Overcoming challenges is the theme of a local filmmaker’s newest motion picture, based on experiences working in group homes.
Chukwumuobi Obasi came to the Comox Valley a little over 10 years ago from Nigeria. Since coming to the area, Obasi has worked with people with special needs at Milieu Children and Family Services.
His day job combines with a love of storytelling, one that has taken many years to learn and develop largely on his own.
“I like telling stories, I like writing and about five years ago I was intrigued about how one can transform stories into a visual form on screen and being played out,” said Obasi.
He says he has learned most of his skills through watching YouTube instructional videos, trial and error and watching what other people do.
“From script to screen, I do it all,” he said.
His experiences working with people with special needs and working in group homes has led him to his latest project, Lights. Obasi says it is designed to highlight the struggles they face while trying to achieve their dreams.
“These individuals, almost all of them, are dealing with trauma which has led to mental and emotional challenges. Others have been dealing with issues since birth,” said Obasi. “Many of them have goals in life and want to be part of the community, but the challenges they deal with can make it difficult to do that.”
Obasi says his job as a support worker is to support them through this, but it can sometimes be difficult, and his new film shows how they break through obstacles and succeed. Obasi adds these principles can be applied to our daily lives and hopes to capture this in the film.
“For some people, once they go through a hurdle they shut off and they don’t want to keep going,” said Obasi. “Most times all we need to do is just keep trying, and we can always succeed there.
“If we can just take a step back and look at our own strengths and see what we can do to go through those hurdles, we can actually get through.”
He says he has seen this personally through his job, where some shut off while others push through their struggles and now hold degrees, jobs and other life achievements.
To see the film put together and now screening brings a lot of joy to Obasi and he thanks the local community for all its support.
“My ideas turn into a script and then I work on it for weeks and months,” said Obasi. “In the Comox Valley we have a lot of people who love to make films and collaborate. We have hairdressers, makeup artists, cinematographers.
“When all the people bring their own craft into it and make it better, and then the actors come along and bring the pages to life, it’s just amazing and it makes we want to do it again.”
The film is now streaming on Telus STORYHIVE through Optik TV and on the STORYHIVE YouTube channel. A screening will be held at the Sid Williams Theatre on Feb. 16 that will showcase three of Obasi’s films.
The film was made possible through $20,000 in funding. Obasi says he also thanks his wife for all her support while the working on the film.