In FCE profile interviews, it is all about getting the exclusive scoop with some of the most talented artists from across the globe. This week we bring the incredibly talented Constance Ejuma. That’s why we are FatalCut Entertainment. Saying it as it is…
Constance Ejuma was born in Cameroon and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 10. In spite of her introversive nature, she was bitten by the acting bug as a teenager and went on to study theater at the University of Toronto in Canada. She later attended Leicester University in the UK where she received a master’s degree in Mass Communications. After completing her studies, she spent a brief time pursuing acting in the Washington, DC area before making the move to Los Angeles to further her training and advance her career. She has credits in theatre, film and television and her work has given her the opportunity to collaborate with prolific artists like Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and Academy Award Nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo.
I’ve had a few intense and crucial experiences in my life but one that stands out to me is the first time I experienced racism. I was a wide-eyed grad student in my early twenties attending school in the midlands of England and up to that point, had lived a very sheltered and privilaged life. I was on the bus one day when a caucasian lady hopped on with two of her friends both male and refused to pay the full bus fare; attempting to use one bus pass for all three of them. When the bus driver, a black man, called them out on it, they didn’t waste time hurling racial insults at him for a good 15 minutes. I remember sitting on that bus feeling angry, powerless and completely demoralized by how little value we place on people’s lives; at times even our own. The irony of growing up in America with its reputation for racial discrimination but not directly experiencing racism until that fateful afternoon in the UK was not lost on me.
The major turning point in my life was when I started practicing Buddhism. I’d spent years being unhappy, feeling powerless, holding back, being afraid of really living. When I encountered Buddhism, I felt my life transform at its very core and started to awaken to a philosophy of inter-connectedness, to the absolute nature of cause and effect and the understanding that in order to transform my environment, I had to take full responsibility and start from within. It’s truly empowering.
Life as an artist is challenging, and when you work in an industry where less than 5% make a living out of it, the odds are pretty much against you. For years, I’ve listened to people rave about the fact that in order to be successful now, one had to develop multiple skills (writing, acting, directing, producing). But I’d always looked at this with a bit of trepidation, mostly because I didn’t feel like I had anything of value to contribute. But recently I’ve started to realize that my own story is unique and interesting; most of all, that my voice is worth hearing.
I’m embarking on the process of creating my own work; making my directorial debut with a documentary film about my grandmother titled Don’t Forget Me. I realized that I don’t know very much about my grandmother and it’s this curiosity, and the fact that I observed a huge disconnect between my generation and hers, that compelled me to start asking questions. For me, it’s been an exercise in capturing and preserving the essence of who she is and what she represents while also gaining a deeper understanding about where I come from. Making a film is extremely challenging but an exciting next step for expanding my capacity as an artist. For updates about the film, which will be released in 2014, please follow the Facebook fan page.
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