by Sherif Awad
-I was born in Nigeria to a wonderful Christian family. We’ve always been very comfortable and even at that. My parents made sure to impact us with certain words of wisdom while growing up. Those words, not money, helped shape us into the great men and women we have become.
I’m currently in Los Angeles, California where I studied film and I’m currently making films. I’ve always been in the science class and an A- student, winning prizes every other school term with my parents proudly showing up because they know they will be carrying gifs home but I’ve always had a passion for film right from birth like my mother will say. Despite being a science student, you’ll find me in the drama club, press club and the literary and debating club. I was actually President of the Drama club at some point. I got into the higher institution to study engineering but I was also commercial modeling, acting and writing at the time.
I got out of the higher institution and went straight into the entertainment industry. I was working on events production (Fashion shows, music shows and beauty pageants) , Film , managing Music artists and Beauty Queens.
I also did a whole lot of charity work (Children, teenagers, youth, elderly, etc) because of the fulfillment and joy it brought me, besides I saw my parents do a lot to help both people they know and people they didn’t know while I was growing up. Somewhere along the line, I decided to go to film school where I studied filmmaking with my focus on Directing and producing. I currently have two films MIRROR and RISE ABOVE MY PAIN making festival rounds around the world . I was also nominated for Best International Female Filmmaker in Toronto.
-Childhood role models from the industry? I don’t know about that. I don’t think I had any as a child or maybe I just don’t remember but coming up to my late teens / adulthood and up to this moment, I’ll say: Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Genevieve Nnaji, Mo Abudu, Ava Duvernay, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Kunle Afolayan and Tyler Perry. I thank God and I’m forever grateful for how far he has brought me but I’ll say I haven't gotten to the point I want to get to yet. I’m still working tirelessly to grow, go higher and become bigger and better each moment. The sky is just the beginning.
-I try to balance my private life and my professional life to the best of my abilities. Outside work I’m just that lady who goes to church, always smiling, sings in the choir , friendly, tries to make everyone happy and is more of an introvert. In my work space, let’s just say I’m a force!
-Being a woman and being a black woman at that has come with it’s own challenges. Some men don’t want you above them because you’re a woman, some people don’t want to work with you because you’re black. Some people don’t just want you to do good or better, constantly expecting you to fail or trying to sabotage you, some people just treat you differently. I’ve had my fair share of experiences but I’ve never let it stop me. At that moment it hits me, I’m human but after that, life goes on. As a matter of fact, it only makes me stronger.
-The Industry in my beloved country Nigeria is called “Nollywood” like most of you already know and Nollywood keeps growing every second . The market is booming everyday. We have beautiful films, not just cinematography wise but also very beautiful stories coming out of Nollywood every other week. I encourage foreign investors to invest in Nollywood , it’s the market you want to be in right now. If you haven’t seen any Nollywood movies, we have a lot of them on Netflix, Amazon, etc.
Currently I’m working on post-production for a movie I directed and produced. It is a story about domestic violence. I also just finished writing a script, a very interesting and captivating story. I’m looking for investors, executive producers who will be interested in being a part of the project. I promise it will blow your minds .
I see film as a tool, a voice. It can be used to educate, it can be used to entertain, it can be used to draw attention to certain issues and create awareness , it can also be used to comfort someone and so much more. I’m interested in people and their stories, the joys, the pain, the strengths, weaknesses, the good and the bad. I love to create characters and see those characters come alive, create a brand new world. It gives me so much joy.
To the very few people who have supported me this far; family and fans, I say a very big thank you. I’ll keep working hard and telling my stories , your stories, our stories because I intend to leave my footprint on the sands of time.
You can always reach out to me for collaborations, deals, etc at https://celineonwuchekwa.wixsite.com/website