We had the good fortune of connecting with Chinwe Okorie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chinwe, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I allow myself the space to quit my dreams once or twice a month. If something you love this much cause so much pain and puts so much strain on your mental health, you should walk away from it. Step away and see if you still love it enough to return back to it. I usually come back with something new to embrace or just settle with the fact that I love the process. I love meeting weekly with my writing partner, I love meeting weekly with my writer’s group and I love being on set. That’s what keeps me going.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am honestly really bad at questions like these, I would prefer someone else dissect my work or tell me what sets me apart from other filmmakers. The stories I tell usually come from something that happened to me and I rift off that: some days my life is a horror film, some days it’s a melodrama but oftentimes it’s a twisted dark comedy with an absurdist bent. Have you ever escaped a three car collision on the highway while on your way to being a lab rat for extra cash because your day job absurdly under pays you, while also driving on low gas tank and suddenly your car breaks down. Then, you call for a tow truck and that tow truck arrives but minutes later breaks down and now you both need tow trucks? That has happened to me and I haven’t put that in a story yet.
I generally write with a Black woman/girl in mind because we’re still not at the place where our stories are diverse and full of unbridled creativity. I guess that’s what I bring to the table.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My family is still in Plano, but I haven’t really visited the city in my adulthood so this question would actually be for me, I am the friend who needs an itinerary. I know about the arts district and would love to check it out. When I used to frequent the area, my happy place was at the Klyde Warren Park, very serene and the food trucks were amazing.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout Black Film Geniuses (BFG), it’s a collective of Austin’s finest Black women writers and filmmakers. At the start of the pandemic, we got to know each other over zoom sessions and formed a bond. We wrote several short films that formed an anthology. Learn more by visiting https://blackfilmgeniuses.com/
Photos were shot by Deborah Valcin