Five minutes with: Alegría Adedeji

Self-taught filmmaker Alegría Adedeji on her directorial debut and watching her ideas come to life on set.

What are you working on right now?

I'm currently working on my very first mini-series 'there is rice at home'. It's the very first thing I've ever directed. It's been a labour of love for the past two years but it'll finally be out this year (fingers-crossed).

What/who originally turned you onto film?

I see the world in pictures and I was originally writing with hopes of going solely down that creative route but one day it kinda came to me (I actually happened to be in the bath!) and it sort of...made sense in that moment. This coupled with living in Brazil for a year, where I documented a lot of what I got up to, kinda sealed the deal.

What has been your career high so far?

I think being on set and watching ideas that have lived in my head come to life. Also, the actors coming back to tell me that the script is good. That really matters to me. I want people to believe in the work they take part in.

What was your first job in the film industry?

I suppose this would be my first job. I haven't had the traditional route in that I'm self-taught and in all honesty, I have been incredibly lucky. I also started a film club with friends, that was recognised by Ava Duvernay. This has now morphed into an agency called hue.

If I knew then what I know now…

Firstly, don't be afraid to ask for help or apply for funding. Next, you're never going to like what you make as you're making it. Actually, it might be the more you find yourself wanting to free yourself from it, potentially the better it will be. You should create films, documentaries, music videos, because that's what you want to do and see it as something that once you're done, belongs to the wider canon. And that in itself, is pretty amazing.

Also, always invest in sound. Trust me, sound makes or breaks your work.

If you could have been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?

This is so hard but I'd have to say Forrest Gump (1994). The film shouldn't work but it does and there's something magical about how we all suspend belief as we watch it. Also, the closing scene with Forrest under the tree? Magic.

Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain?

Hero is debatable but DeNiro as Vito Corleone in Godfather II (1974). And villain? Easy. Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus in Gladiator (2000). The dynamic he created of being somehow terrible at being the bad guy but his desperation making it believable, created the blueprint for a lot of villains in film after it. I don't think that character gets the props it deserves - Commodus was the best at being the worst.

Who would play you in the film about your life?

Jodie Turner-Smith. I get the feeling she's enjoy re-enacting some of my more embarrassing moments.

You might also be interested in:

  • Opportunities

    View our range of international opportunities for filmmakers, creatives, professionals and organisations.

  • Resources

    Whether you are a new or established filmmaker, festival programmer, actor or film enthusiast, our range of resources can offer support.