July 31, 2019

WCW July 2019: Gladys Edeh

This post is a long time coming!!! I have known Gladys since the first time I moved to the States, so that's about 20 years now. We both competed in our university's Miss ISA (Miss International Students Association) way back when! It was my bid to step out of my shell, because I was a very shy little thing. Another fun fact about Gladys is she and I participated in the 48-hour movie project a long time ago - have you seen my acting debut in But Mamah? At the time I was going through a very serious bout of what I can only call depression, and the project came at just the right time. She had no idea what was going on with me at the time, and I only told her about it when I moved back to Atlanta in 2016. Anyway, Gladys and I have some collaborations coming up in the future, and you may remember her from the Aliens in America series shot by my sister.

1. Hi Gladys! Could you kindly introduce yourself and let us a little bit about what you do? 
I am an IT Professional by day and a filmmaker by night. I am the founder of KokoAtDawn Productions where I serve as the Cinematographer, Producer and Editor. I am a wife and mother of twins :-) Well there are not twins exactly BUT they were born on the same day and are 3 years apart!

2. You have a degree in Information Systems, and have been in the IT line of work, but your passion is in film making. When did you realize your love of the film industry and how did you start on the path that you're on now with KokoAtDawn Productions? 
My love for filmmaking started when I was about 13 years old. My dad had an interest in watching films and also taking photographs. We spent many a times sitting in front of the TV watching the latest Bollywood movies (a.k.a Indian Movies). God did he love those! I also found myself gravitating towards a lot of American movies such as RoboCop, The Rocky movies, Sound of Music, Pretty in Pink. In the 80's and 90's, I watched a TON of music videos as well, more than a teenager should ever watch..lol. Its funny how back then no one paid attention to the amount of TV I consumed!  I was a TV junkie to the core and I just loved moving images and storytelling. I marveled at how it could evoke emotion in such a powerful way. Another thing my father and I did was spend time arranging photos in the family album. I actually found that to be a lot of fun and this is how I developed a love for photography. 

3. Your documentary,  “Mr. Gele: The Man. The Story. The Craft.", has been making rounds in different film festivals across the US and has even been shown on Ebony Life TV. What was the inspiration behind making this mini-documentary and how did you make it happen? 
My inspiration behind making Mr. Gele simply came from the desire to celebrate and showcase Segun Gele's talent as an African HeadWrap (Gele) Artist and to share his journey ad how he overcame challenges in his life to get to where he is now.  I learnt about his story when I saw him being featured on CNN's African Voices and I knew I had to delve more into his story and share it with the world. Being an African creative, I understand the difficulty of trying to break out of the norm of choosing the secure path that our parents choose for us. You know the paths I am talking about -  a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, etc etc. I enjoy hearing and sharing stories of creatives, especially of African descent, who chase their dreams boldly and achieve success. 

4. You're an African woman, who's married with children, a full-time job, a time-consuming hobby (which you've taken occasional classes for), and an active social life (I see you on Instagram, LOL). How do you manage it all? 
It's simple. I have to make time for what I am truly passionate about. It gives me so much joy. I think of filmmaking morning, noon and night. Honestly, If I had all the time in the world, I would take film classes for life! I remember when I was taking a Film Theory class, I always did more than the Professor asked and had A's in every assignment. It came to the point that I didn't even need to take the final exam. I ate the material UP!!

5. Do you think college is absolutely necessary? 
If you mean attend college and major in exactly what you are passionate about, heck YES! Parents PAY attention to your children and nurture their natural given talents. Encourage them to achieve their dreams. 

6. Are there any future projects you're working on that you care to share? 
I have so many projects circulating in my head (lol, a creative's dilemma, always) BUT right now I am focusing on my "Who Is" web series that I plan to release in 2020, God willing. I also have a short narrative film that I have been working on for some time now and hope to get started on production sometime soon. All projects are in the pre-production phase right now.

7. Finally, who or what inspires you on a regular basis? 
My kids definitely inspire me to continue to go after my dreams relentlessly. It is necessary for me to keep going hard so that they can do the same for themselves. I want them to understand that with hard work, determination and persistence, their dreams can become a reality. 

Thanks so much to Gladys for agreeing to be my WCW! I am very appreciative of the time and thought she put into answering the questions. I know that one day in the future, I'll say "Ah, I knew her when..." and I look forward to seeing her making a huge impact in the film industry as an African woman!

You can follow her on Koko At Dawn Youtube channel and @KokoAtDawn on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

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