The Tea Talks with Tomeka Podcast Feature!

So recently I had the opportunity to have a chat with dear friend and fellow filmmaker, Tomeka Wilborne who is the creator of the Tea Talks with Tomeka podcast. She had reached out to me for a few months to be on the podcast but hectic schedules just kept getting in the way. But alas, the skies opened up, everything else aligned and before we knew it we chatted it up. Even though it was setup as an interview, it felt just like a chat between two friends. I was so relaxed and very chatty. I just love me a good ole’ girl talk. I had a blast during the interview and now you get to listen in :-)

Click on any of these links to hear the interview: Enjoy!

Tunes: 
https://itunes.apple.com/…/podcast/gladys-edeh/id1369798981…

Apple Podcasts: 
https://itunes.apple.com/…/tea-talks-with-tom…/id1369798981…

Stitcher: 
https://www.stitcher.com/…/tea-talks-with-tomeka/e/57245172…

Google Play Music:
https://play.google.com/music/m/Dvyczk74nqkrfq5kpqjzdwpkmxq…

iHeart Radio:
https://www.iheart.com/…/269-…/episode/gladys-edeh-30155228/

Tea Talks with Tomeka is a podcast that features interviews with female filmmakers and is a platform to celebrate and share their stories and projects.

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She Means Business - a WIFTA event

On September 26th, I had the pleasure of being invited to take part in an intensive female directors workshop which was a part of the SEEN initiative offered by the folks over at Facebook Creative Shop that took place at the SwitchYards Downtown Club in downtown Atlanta. SEEN is a movement that celebrates the underrepresented narratives and it connects audiences to the stories that shape our communities and address tangible ways for more films by women to be seen. The workshop (which started earlier in the day) hosted 7 female filmmakers (including yours truly) in the Atlanta area and we were blessed to receive one on one sessions with a Facebook rep and an editor that helped us refine each of our digital film assets and provided marketing tools to help promote our individual film projects as well as ourselves as filmmakers on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

A special thanks to the Women in Film & Television Atlanta (WIFTA) for recommending me to be a part of this awesome opportunity. A new trailer and poster will be coming to a computer/mobile screen near you very soon. Watch this space :-) In the meantime, enjoy these photos from the event.

Mr. Gele goes to New York Again!

On Sunday, September 23rd, “Mr. Gele” screened in New York at the 11th Annual Family Day Celebration. It is an event that celebrates African culture through arts, games, dance, food, music and film.

It is always a pleasure to have our film showcased to as many audiences as possible.

Thanks to Mahen Bonetti and the rest of the African Film Festival team for making this happen.

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Mr. Gele in the SideWalk Film Festival

The Sidewalk Film Festival has come and gone but I had to make sure that I shared this beautiful poster that was created by the very talented Timi Majek of Skratchaus Studios. The idea was to incorporate the colors of the festival which were yellow and black. I have to say that this is my favorite film festival poster so far. I absolutely love it.

I was deeply saddened that we could not make it to Birmingham, Alabama for our screening at the festival BUT beyond thrilled that it made it into the festival. A special thanks to Sidewalk for making “Mr. Gele” a part of this prestigious festival.

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And the Award goes to....

No, we did not win BUT what an honor it was to receive a nomination at the BronzeLens Film Festival Award Show. Yes, “Mr. Gele” was nominated in the Documentary Shorts Category!!!

The Award show took place at the SCADShow in downtown Atlanta on Saturday, August 25th. It started off with a fashionably fabulous red carpet event that showcased almost everyone in their best African attire. Getting to the event was quite eventful since most of the downtown area had traffic all around. Beyonce was in town. Enough said :-)

The Award Show host, Palmer Williams kept the jokes coming and musician/actor, Tony Hightower had the audience entertained with his musical performances throughout the show. Nigerian actor and presenter, Joseph Benjamin was on board to present an award for the Best International Documentary.

After the awards show, I had a wardrobe change and headed over to the W Hotel across the street for cocktails and conversation. I had the privilege of networking with several filmmakers and to my surprise ran into Ms. Ashley Everett, Beyonce’s lead dancer!

A Night of African Cinema at the BronzeLens Film Festival

The 9th BronzeLens Film Festival is now in full swing BUT it kicked off to a great start on Sunday, August 19th with the  "Nollywood Screening Experience" event which was presented by the BronzeLens Film Festival and Iyalode Productions

As mentioned in my earlier post, our very own short documentary - "Mr. Gele" as well as Jade Osiberu's feature film, "Isoken" made it's Atlanta premiere at the SouthWest Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. It was such a delight to see "Mr. Gele" on the big screen. Whenever I watch it with a new audience, it always seems as if I am watching it for the very first time. The feeling makes up for all the hard work that went into making this film.

"Isoken" was an absolute joy to experience from beginning to end. From the glamorous Nigerian fashion to the lovely production design and most importantly the well put together storyline, it was simply a glorious thing to watch. Well done, Jade! What a way to show off the Nigerian culture in such a classic way!

The whole night was just a wonderful celebration of our culture and I was elated to be in the midst of it all.  At the end of the screening, Joseph Benjamin, the lead actor in Isoken, Moji Sonoiki of Iyalode Productions and yours truly sat down for a talkback with UrbanGeekz.com Founder and CEO Kunbi Tinuoye (video coming soon).

But what made the night the most special for me was having my husband, kids and close friends and family members there to support me. A special thanks to every single one that came out, it is truly appreciated more than you'll ever know! THANK YOU!!

A special thanks to photographers Sheila Kuria, Julie Kabinu and a host of others who captured the photos below.

Thanks for reading!

 

Mr. Gele is going to Detroit!

Yes, you heard right! "Mr. Gele" has been accepted into the African World Film Festival that is taking place in Detroit, Michigan. The festival takes place from August 17th - 19th and will feature several films and festivities including poetry, arts and craft , African drumming and a host of other events for the family all packed in just 2 days! Our film will be screened at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American HIstory Theater on Sunday, August 19th at 2pm. 

It is indeed a great honor to be in this festival because part of the documentary was filmed in Dearborn, Michigan in September 2016. Talk about a full circle moment!

For the full African World Film Festival LINEUP click here

Check out our lovely flyer designed by Graphic Designer Timi Majek!

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The 25th African New York Film Festival

On Thursday, March 22nd 2018, I received an email notification stating that "Mr. Gele" had been officially selected to screen at the 25th New York African Film Festival ( NYAFF)! It was set to screen on Monday, May 21st at the famous Film Society Lincoln Center (right opposite the Julliard School) and was going to be a part of the festival's Nigeria focused shorts program! 

I had to keep this secret to myself until mid- April when the festival planned to make their official announcement on their website. The silence killed me and it was indeed torture keeping this exciting news to myself for what seemed to be an eternity.  

Finally on April 15th, I posted our NYAFF poster to Instagram and Facebook. Ms. Timi Majek came to the rescue again and created this  beautiful poster design (see below):

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Before I knew it May 21st arrived and I headed on out to New York with our Associate Producer, Imani Warren.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching movies from fellow African Filmmakers in the Diaspora and definitely was thrilled to  see "Mr. Gele" on the big screen. I tell you, THAT never gets old. Just the experience of being in the midst of an audience that have their eyes fixated on the big screen watching our film is just PRICELESS! 

Afterwards, I got to participate in a Q & A session with the other filmmakers that were present at the screening. A little networking ensued amongst filmmakers and audiences alike. It was a great experience overall, one that I will never forget. 

The following filmmakers were in attendance:

Opiyo Okeyo - Birth of AfroBeat

Abessi Akhamie - Still Water Runs Deep

You can find the list of all films that were part of the festival here

See all the pictures below from NYAFF

Onwards....

The ClFF42 Experience

The 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival came to an end on Sunday, April 15th 2018 and I am so proud and honored to be a part of such a prestigious film festival. I was there for just three days ( April 12th - 15th ) and in such a short amount of time, I got to meet and connect with so many people from the CIFF staff, movie goers and most especially fellow filmmakers.  Of course, screening Mr. Gele in a movie theater for the very first time ever was quite mind blowing. I couldn't stop staring at the amount of audience members that filled the theater especially at our 2nd showing at 9am on a Saturday!! It was a sight that I will definitely never forget . One of my favorite highlights was finally meeting our super talented editor, Mimi Wilcox for the first time! We had been working virtually together via email and text for about a year and a half so it was quite a time meeting each other at the festival. 

I also had the privilege to chat with Dee Perry, a former Cleveland, Ohio radio host who was also part of the festival. We chatted about "Mr. Gele" and my CIFF42 journey. Being my very first interview, I was initially real nervous but Dee had a way of making you feel comfortable and she honestly made me forget I was even being interviewed. We were just enjoying great conversation.  

The CIFF42 staff were so amazing and extremely helpful in guiding me through the festival each day I was there. They did a superb job in putting the whole the festival together. 

So I'll stop here and let the photographs speak for themselves!!

CIFF42 Here we Come....

I am pleased to announce that "Mr. Gele" has been picked up by the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) as an Official Selection! The 42nd CIFF, yes, 42nd ( meaning they've been in this festival game for a while) takes place April 4th - April 15th at the Tower City Cinemas in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. A total of 253 short films were selected to represent 72 countries and I cannot deny the excitement I feel to know that Mr. Gele is one of them. I am deeply moved and just beyond thrilled to experience this.  My goal with this film was to reach a wider audience, an audience who may have not even had the opportunity to see a film like this. I have been to so many festivals, seen so many films and find that African stories ( or stories about Africans )  are mostly showcased in a negative light. But I am so glad that for a moment, audience members ( who are not familiar with African culture)  can see a film filled with positivity and inspiration.  Thank you so much to CIFF42 for this amazing honor.  

Click on the flyer below for the program lineup on the CIFF42 website.

In a FUNDRAISING state of mind

Yes, you heard right! We are now in the midst of a fundraiser campaign which was officially launched mid-January 2018. 

I must admit fundraising is not an easy feat. When I began my research about this process, I was hesitant to even get started. All the information I found about it was quite overwhelming and just seemed too complicated and time consuming. And so I procrastinated s long as I could but finally got my act together and started to gradually composing a GoFundMe page in December 2017. I spent so much time working on this page making sure it was perfect (well as perfect as I could possibly make it). 

Most importantly, I was very impressed with myself when I produced a fundraiser video (shown below) featuring myself (*gasp*) which helped jumpstart the campaign. I have always been behind the camera and developed a very comfortable place for myself there :-). But I admit today that  deep down inside, I had fun doing it.  I just had to get out of my head. Once I got over that hurdle, there was no stopping me. 

So without further ado, please do visit our GoFundMe page and DONATE. "Mr. Gele" has been a passion project for me for so long and now that it is completed, I need all the help I can get to push this film further than I can on my own. Funds from this campaign will go towards marketing, film festival submission fees, traveling costs and all the unexpected expenses that occur with promoting a film. 

Mr. Gele's Trailer screens at SCAD!

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In mid-November, I got an invitation from my dear Associate Producer, Imani Warren to screen the Mr. Gele trailer at the screening of Goddess, a short film by Tiara Luten. A film she served as a Production Coordinator. Of course, my answer was yes and the rest is history.  The Mr. Gele Trailer screened at SCAD's Digital Media Center located in Atlanta, GA. 

A little background - sometime last year, Imani invited me to SCAD to meet with Tiara and her team during one of her production meetings. Shortly after the meeting, we both shared our individual journeys on how we came to the decision to making our own movies. Let's just say, we shared a "sister moment". Now several months after that meeting, we have projects to share with the world. Amazing, how new connections lead to amazing opportunities. Never underestimate the power of networking!!

Back to the present, it was quite exciting sitting with an audience and seeing the Mr. Gele trailer on the big screen, WOW! I cannot even imagine the feeling that will take over me when the entire film is screened!! Yikes!

What an amazing feeling!

Congratulations to Tiara and the rest of her "Goddess" team for a successful screening!

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  Yours Truly with Producer and Director of Goddess. From L-R: Renee Alexander (Producer)  & Tiara Luten (Writer & Director)

Yours Truly with Producer and Director of Goddess. From L-R: Renee Alexander (Producer)  & Tiara Luten (Writer & Director)

  Yours truly with my Associate Producer, Imani Warren

Yours truly with my Associate Producer, Imani Warren

My Top 10 Filmmaking Lessons

Happy Tuesday Everyone! 

So today is an exciting day for me because my Top 10 Filmmaking Lessons article is featured on one of the most popular documentary film resource sites out there, Desktop Documentaries.

In the pre-production phase of Mr. Gele, I came across Desktop Documentaries when I asked Google for the "best resource website for documentary filmmakers". Desktop-Documentaries.com was the first website to pop up. At the time, I was looking for a reliable site that could provide access to contract templates that pertained to documentaries. Upon further research of the site, I came across the Documentary Legal Forms Starter Pack. I purchased the package that instant without hesitation. It was exactly what I was looking for. These set of forms were a giant help to me and once I was able to customize them to suit my project, I was well on my way. And I can't thank Faith Fuller enough for all her efforts in creating this site. Faith is the founder and publisher of Desktop Documentaries and this website is full of essential tools and resources that cover topics on budgeting, fundraising, storytelling, surviving film festivals, distribution, grants, gear, filmmaker forums, you name it, she has it.  For documentary filmmakers like myself, this site is a gold mine! It definitely helped me in my journey with completing, Mr. Gele. 

So you can imagine my delight when she asked me to contribute an article to share lessons that I have learned from making Mr. Gele! Of course, I said yes and now I am excited to share my top 10 filmmaking lessons with you. 

 Top 10 Lessons Learning Making Documentary Short "Mr. Gele"

Thanks Faith for giving me this platform to share these lessons and for all that you do for documentary filmmakers out there! Your site truly ROCKS!!!

In addition to providing resourceful documentary content on Desktop Documentaries, Faith Fuller is a documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on CNN, Netflix and PBS, just to mention a few. Her first feature length documentary, Briars in the Cotton Patch is available on Amazon and streaming on Kanopy.  

The Mr. Gele Film Poster is HERE!

So after months of conceptualizing, designing, re-doing and fine-tuning, we now have a finished poster. I would like to thank the lovely Ms Timi Majek of Skratchaus for bringing my idea to life. 

I met Timi through a mutual friend at a Thanksgiving party. As we began to have more conversations with each other, I learnt that she was a graphic designer. So as soon as I needed a film poster for my film, I approached her about creating one for me and she was fully on board. At first, I did not have a clear vision of what I wanted specifically on the poster but knew that it had to bright, colorful and unforgettable. After searching the Internet for every single documentary-style movie poster I could find for inspiration and wearing myself out, I finally decided to just settle on a simple, unique, striking and colorful concept. Since the film is centered around Segun's craftsmanship of tying the gele, why not include different patterns of gele fabric? But how do we display all these patterns on a poster? And this is how we came up with the idea to incorporate all the beautiful gele fabric patterns within a side profile of Segun. I liked the light golden color text because it's soft enough to allow the patterned gele image to stand out and the emerald green text was selected to incorporate the documentary subjects favorite color.  Everything came together nicely and I am very happy with the end product. Thanks to Segun for taking the time and obliging us by sending all kinds of side profile photos that we asked for. Once he had someone take a photo of him at the airport while waiting on a flight ( smiles ). He is quite the busy man!!

Fun Fact: Timi and I combined a collection of geles that we had in our own closets to make this happen. I took photographs of about 10-15 individual gele pieces which were all spread out in my home office ( this process was fun). I sent all images over to Timi and she did her magic. A few days later, we had this masterpiece shown below. 

A curious designer and paper lover, Timi is the owner of SkractHaus Studios located in Atlanta, GA

 Write here...

Write here...

Submission time!!!

As promised in the previous post, here are the top 10 film festivals on our radar (in no particular order):

1. *Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles, California)

2. *Sundance Film Festival ( Park City, Utah )

3.  Bronze Film Festival (Atlanta, Georgia) 

4.  *South by Southwest (Austin, Texas)

5.  *Atlanta Film Festival (Atlanta, Georgia) 

6.  Raindance Film Festival (London, UK)

7.  Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)

8.  Africa International Film Festival (Lagos, Nigeria)

9.  DOC NY (New York, New York)

10. Atlanta Docufest (Atlanta, Georgia) 

*Already submitted

We definitely have more on our wish list but we have to be strategic when submitting to film festivals as this  can become very expensive venture. It is definitely going to be an adventure waiting on the responses from each festival as time goes on and best believe we will keep you posted on the acceptances as well as the rejections (these are sometimes unavoidable). After all, it is a journey and we want you (reading this) to be a part of this adventurous ride. Stay Tuned. 

Thanks for reading!

Gee!

P.S: If you have any film festival suggestions for us, please send us a note and we will be sure to add it to our wish list :-)

Trailer...now released to the universe!!

When the editor told me these words "And here is your final trailer edit", I was over the moon. As a typical producer would do, I watched it at least 10-15 times to ensure it was perfect! It was! Shock was the next feeling and then excitement. I caught myself saying, " You mean, it is finished, it is really really finished." The feeling was quite indescribable. The next step was to release it for the world to see but yet, I held on. Why? I couldn't tell you.  I think in my deepest subconscious I managed to convince myself that it was still not perfect! In the end, I was forced to get out of my head when I heard someone say during a Creative Live Class ( They offer great educational content for creatives. Check them out!!!) ..."Don't wait till your product is perfect...release it and just get into the game." And that I did...and it feels so good. So to all my fellow creatives out there, GET OUT of your heads and your WAY...and just RELEASE those "precious babies" because the universe is waiting!

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Thanks for reading!!!

Gee