‘Tolu is smart, talented and an absolute pleasure to work with’

  • 27
  • Director
  • Freelance

Based in Northern Ireland, director and photographer Tolu Ogunware started out on his career six years ago making music videos for local musicians, and has since seized any opportunity that comes his way, including making commercials and documentaries.

He cut his teeth as a camera operator on the short documentary film Where You Really From?, which explores the experience of growing up mixed-race in Northern Ireland through the eyes of three ex-national youth team players, asking how they found their own identity in a predominantly white country whose collective identity is so strongly embedded in its footballing history.

Ogunware’s own first documentary, Black, Northern Irish And Proud, was acquired by the BBC and aired on BBC1 and BBC2 in Northern Ireland in September. The half-hour film explores what it means to be black in Northern Ireland through first-hand accounts, with contributors offering frank and honest opinions on topics such as identity, diversity, green and orange politics, racism, black pride and a shared future.

Commitment to diversity

His next project will also be influenced by life in Northern Ireland. No More Bricks In The Wall, produced in partnership with the charity Belfast Won’t Always Be This Way, will look at the legacy and impact of The Troubles and Belfast’s peace walls on the post-conflict generation. It will explore the mental, physical, geographical, visual and logistical impact of living with and among the separation walls that once proliferated across the city.

Ogunware is committed to increasing diversity and representation in the television industry, which he believes can come about through creating opportunities for filmmakers and photographers. He demonstrates his commitment to this goal by actively mentoring and collaborating with aspiring film-makers and photographers in his local area.

He also plans to launch his own production company, which he says will focus on telling important stories and collaborating with local artists from under-represented backgrounds.

Northern Ireland Screen chief content officer Andrew Reid says: “We first met Tolu when he was selected for the Aim High boot camp for factual film-makers that we run with the BBC.

“Tolu was an outstanding candidate and was immediately selected for our CINE placement scheme.

“As well as a talented documentarian, Tolu is a photographer who has had exhibitions in cities nationwide. He gives workshops and talks on film-making to youths from underrepresented communities and was recognised as a trailblazing film-maker and entrepreneur in the Belfast Telegraph’s 30 under 30.

“Tolu is smart, talented and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

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