Entrepreneur spotlight on Nefertite Nguvu, director of ‘In the Morning’

Photo credit: Danesss Myricks

Rolling out aims to share tips from successful businesswomen. This week, we had the pleasure of chatting with director Nefertite Nguvu, who shot her movie In the Morning in just eight days. Nguvu has had her hand in the arts in various capacities for many years/ Find out how she’s sustained her success.

How did you discover your passion for the arts?
I discovered my passion for the arts through my very amazing parents. My parents were big believers in the importance of art and culture in all mediums. I grew up surrounded by the arts and knew early on that I wanted to be an artist.  Their love of music, literature and poetry became my love, and is an essential part of who I am. Poetry was my first love.

When you founded Women in Media, what was your overall mission?
I’m one of the founding members of Women in Media- Newark. Our goal was to advocate for and educate the public about issues affecting the lives of women using film, video and new media as our platform. We have an annual film festival, now in its eighth year and I’m so proud of that.  Each year, our festival brings high-level content centered on global issues that confront women. It presents an amazing array of independent films from around the world that celebrate the indomitable spirit of women and gives a much-needed platform to women filmmakers.

What message do you intend to share with your film In the Morning?
In The Morning explores the lives of beautiful, but imperfect people navigating their way through life and love challenges, without placing judgments on anyone. We are all human and therefore all flawed. Our message is really about deepening connection, intimacy and empathy.  More than anything else, I want our audience to see true and deep reflections of themselves. If you feel emotionally invested in our film, if it makes you think about your own experiences, if you feel engaged by it, and it sparks conversation after, we’ve done our job!

Why do you think it’s important for women of color to express themselves through art?
Art to me is one of the greatest measures of a civilization. The art we create and leave behind tells the story of who we are. If women of color do not tell our own stories through art, we are at the mercy of everyone else’s version of us.  Thankfully, Black women filmmakers are making huge leaps and bounds these days, telling our own stories in film. I’m excited to be a part of this growing movement.

What advice can you offer aspiring creators who want to break into the film industry?
I took a long detour after graduating from film school where I had to work in other fields. Unlike a lot of my classmates, I couldn’t take an unpaid internship after graduating, because I had rent to pay.  So for almost ten years I quietly tucked my dreams away and held down dependable 9-5s. I couldn’t see a path for me to make films. Eventually, and thankfully I realized I had to create my own path.  To aspiring filmmakers, I’d say start with what you have. Take a good look at the resources at your disposal. If you have $10 and a camera, think of the most innovative film you can make with just that. Creativity is free. If you have a voice and something interesting to say, it will shine through. Technology is changing and miracles can be made on a shoe string budget. If this is your calling, make your film. Create your own opportunities. Don’t wait for permission. 

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