I’m an Actor and Filmmaker, passionate about telling stories that challenge negative stereotypes and showcase positive African experiences—Inem King [EXCLUSIVE]
Inemesit Aniedi King, known by many as Inem King, is an Entrepreneur, Actor, and Filmmaker. She has a Bsc in Biochemistry, a PGD in International Business Studies, an MBA and a professional Credential in Disruptive Strategy from Harvard Business School.
Inem has exceptional people and project management skills, and is the founder of Metanoia Productions, a company committed to producing content that confronts false representations of Africa and African women in pop culture. She is committed to challenging negative stereotypes, sensitizing the public on social issues, and providing recommendations on how these issues can be addressed.
She is also the CEO of Metanoia Integrated Services, a consulting company that provides Business Development services.
Inem King is a women’s rights advocate, passionate about boosting the status of women through literacy, training, and awareness creation. In 2020, during her time as Program Manager at African Women on Board, Inem was pivotal in the launch of the Violence against Women in the Workplace Initiative, aimed at closing the gap in understanding the effect of workplace violence on African women and girls of African descent.
Inem is an ex-banker with years of experience in commercial and investment banking, and is committed to building a functional system that provides financial support for emerging filmmakers.
In this exclusive interview with AfroFilm Herald Times, Ms Inem King shares her knowledge of filmmaking and how she’s using filmmaking to remake the world.
Tell us about you.
I’m an Actor and Filmmaker, passionate about telling stories that challenge negative stereotypes and showcase positive African experiences. I’m a Producer with EbonyLife Media, where I work with a fantastic team of people to create mind blowing movies and shows.
Prior to my work in film, I have managed business processes at high and strategic levels, as Regional Cluster Partner and Program Manager at Heritage Bank and African Women on Board, respectively.
My formal education spans through the University of Sunderland, Coventry University, London Campus and Babcock University. I also hold a disruptive Strategy certification from the prestigious HBX Harvard Business School, and a Producing certification from EbonyLife Creative Academy.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
The inspiration came during COVID, I watched a movie, a good one I must say, and I realized that a particular demography of people was not truly represented. I happen to fall in that demography, so I thought, why not start making films that will resonate with most of these underserved demographies?
By virtue of watching this film, the story, and particularly a character inspired me. I thought to myself that I want to tell stories, and influence human behavior. So here I am, trying my best to catalyze social change through filmmaking.
What is your favorite film of all time and why?
For now, it’s The Shawshank Redemption. Funny thing is, I only recently just watched the film, but I love the storytelling and the acting.
What do you think makes a great film?
I personally believe that it is first by having a great story. Having a good team to execute is important, and also the right synergy between the team members.
Tell us about Mr. and Mrs. Robert. What was your favorite scene in the film?
Mr & Mrs Robert is a drama about a couple navigating married life who make a simple yet unsuspecting move that leads to traumatic events. It’s a feel-good and light-hearted one.
My favourite scene is where the character I play (Ima) tells her husband (Temisan), played by Kunle Remi, that she’s pregnant. The banter between the couple is just pure cruise! I totally enjoyed that bit 😂
Do you have any upcoming projects that we can be on the lookout for?
Absolutely. As a producer, there’s always an idea being developed.
As an actor, there are definitely a number of films you should look out for, I know the producers are working on getting them out soon.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
I can’t speak about them for now, but very soon, it will no longer be a secret winks
What are the themes you like exploring in your movies?
Love and Forgiveness
A friend of mine said to me, “Inem, your films always have happy endings”, and there is no lie in there. The world is harsh enough and I love for hope to be stirred up in the hearts of my viewers. Nothing gives me more joy than when I hear ‘Awww’ or ‘Thank God’ reactions trickle in when my films end.
Studying some of your past work, it is obvious you have a thing for family. Why are you so passionate about addressing themes that border on family?
Permit me to use our basic knowledge of social studies. The reason is because family is the basic unit of society.
According to Johnny Enlow, family and morality are the very fiber of order for society. When family order disintegrates, then social order also disintegrates.
Research on human criminality shows that the family has a major influence on those who become lawless.
It means catalyzing large scale social change begins with the little family units.
So I make these themes pivotal in all my works.
What do you think are the most important elements of filmmaking?
Firstly, the Story! Can’t overemphasize that—the theme, character, and plot. I believe I briefly touched on this earlier.
The Directing. Just get yourself a good director if you don’t want to cry blood. The director is responsible for the Mise-en-scène, and you want to be sure this is somebody who understands your vision right from the jump.
Casting is also a big deal. Finding the right actors for the right roles. An actor can be great, but not a good fit for the role.
Art Direction, The look and feel of the film, very key.
Also, Sound cannot be overemphasized. If sound has done you strong thing before, you will feel me when I say, Sound is very important, both location sound and score. Let me stop here!
What do you think are the most important skills for a filmmaker to have?
Through the entire process, from development all the way to marketing — you just have to keep going.
When things are not going how you want; when the audience is not receiving the film the way you expected; when you are not making as much as you thought, when critics are bashing you.
You have to remain resolute, you fail, you pick up, you move.
Filmmaking is tough, but you just have to be tougher!
If there’s anything I have learnt, especially as an actor, it is consistency over perfection. As you behold, you become.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that a film director faces?
Chuckles. When the director is not the producer, they sometimes have challenges balancing their vision with the budget. It’s almost like a lack of funding derails their creativity.
How do you work with the director to get the result you want?
Effective communication, Emotional intelligence and Respect.
We also establish mutual respect right from the start and this sets the tone for all the other aspects of the project, down to relating with the cast and crew.
Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers who are just starting out?
Do it! The focus is not perfection, the focus is mastering the process, there in lies the perfection.
And the more you do, the better you get so I’ll say just start!
How do you choose the projects you work on?
I first look out for the story. Everything rises and falls on the story so I ensure we get it right from there even before we move forward with the other parts.
This is also closely related to the message in the story. I want to drive positive change and tell meaningful messages through my work, so I’m very particular about the message we’re passing through the film.
I’m also particular about the team members I’d be working with, because energy is very important on set. So I look out for that too.
My current work as a Producer at EbonyLife Studios also gives me the opportunity to work on a slate of projects that really get me excited, because I work from development right through to execution, which to me is an ideal way storytelling should be approached.
So overall, choosing projects for me in the last few years have been very deliberate.
How has collaboration with other passionate filmmakers helped you as a filmmaker?
Good collaboration makes life easier. Having everything shared in terms capital, risks and profit, makes the whole process less stressful.
You also get to learn more from working with people because you cannot always have all the answers.
I have been fortunate to have meaningful collaborations over the course of my career, and this has been integral in my growth as a Filmmaker.
How do you handle creative differences with collaborators?
I’m happy to answer this question.
Because differences will always come, so for me, it’s important my collaborator is a good & respectful communicator. I don’t work with people that don’t have joy, lol.
Also, it’s important to establish that feedback is mostly not a personal attack on anyone, but rather an objective approach to how we can make a better film.
Because at the end of the day, when a film does well, everyone takes the glory.
So yes, creative differences are necessary ingredients for great work, so far it’s not a toxic one.
How do you market and promote your films?
Effective Promotion of a film is always intentional. It is never an afterthought as this is always factored in right from when I’m developing the story.
Apart from the sponsored and planned strategies such as traditional and digital marketing, Word of mouth and organic referrals work magic.
I have been blessed with a great community of Family and friends, who share my work without even having to solicit for their support.
Having a good distributor is also a factor that has helped with my previous projects.
Generally, marketing and promotion of a movie is a combination of several factors that have to be in sync in order to have an effective movie run.
What do you think the future of filmmaking holds in Africa?
The future of filmmaking in Africa is exciting because there are so much potentials that we haven’t even started to explore.
There is a global demand for authentic african content and this will continue to surge over the years as we tell stories that are important and original to us.
Personally, I am happy to be a part of this future and I am very positive that the future of African filmmaking is in safe hands.
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