I felt my eyes grow small, my cheeks puff and my lips arc like a plush parabola then after much deliberation on whether to write this post or not, i finally did!– What Happiness Looks Like by Ella Chikezie.
Guys did you read my headline? Your girl is now a filmmaker! *insert crying/dancing emoji* Before i get too excited and start blabbing here, i want to shout out my friend Adaeze Feyisayo (Amethyst Saw), Creative blogger, Nigerian Gem and Newly Published Author of “Stab Love With Flower Stalks” for encouraging me to share my journey as an upcoming Nigerian filmmaker on the blog.
HOW I VENTURED INTO FILM MAKING
For a very long time i had written stories. First, as a child learning the basic colors of life, then as a teenager dealing with hormones/boy drama, and finally as a young adult battling mid-life crisis. I had always been a storyteller. I loved stories. Whether i was reading, writing, listening to or crafting them, i loved how they made me feel. Stories had a way of taking me by the hands and leading me through the emotional roller coaster journey of various characters. Stories also brought my imagination to life and afforded me border-less pass into different worlds, so i loved them.
Another thing i loved was the delicate and intense process of film-making. I remember in those days after watching a gripping epic movie like “Troy” or an adrenaline triggering movie like “X-men“, i would sit with myself and begin to ponder how a human mind could conjure such brilliance in words and action. How someone could embody a character, forget themselves and spontaneously discover a new self in that strange character. How technology could cast vivid image on my screen and still blur the lines between reality and an alternate universe. For me, that was magic! and it took a wizard (not Oz) to cast such spell on an ordinary audience like me! So i wanted that power. I needed to be transported beyond the level of mere audience and given a seat at the writer’s room and eventually my own “Director’s seat.” This was the beginning of my journey as a filmmaker.
TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORN?
They say if you want something you have to go get it. So when accelerate filmmakers project for aspiring filmmakers came up this year, with zero experience in film-making and determination rays to power 10, i made a short film on “patriotism”. Despite the challenges during the process of making this film, i am glad that i learnt some valuable lessons and my attempt luckily landed me among the 25 short listed accelerate filmmakers who would be sponsored to the accelerate TV academy this year.
EXPECTATIONS VS REALITY
Like anyone who is about to embark on a new journey, i am aware of the uncertainties ahead and i am prepared to face challenges as they come. For me, my journey as a filmmaker is one i am optimistic and excited about. Presently, i am focused on my creative process, on improving my craft and being the best at what i do. That is what matters for me and not the illusion of instant riches and fame that most people are deluded with at the beginning stage. Accelerate TV academy opens her doors to us next week and i look forward to my craft finding home there.
MY FILM BIOGRAPHY
Ella Chikezie is a new generation award-winning poet, screenwriter and filmmaker. She believes in the dynamic power of visual storytelling and was recently shortlisted for the accelerate filmmaker’s project 2019. She hopes to inspire change and unite people within and across the globe by re-telling the African narrative and is very passionate about creating world-class movies and animation films. In January 2019, she scripted, performed and co-produced “The Colour of Struggle“, a three-minute spoken word poetry video highlighting the trials and triumphs that most Nigerians go through daily. She currently works as a screenwriter in one of Nigeria’s leading animation company, Orange vfx Studios and has in the past worked as an administrative officer for the Lagos International Poetry Festival.