Philip Iyegbe on ‘Collision Discourse’ and COVID-19’s effect on film
2020 was going to be the directorial debut for Philip Iyegbe, as he was getting pre-production started on his feature film Bollywood Burlesque. But just like so many other filmmakers, coronavirus came along and shut down production, forcing Iyegbe to shelve the project indefinitely.
But quarantine has given him plenty of time to look to the future, like his newest film, Collision Discourse. The upcoming action/thriller is the next film for Iyegbe, though he’s also working on a few other screenplays as well. We spoke with Iyegbe about COVID-19’s effect on his movies, and what to expect from Collision Discourse.
Bollywood Burlesque was set to be your next project, but then the COVID-19 crisis came and caused the production to be halted indefinitely. Where were you as far as creating the film?
Preproduction phase, which basically meant putting together the look, shooting locations, costumes as well as beginning to put together a strong cast of actors. We also had a few minor script changes to implement.
So it was quite possibly the worst time to enter a nationwide lockdown for a culturally sensitive film, as too many people were needed to ensure everything was on point and that no one could be offended by the end product.
You’re far from the first person to have to shelve a project during the COVID-19 pandemic. What kind of impact on the film industry do you see occurring from this pandemic?
It depends largely on the filmmaker, people will always want to watch films and in times of economic/social uncertainty movies play a role in inspiring and offering an temporary escape for many people.
I think it will affect filming to a lesser degree as precautions and best practices can be addressed during the pre-production phases, it’s just another variable to account for.
It will affect the marketing and business side of things to a much greater extent as so many people rely on the film industry. Film festivals are a good example, just look at Cannes many residents rely on film tourism to keep their businesses making money.
As the industry gets back to work, what can we expect from Collision Discourse?
Quite simply you can expect to be blown away by the amount of work and attention to detail that has gone into creating something so mind blowing. The main character Jason, isn’t your ordinary egghead genius, although he likes to sneakily give you that impression.
You’ll initially believe that this character regularly gets in over his head and that’s exactly what he wants. Which makes him the perfect man to put an end to deadly crime syndicate government controlling and morally void villains.
Where did the concept for the action/thriller come from?
I came up with the concept quite a few years ago but didn’t want to make it until I could do it properly, do it justice so to speak.
I’m always interested in stories with misconceptions and different perspectives, so I guess Collision Discourse is like a play on that. The concept is the easiest part, it is the stories around it that can get complex.
You’re the kind of filmmaker who wears all the hats, what’s that like?
I don’t think I’d go that far, although thanks! I think it’s more of a natural progression I mean sure I can set a scene and well but if I’m working with a passionate top rate DOP then I free myself up so I can work on another aspect of the production.
If I’m working with on point professionals then we get more work done and so I would imagine a higher standard. But on the flip side, if you need something done it’s always a good idea to have an understanding so you’ll a) have an idea of who or what you need to progress and b) so you know if something is being done right.
Tell us about your filmmaking journey – what got you started in the industry?
I got myself started in the industry by picking up a pen and writing, then picking up the nearest camera, which was on my phone and shooting.
Have you worked with mentors before? Should other up and coming filmmakers find themselves a mentor?
I personally haven’t been lucky enough to have a personal mentor. I used to and still do listen to as many professional writers and directors as that’s all that was available to me. It’s not an easy profession. I would definitely recommend getting a mentor, if possible.
What did you do before filmmaking?
I ran a personal training and nutritional therapy company.
What’s one of the films that inspired you to become a filmmaker?
There are so many. First one was probably the 1958 version of Vikings with Kirk Douglas.
If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!
Who would direct the story of your life?
Myself, of course.
Who are your current influences?
I try not to be too influenced by anyone current but maybe Sidney Poitier.
Talk us through your creative process.
Impossible to talk you through but the easiest way for me to explain would be to say “I make the movie in my head first, when I’m happy I start to write it.” For me it always starts with a thought and it ripples outwards.
What has been your biggest success and failure?
Ask me in 10 years time.
What’s coming next for you?
The next feature will either be Demon City or Alchemist X but for now we still have work to do.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Can we expect any episodic TV from you in the near future?
That depends on whether the demand is there, I have some great TV concepts to make but I’d need a studio behind me before I’d take it seriously.
What’s your favorite film of all time, and what should everyone take away from it?
I don’t have a favorite film of all time too many to mention.
Any indie filmmakers we should have on our radar?
I need to get out more!!! But they’re plenty out there.