‘Ade is part of a new generation who aren’t trying to get a foot in the industry, they are building their own industry’

  • 23
  • Writer/director
  • ACP Network

Ade Femzo is the definition of a self-starter. Since he was a young teenager, he’s been writing and directing short fi lms with a tight circle of friends from his Hackney estate.

Three years ago, he formalised this by setting up ACP Network: part distribution platform, part training ground, part production company. Femzo has directed 10 original short films for ACP so far – socially conscious works tackling subjects like domestic violence, sexual consent and grief.

Two of these were with other creatives and Femzo has now taken on two staff as he sets out to produce the work of other film-makers. This sense of community is something he holds dear: he is a youth worker and helps out at a food bank.

Femzo’s talent was spotted by actor John Boyega, who selected him as one of five film-makers to fund and mentor on last year’s Create Next programme. The resulting film, Drop Out, won him director awards at both S.O.U.L Fest and the BFI Future Film Festival, and was voted audiences’ favourite short film at the BFI London Film Festival.

For nominator Nicola Lees of Sara Putt Associates, Femzo represents a new generation of self-taught film-makers. “Ade’s a trailblazer and role model, showing other young filmmakers how to build a career without the need to attend expensive film schools, or rely on traditional gatekeepers, funds or distribution,” she says. “He is part of a new generation who aren’t trying to get a foot into the industry, they are building their own industry.”

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