JOY GHARORO-AKPOJOTOR, FILMONOMICS PLUS PRODUCER
Why do you think you are a producer?
I love to make things happen, to take ideas from inception, seeing them through to a final product and taking it to a wider audience where possible.
What’s your elevator pitch to describe the kind of films you make?
My aim is to create diverse content to reach a wide range of people, promoting entertainment and social issues.
Can you elaborate on why you are drawn to such material/style/genre?
I believe art can be entertaining, mainstream but also a vehicle for social change. I am interested in creating work that leaves a lasting impact on people, work that can change how we discuss or view issues that we choose to ignore, or are just ignorant about in our daily life.
If forced to give one tip to new people coming through what would it be?
Find someone that has done it, have a sit down and ask questions.
And what pitfall would you say to a newcomer into your realm is essential to avoid?
Start simple and follow your gut instincts. There’s no rush, everything is incremental and takes time.
Tell us about where you come from and how it filters into your work?
I’m from Nigeria, and for me art has always been a way to be socially active – my version of activism, speaking about the things that we don’t speak and can’t speak about openly. Film and plays have both been great ways to have conversations and to challenge the norm.
Tell us about the latest film / exhibition / book / public figure / article to have inspired you?
Raw [written and directed by Julia Ducournau] was the latest film that inspired me. It reminded me to be bold – that art can be exciting and there are different ways to tell stories. It uses so many visceral elements of art and it is a film that is not afraid to be what it is.
What frustrates you about what you do?
Sometimes my lack of confidence – I’m a producer, who at times doesn’t think she is a producer.
How do you overcome this?
I have to remind myself on a daily basis that I am a producer and I am doing this, and I think a lot of us go through this, especially in such a competitive market. It’s a matter of the imposter syndrome, so I write down who I am and where I want to be. I write down my goals and have a vision board, so that I am reminded of what I have done, what I am doing and where I am going.
Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?
I do believe in the female gaze – the majority of my work is targeted at the woman. For me the gaze also extends to queer audiences as well. Within the work that I create I am very much aware from the get-go who I am trying to speak to or my primary audience. It’s usually women first and then queer audiences. This becomes apparent either through the stories that I tell, or the people behind the stories that I choose to work on.