Human Story : Accountant turned New York based film maker, Meet; Ihunmehai Isaac
From changing careers to shooting weddings of prominent citizens; home and abroad. We are kicking off the month of February with an interview with Miss Ihunmehai; not only is she an accountant turned New York based film maker but also the founder of only girl media. In this interview, we discuss switching careers, culture, dreams ,goals, working as a female in a Male dominated industry and lots more. Please grab some tea and biscuits as you read!!!
Life in New York
When I moved to New York, I wanted to go back home. I had experienced culture shock coupled with the fact that I did not know my way around. New York is a very diverse place, as a matter of fact, I met a Libarian at the library, a woman who had shared stories she had heard about Nigerians. It was amazing as she knew a lot about the Nigerian culture.
Why the switch from Accounting to film-making?
At some point in my life, my dad wanted me to become a doctor, I always knew that was not the best fit for me. I also tried Arts class and accounting didn’t align with my stars as well. After soul-searching, I realized I had always had a passion for the media.
I started photography in 2015 at school of media and communication Lagos as I wanted to enhance my skills in the media industry. I went in with an open-mind and just chose photography. I did more of Videography prior to embarking on my photography journey.
What are you currently doing ?
Currently, I am doing my Masters in Media Management, this program entails courses that are very related to film making. It also involves learning how to manage creative people involved in cinematography, editing and writing. I am also the official cinematographer for a documentary called from Africa with love ;the American dream, we are interviewing women on what it feels like to be an African Woman living in America. On this project I am working with a couple of people on this project, Ali who happens to be a graduating student from the New school and journalist, also Jorge is also a cinematographer on this project.
I am also working as a videographer for The New School, New York, writing a book on my experience living in New York, journaling my daily experiences. I am highly motivated by Trevor Noah and his story.
On colorism within the black community/ Tribalism
Black people do not unite. Nigerians could be very tribalistic as well.
What is it like working as a female in a male dominated industry?
When I worked in In Nigeria, on different occasions people made rude remarks during the learning phase , through their body language not wanting to give me opportunity. We all started from somewhere. I’d rather you not put me down when explaining things to me.
Some people make subtle remarks. Can’t remember exact words
Do you get scared of putting your work out there?
No, because I am totally open to criticism.
How did you rise above challenges?
One thing has always kept me through hard times is knowing who I am. Knowing I am a gift from God. You might fall seven times but you will get to your destination.
My goals have been re-defined. I would love to become a Nollywood film maker. In the Nollywood industry, I admire film makers such as Bibi Sasore, Kemi-Adetiba, Tope Oshin and Nnanna Adim.
Words of advice for upcoming film makers
First of all, you have to see yourself as a film maker. Do not pay attention to what people say about you. Just do you. Have fun and structure with what you are doing. Do not compete with anybody. Humility is key. People will always say no but do not give up. Do it for yourself, do not let yourself down.
Do you intend to move back to Nigeria?
Seeing my work thrive in Nigeria would be a dream come true. Inspiring people and touching lives.
My mindset has changed
I have learned so much these past few months, I have been able to make decisions on my own, gotten to know myself better, making decisions on my own has made me more independent. Regardless of if my decisions are right or wrong, I face the repercussion.
Official photographer for the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Conference sponsored by the United Nations
Official cinematographer for a documentary called from Africa with love; a documentary that showcases the experiences of African women living in America.
Daily Insta Feeds- I would like to use insta story as a platform to talk about my daily experiences in New York.
Film Making; On the story of a young immigrant man and the challenges he has faced.
Relationship between a girl child and her father
Who are the people you have worked with?
I’ve worked for a media company called Cinematics located in Lagos, Nigeria. I was the video production head. I have also been privileged to shoot President of Sierra Leone’s daughter’s wedding, Chairman Globacom ; Mike Adenuga’s Daughter’s wedding, , Aliko Dangote Daughter’s wedding, Adesua Bello-Osagie’s weddng, Abiola Ajimobi’s son’s wedding (Governor of Oyo State), and also shot a video for Chairman Metis-Capita; Hakeem Bello
Key Essentials for Videography and Photography?
It takes a lot of focus to be an editor. Lighting is key, the kind of lens you use matters a great deal. I’d say make sure you are familiar with the sweet spot of your Camera, which is a combination of three things; Iso, aperture, shutter speed.
Mentors in cinematography
Timmy Davies, Temi-Tayo Aina, Mohammed Awol, Inioluwa Adesola
It was a pleasure interviewing Ihunmehai. Here is to wishing her all the best,