Adeoluwa Owu's Rise- From Tunde Kelani's Driver to 'A Tribe Called Judah' with Funke Akindele

Adeoluwa Owu’s Rise: From Tunde Kelani’s Driver to ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ with Funke Akindele

Adeoluwa Owu, known in the industry as Captain Degzy, has traversed the winding roads of the Nigerian film industry, marking his journey with quiet yet resounding achievements. In an exclusive interview with Nollywire, Captain Degzy unveils the untold stories behind his meteoric rise, from his early days as a cinematographer to co-directing the groundbreaking ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ with Funke Akindele, the first Nigerian film to amass a staggering ₦1 billion at the box office within a mere 20 days.

Adeoluwa Owu’s Journey Began at PEFTI

Owu’s foray into filmmaking ignited during his days at the PEFTI Film Institute in Lagos. His sojourn was set in motion under the guidance of Laitan Faranpojo, one of his lecturers at PEFTI. It was Faranpojo’s film production in Benin that provided Adeoluwa Owu with the opportunity to embark on a journey that would become a cornerstone of his illustrious career. This early venture solidified his unwavering desire to be a director, a dream he had nurtured long before stepping onto any film production sets.

The initial pursuit of shadowing esteemed directors like Tunde Kelani led Owu to film school. However, Kelani’s sage advice redirected him towards developing a specific skill within the filmmaking realm. This pivotal moment set him on a course that eventually found him driving for Kelani’s camera crew and contributing as a crew member to his iconic projects, including ‘Maami’ and ‘Alo Iya Agba,’ forging bonds and instilling discipline that would resonate throughout his career.

Navigating Through Transitions and Turning Points

‘Romance is Overrated’ marked a significant milestone, the only film Adeoluwa Owu worked on as a cinematographer between 2011 and 2016. Dispelling any notion of a hiatus, he clarifies that those years were a period of learning and sharpening his skills while actively contributing to the industry. As a Steadicam operator on reality TV shows like Gulder Ultimate Search, Maltina Dance All, and various freelance projects, he accumulated experiences that would later shape his unique directorial vision.

His directorial debut, ‘Gaslight,’ in 2020, licensed by Amazon Prime, showcased Adeoluwa Owu’s prowess and opened doors to larger projects. The crowning jewel came with ‘The Griot,’ a Netflix-licensed film that soared to become one of the Top 10 most-viewed Nollywood films in 2022. The success affirmed his passion for directing, paving the way for subsequent projects like ‘Adire’ and his emergence as a force in Nollywood.

The Art of Collaboration

Collaboration has been the heartbeat of Captain Degzy’s journey. From working as a cinematographer on FilmOne Studio’s debut independent feature film, ‘Adire,’ to co-directing ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ alongside Nollywood powerhouse Funke Akindele, he underscores the significance of external knowledge and perspective in filmmaking. The fusion of solo and collaborative projects has sculpted his narrative, reinforcing his belief in the power of storytelling through shared experiences.

Defining Career Moments

As Adeoluwa Owu reflects on his journey, he identifies four moments pivotal to shaping his career. The golden thread begins with the priceless experience of working alongside Tunde Kelani, a mentor whose influence instilled confidence and discipline. ‘The Griot’ stands as a monument, a project that encapsulated the dichotomy of filmmaking’s highs and lows, birthing a newfound clarity for the director.

His directorial venture with Film One Studio’s ‘Adire’ and the privilege of co-directing ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ with Funke Akindele mark transformative milestones. Each project is a stroke on the canvas of his career, amplifying his voice as a director and solidifying his position as a storyteller with a distinct vision.

Beyond Box Office Records

The unprecedented success of ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ catapulted Captain to new heights, but his focus remains unwavering. Unlike a pursuit for box office records, his primary goal lies in elevating his filmmaking knowledge, striving for greatness, and leaving an indelible mark on audiences. Whether directing independently or collaborating, the essence is in crafting incredible, remarkable, and memorable stories.

Adeoluwa Owu with Funke Akindele on the set of 'A Tribe Called Judah'
Adeoluwa Owu with Funke Akindele on the set of ‘A Tribe Called Judah’
Working with Funke Akindele and Future Collaborations

Adeoluwa Owu’s collaboration with Funke Akindele on ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ epitomises the synergy between a seasoned producer and an emerging director. Their creative back-and-forth, stemming from a prior commitment by Owu to pursue directing, unveiled a directorial collaboration that shattered records. Lessons learned from Akindele’s meticulous approach to her vision reinforced the mantra that a director must know their film better than anyone.

As the director sets his sights on the future, a Hollywood agent’s call and a collaboration with Tyler Perry sparkle on the horizon. Perry’s consistency in storytelling aligns with Adeoluwa Owu’s directorial vision, making it an ideal starting point for transcending borders. While drama remains his forte, the prospect of directing action sequences beckons, an exciting avenue waiting to be explored.

Adeoluwa Owu has etched his name into the annals of Nollywood, a maestro whose journey from the streets of Lagos to co-directing the highest-grossing Nigerian film is a testament to his unwavering dedication. The canvas of his career, painted with collaborations, turning points, and defining moments, continues to evolve. As he embarks on future ventures, the world anticipates the next symphony in the cinematic journey of Adeoluwa Owu.

>>> Watch trailer and see more details about titles from this story: Romance Is Overrated, Larmes De Sang, Gaslight, Asiri Ade, The Griot, A Tribe Called Judah, Adire
>>> Learn more about the people mentioned in this story: Adeoluwa Owu
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