theme of the documentary is a very sensitive topic bothering on fertility and that’s why we are using all-female technical crew. We are interviewing women. We can’t be using men talking to women in their work state. The title is Magic Hands. I already have a set of female crew I used to work with, cinematographer, DOP. It was difficult getting a sound technician but I finally got one. This opened my eyes to know that we have areas in film making that women are not involved, like few sound technicians in Nigeria.
So how did you transit from being a blogger to an actor?
I started with modelling. After I finished secondary school, I went into modelling atthe age 17 and it was very rewarding for me. A young girl making some cash along the way. I came from a very disciplined home, my father was in the Navy. He’s passed on now. Growing up in a Navy town, I was trained to be honest and be hardworking. So when I gained admission to UNILAG, I continued with modeling and somehow acting came along with it. I have always wanted to be an actor. I though a lot about it while growing up, but i and my friends didn’t know how. So we planned to go and look for Regina Askia in Dauphin Estate. We had that much love and respect for her. So when I began to study French in UNILAG, I joined a theatre group called Campus Play House and we used to do stage plays. Later I joined Theatre 15 where I met some of today’s top comedians and actors. It was during the long holidays that I got a role to play a scene in One Love drama series by Alpha vision Productions owned by Tajudeen Adepetu. It was Denrele Edun that told me about an auditioning in the production. That was my first role on a TV production and this began my journey.
I joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria AGN in 2004. I got a role in Mr Femi Ogedengbe’s production , “Life is Beautiful” and then HAMMER by Izu Ojukwu, one of my best directors. I was in my final year at the time. During my NYSC in Kebbi State, I headed the Drama Unit and it was a feat because of all the theatre Arts graduates where I served, I was chosen as the head of Drama; me a French graduate. This was in 2005.
After graduating, I noticed there was a lull in the movie industry so I took some time away from acting and went to do my Masters. My blogging came as a result of the need to profile actors. Going for auditions I noticed then that they could nor even know actors based in one they had done. So I started doing Actors profiling on my blog and it has helped so many to get roles in the industry. Out of interest, I had to know a lot in the production of a movie and i became a production manager and casting director. blogging was part of a need to solve a problem in the industry and it has opened other doors. I got a Doctor’s role in Tinsel in 2010
What of your movie “Just Not Married”?
Before my feature film, “Not Just Married”, I produced a short film, “Not Right”. Then I had registered my production company named Judith Audu Production JAP Company. Just Not Married was a product of perfect casting. We made use of unknown actors deliberately and they are now making a name in the industry. The movie was a product of God’s grace and we got 7 nominations and 2 awards. Because of the theme, Ghetto and crime, a five-day documentary was done in Poland. Rotimi Salami got the Best Supporting Actor at the AMVCA 2017. The movie also got Best Film at Best of Nollywood BON.
How did you meet your husband?
Funny enough I met my husband on Facebook. Everything I have achieved as a person, the social media played a role in it and God’s grace. Social media gives you what you give it. My husband, Martin Voight is my pillar and helped to push me to greater heights in the industry. He’s Dutch and we got married in 2011. I met a man who wanted me to grow. He encouraged me to become who I am today.
I am always an engaging person. It looks like I am the life of a party.
How do you deal with competition in the movie industry?
I am not a competitive person. I just do my thing. I study trends and wade into the waters to catch my own big fish. I’m not there yet obviously as I am a young actor and Young person.
What do you want improved in the movie industry?
The thing is Nollywood is a cash cow and it can become the next big thing in terms of revenue generation.
Getting a film permit is not as—- easy as it is compared to other climes. Entertainment tax is heavy. Government has got to reduce it. We cannot remove government who are the regulatory bodies from Nollywood.
What are 3 things people don’t know about you?
I love to cook, but I don’t eat.
I love to seat at the beach to think. It is one of my best spots.
Lastly, people don’t know that I watch every Nollywood movies in the cinemas.