I have always dreamed of creating something bigger than I am, sustainable, and generational. My hope in dreaming this dream is that in bringing it to fruition, I would have touched many lives, impacted a few others, changed a handful, and at least inspired one.
Who Am I?
I'm Nigerian by descent, adopted as a teenager by a Jewish-Israeli family from the Bronx. I studied Computer Engineering and Literature at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. and after several unhappy years in corporate America, the Universe gave me a kick in the rear that pivoted me in the direction of my true calling, storytelling.
Who/What is Sela Films?
I left the I.T. world with a story I had to tell and didn't know the first thing about how to do so. After a few years working at odd jobs, studying, saving, working as a theater actor in New York City (where I met a very dear theater director and friend who believed I could do this,) Sela Films was born.
Forming this production company came out of a need to create my first film, an autobiographical short titled "Asa, A Beautiful Girl." It was a story of hope and overcoming; of reconnecting with my biological mom who at the time lived in the States; of taking a leap of faith that leaving the life I knew behind in pursuit of what I hoped would be a better one, would in the end turn out well for me.
The process of making Asa and successfully putting it out into the world -- though daunting -- not only inspired me, it encouraged me to go further. It was literally my film school.
Six short fictional films and a handful of non-fictional projects later, Sela Films has proven that it's here to stay -- a black female owned indie production company committed to telling stories about our shared experience as members of the human race and focused on interrogating the human condition, but with empathy.
Why me, why now, why this story...?
"8:46pm. Harriet Arrives"
Because there's much work yet to be done. And, being a part of this society, I must do my part.
My fascination with Harriet Tubman (her bravery, her life philosophy, her ambition, her drive and the impact she made in her lifetime) first began in 1997, the year I came back to America.
I was born in the States, and though it is customary in many cultures to send their children home to be raised till a certain age, my case was a tiny bit different in that my mom kept my older sister here with her, and sent me to be raised in Nigeria. Her Sophie's Choice (a conversation for another day, maybe over a cup of tea.)
My 1997 fascination with Harriet Tubman kind of faded into the recesses of my mind as I found my way through life as a teen and then as an adult in my new world, but it resurfaced early this year after the incident with George Floyd and with all that has transpired since.
This question "what would Harriet do if she came back and saw the state of things today?" has played itself over and over again in my head since May 25th. In response, as if it were a literal vision, a story formed in my heart that has taken hold and is demanding to be told.
How Can You Help?
As I imagine you know, growth can be slow and painful, but it sits firmly within the realms of possibility. With your faith in me, your choosing to invest in my vision and support Sela Films, that growth can and will be grounded in a solid foundation and therefore sustainable.
By supporting me in creating "8:46PM. Harriet Arrives." you'll not only be part of bringing such a poignant story to life, you'll be supporting a lifetime of work as I remain committed to growing Sela Films, creating jobs with fair wages for fellow creatives in this industry, and playing my part in bringing the gap between the opportunities available in our industry and the number of BIPOC (male, female, other) with access to those opportunities.
Covid-19 certainly threw a wrench in things, but with every little bit of support, we can weather this time, and continue to bring stories that connect us to light.
The funds from the campaign will be going toward:
1) Accounting & Payroll Budget: hiring a Payroll company to handle payroll out of house, and paying an accountant to handle all accounting including taxes.
2) Legal: having a lawyer on retainer for all company related legal services.
3) Insurance: moving from a project-based liability and worker's comp insurance to a company year round coverage that protects each project we embark on, and is a cost effective option in terms of producing multiple projects in a calendar year.
4) Software subscriptions: Editing suite, Screenwriting and budgeting software, cloud storage, website hosting fees, website upkeep, anti-virus protection, Festival submission fees and discount subscription.
5) Hiring one assistant.
6) Social media: crowdsourcing, campaigning and marketing, and-
7) Project development: prepping for new projects on our slate. This includes creating pitch decks and look books for each project, hiring pre-production staff, budgeting, creating and running individual project-based fundraising campaigns when/as needed.
8) And, last but not least, what having the funds to take care of items one through seven provides us as a company right now is the space to focus our resources on developing
"8:46pm. Harriet Arrives."
I thank you so much for spending this time in getting to know a little bit more about Sela Films, and about me. I look forward to partnering with you, and I welcome your inquires/questions.