My Name is Mbalu Kamara, and I am a black woman, going against odds to make it into the film industry. I’m curious to learn, explore and experience new things. If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be 'different'.I am currently learning Japanese and Korean as I hope to go to other countries and make foreign films, perhaps even travelling to Korea to make my own South Korean drama like ‘Dream High’ and 'Descendants of the Sun'. I want to become an all-rounder filmmaker, if possible, a filmmaker that does it all: documentaries, TV shows, music videos, foreign films (Korean, Japanese, and Indian etc.) while spreading across a wide range of genres. It’s a crazy dream, but it’s not unreachable. To be honest, I didn’t always dream of becoming a filmmaker. It wasn’t a dream that I had when I was young. I used to want to be a footballer, for example, although I decided to keep most of my childhood career dreams like a hobby. Until two years ago... It all started with one writing piece. That’s when I knew that I had a talent with coming up with stories. The task was to write an essay from a first-person perspective of a man coming back from a war. I struggled with this at first. I lacked personal experience and had only heard stories and interviews online from ex-soldiers. Most end up in a depressive state, isolate themselves from their families, society and world itself. A week later, I had a dream. This is how most of my ideas for stories begin. I dreamt up my entire essay that night. Absolutely unbelievable but true! The next day, as soon as my pen came into contact with paper, it was as if I was possessed. Everything seemed to flow. The teacher who marked it literally called it a “masterpiece” and then stared at me and told me “you have a talent that most people will kill to have, what are you going to do about it?!” I was lost for words. I come from a background where education was not a given. As a result, my mum would push me a little harder than everyone else. She’s a strong African, and she held the traditional view that becoming a doctor, lawyer, or teacher is the best or only job for their child. Throughout my life, I’ve been given those hidden signs. For instance, my mum would buy me medicine books and say it’s from a friend or call me to watch a medical soap drama like ‘Causality’ or ‘Holby City’ then say out of the blue in her African accent “in the future you’ll be doctoring me up when I’m old”. Just to put it out there, I HATE BLOOD! The weird thing is her pushing me towards her ideal career job had the opposite effect on me. The pressures from my mum somehow managed to push me towards films and aided in shaping my dreams and aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. From my Mum, I found out that there was something about films or TV series I just instantly understood and I’m not just talking about me winning in all trivia questions relating to films. It is something I would absorb and soak in easily whether it is the theory or process behind making the film, its history or the way the narrative is illustrated to create dramatic suspense and emotions. A feeling I would get immediately. At the end of my secondary school year, I had won an English scholarship award. 90% of this was due to my writing piece; the remaining was due to my work in English (language & literature) and all the volunteer teaching work I did with students who find schoolwork difficult. From this, I found out I have a talent for making up stories and sparked up my ambitions of becoming a filmmaker.
Simon Oatley was my mentor during my time at the 1 week animation and special effects residential course with the BFI Film Academy.
During my placement with Twenty-Twenty television production as a runner, I helped with behind the scenes of a children television shoot and administration work shoot as photocopying, printing sorting at receipts etc. From this, I learned that preparing for a film (pre-production) is more important than shooting the film itself as without it the production shoot would not functionally flow properly or at all especially as a long in depth process of organisation and networking is essential.
I worked as a content producer and created content for their social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and youtube channel to help promote volunteering to the students at the university.
I worked as a content producer for a five-month paid internship, which involved me taking photographs and filming interviews to promote the university.
I helped the marketing team at my University with organising a festival that also celebrated Pride.
I helped her as a photographer and videographer to shoot and make content that can sell the jewellery she produces to the public on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and youtube.