By Rita Okoye

A popular filmmaker and founder of Laju Iren Films, Laju Iren in this interview opens up on her journey into filmmaking, inspiration amongst other issues.

What drew you to filmmaking?

I have always been a storyteller. I started by writing poetry when I was a child and then writing short stories. I was in the drama group and when then I studied Mass Communication for both my degrees, and I worked as a journalist for a while.

Before I even got into journalism, it was my desire to be a filmmaker, but I really didn’t see a way forward, so I just basically kept the job I was given after the national youth service. Eventually one day in 2020, a few years after I had quit my job to become an author and join my husband in ministry, I decided to go to film school and I made my first short film. About a year after that, I made my film, Loving Amanda, which is now on Prime Video, where it was among the Top 3 for a while.

Coming to your question, what drew me to film making, was that there were stories I needed to tell. I needed to tell the kind of stories that I wanted to watch, and I felt that those kinds of stories were not being told enough.

Since Laju Iren Films took off, what film projects you have worked on?

I have worked on a number of projects. My very first short film was Love Is A Star but we’ve gone from there to do a series called During Ever After and then Nigerian Son. We’ve done Loving Amanda which is now on Prime Video. We’ve done Mistakenly Yours, directed by Biodun Stephen, which is being released via our virtual cinema platform this Easter. Subsequently, we are hoping to get it on other streaming platforms but for now people can get tickets via I also have a film called Danfo and The Rose that is yet to be released. Those are the films I’ve worked on.

What elements make a good movie?

A good story, a good script and good actors. Of course, good equipment is great but if it is interesting and the actors are good, you can get away with some of the technical issues. Good story, good actors and then you can start to talk about the quality of the storytelling, the quality of the shots, obviously those things are important, but I will always start from a good story and good actors.

Which of your movies was the most challenging to make?

I have had different challenges for different times. For Danfo and The Rose, it was pretty challenging because of how expensive and time consuming it was, but it is a beautiful film, and it came out well even though the audience has not seen it yet. For Mistakenly Yours, it was actually a simple film, a simple story line but beautiful and the directing was really great, but we had a lot of challenges too. For that particular film, we had drama upon drama that had nothing to do with the film; it seemed the devil was just fighting us. We had flood and an accident – that was the only film we couldn’t finish at the said time we were supposed to finish it but eventually, we did come back and finish it and I think that the cast and crew really gave their all despite the challenges that we had.

What sort of movie would you like to work on but have not had the opportunity yet?

The truth is that this is just the beginning for us at Laju Iren Films. Every film that we desire to make, we will make. The focus now should really be on films we have made already, especially our film coming out via virtual cinema this Easter called Mistakenly Yours. People can learn more about it at


 How do you manage work and family?

I always say there are some things that other people can do for me but there are some things that nobody else can do for me. Nobody can be a mother to my children and nobody else can be a wife to my husband. Other people can be pastors in our ministry; other people can write a script or make a film. I love what I do and I am very hands-on when it comes to film making and other aspects of my business and ministry, but I always try to prioritize my family as much as possible. I think also having a good support system, my parents, my husband, my housekeepers and my staff, I think their support system really helps and then I work really hard.

As a female filmmaker in Nigeria, what challenges have you faced on the business side of filmmaking?

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I think filmmaking is one of those industries in Nigeria that has quite a healthy representation of women. I have worked with many women and look up to many women in the industry. Of course, there’s always room for improvement but I wouldn’t really say I have had specific gender-based challenges. Film-making is hard in Nigeria especially but I haven’t experienced any specific challenges because of me being a woman

What are your aspirations as a filmmaker?

My aspiration as a film maker is to have my films inspire billions of people across the world, to be top on all the streaming platforms, in cinemas, on my own platforms. For us to really be a global household name, for the quality of stories we tell to be successful in business as film makers and be successful in inspiring people all around the world with stories of love, life and faith.

Tell us about Mistakenly Yours?

Mistakenly Yours is a romantic comedy. It is about a pastor who has a past but who needs to get married to secure a promotion at work and a single filmmaker who needs to get married to stop the pressure from her family. So they enter into a sort of relationship of convenience but eventually, it’s a story of love, of faith and redemption and it’s a beautiful film to see.

Why did you recruit Biodun Stephen on the project?

Recruiting Aunty B was a no brainer because she is one of my favorite filmmakers. I think she is the only person or one of the few people that have made films that I can watch over and over again and it has always been my desire to work with her. Working with a director like her was a dream come true for me and I thought she would do justice to the story which she did and I am so grateful for that opportunity.


 Aside from filmmaking, what are the other things you do?

Asides from filmmaking I am a pastor, book writing coach, bestselling Author, a mother and a pastor’s wife. I’m also the Founder, The Christian Storyteller Prize, Africa’s premier prize for Christ-centred stories.


Who are your biggest cheerleaders?

My biggest cheerleaders are members of my family – children, husband, parents, siblings, dear friends, and members of my local church. I think I am really blessed to have the best people around me, sincerely speaking.


How do you unwind?

I watch movies and when I have a chance as a new mum, I sleep. I have four children and my last is five months old, so sleeping is an opportunity to unwind because it doesn’t happen for long. I like to watch films and go out with my husband once in a while, basically.


How do you like to dress?

I like to dress comfortably. Comfort first before style. I’m trying to find a balance between both, if I find a healthy balance, I’m going to stick with it which is something I always do and of course, decency is important to me. I like bright colors and I like things that make me look and feel good.