By Ibukun Keyamo
Praise Isa’s iPhone 6s-shot film on the 2020 End SARS protests, RAGE, won the Human Rights Cell Phone Film Competition and catapulted him into the enrapturing world of cinematography.
Praise Isa is a 400l student of Wood Products Engineering. He has been making films for about 4 years now, and his passion for storytelling has led him to create stunning visuals for various projects. In this first edition of our spotlight series, we’ll be peeking behind the curtain and getting to know the man behind the brand.
As with most cinematographers, Praise Isa ⸺ never just ‘Praise’ ⸺ started with photography. He wanted to tell stories and pictures sated him for a while. Soon enough, however, he needed more.
“Photography doesn’t tell enough, it’s still. You can only see what is captured in that short moment and that often doesn’t tell the whole story,” he said.
He tried out videography for the first time at Camp Salt and Light and fell in love with it. Shortly after, in 2020, he shot his first short film ‘Distant’.
“Now I watch it and I squeeze my face but back then,” he laughed. “I thought it was awesome”.
He gives credit to his friend, Adeoluwa Akintoba, as being the first person to give him a chance.
Things have changed a lot for Praise Isa since ‘Distant’ though. Honing his craft with YouTube videos and tutorials, Praise Isa now has quite a number of creative projects under his belt. More notably, he documented the 2022 International Students Day for the Oyo State Government through the office of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Student Affairs, Hon. Victor Olojede.
He was also part of a 10-man team that documented Nollywood actor Kunle Remi’s recently concluded wedding.
Now, Praise Isa incredibly does all this as a full-time Engineering student.
“Combining school and cinematography actually isn’t hard. It might be harder for somebody who likes school, but I don’t”.
Despite this, he still admits that school holds him back quite a bit saying that it has caused him to lose jobs that could have had him “driving into school in a Benz”.
In his near future, Praise Isa wants to go into documentary filming.
“You know these documentaries that go into rural areas; areas that nobody has heard about before, and tell their stories? That’s the kind of thing I want to do. I want to give a platform to people who have none. A voice for the voiceless,” he said.
He quoted Proverbs 31:8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves”.
To people who are looking to come into the field, he said, “I don’t want to be cliché but start. Just start, it will eventually start making sense. Also be patient, don’t let people capitalize on your enthusiasm because you want things to happen faster”.
Praise Isa still has one year left in school, but he’s definitely already a name to watch out for.