Emmanuel Okolo

Emmanuel Okolo

Emmanuel Okolo

Emmanuel is an alumnus from the MA Film Production (Formerly known as MA Moving Image). He has shared some of his experiences being a student at the university.

I applied to study at the University of Glamorgan (as the University of South Wales was called, when I was a student) via the agency PFL in Nigeria. I first chose to study on the International Foundation Programme, and initially progressed to study a course related to computer systems engineering, before I realised that this wasn’t my passion, and that I preferred something more creative. At that point, I changed direction, and applied to return to the University to study the MA Moving Image (as the course was known before it became the MA Film Production).

I realised that computer systems programming just wasn’t for me, so I started studying some media courses on the side, which helped me expand my knowledge of media and film, before I applied for my MA. When I gained admission to the Faculty of Creative Industries, I realised that I had found my true calling. Even from an early age, I had wanted to become an actor, but I was persuaded against it – as it wasn’t considered to be a ‘traditional’ subject in Nigeria. But then I realised I had to follow my dream.

My relationship with the tutors was what I particularly liked – people were so happy to help you. The staff were patient and supportive and helped me to improve. I now run my own production company, called Papilonmexy, in Abuja, Nigeria, and employ 5 members of staff. My company was recently awarded a contract by the United States Ministry of Agriculture, to produce a film on biotechnology in Nigeria, and I had the opportunity to represent Nigeria in a visit to Washington (along with 30 other representatives from other countries), as part of this venture. In addition to film production, I am also a photographer, and was employed as the official photographer for Tony Blair’s visit to Nigeria in 2012. My MA directly prepared me for working in this industry. In addition to the practical skills, I also learned about the more business-focussed aspects, such as the importance of contracts with your clients, which has helped me gain work with a large film company here in Nigeria, as it makes me appear more professional.

“Nigerians are very creative people. You need to start with passion, and when it comes to developing this passion, the University of South Wales is the best place to be; you feel at home here when you study. I would advise other Nigerian students to come and study here, to make the most of the facilities, and to be nurtured in the city of Cardiff. Cardiff is a beautiful city, and has a wonderful atmosphere, especially for a creative person. It’s the best place to be if you want to be in the media.