Crowdfunding for ‘Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest’

Encounters is supporting crowd funding campaigns for the prize winning filmmakers from the 2016 festival. Candice Onyeama, winner of the second prize for the 2016 Widening the lens scheme will receive support to fund 'Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest', a short film for which she will act as writer, director and co-producer.

Read on to discover more about the project and please help Candice reach her target by donating! There are some incredible prizes included in the campaign listed below...


‘When you live between two worlds, you get two faces’ – Quote 

board 7Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest is a short magical realism journey into self-hood. Set in London, the story follows a young British Nigerian woman Uju who is struggling to find a decent job. As her situation gets worse, she decides to change her ethnic name to an English one, hoping to improve her chances. But this leads to a bizarre haunting by an old woman whose presence forces Uju to question the significance of her name and her identity.

The film was inspired by my own experiences as a British Nigerian in diaspora and the significance my name has played in linking and connecting me back to my Nigerian  and particularly Igbo Heritage.

In Diaspora, you are in in constant flow between two identities.  But what happens when one of these identities is treated as less worthy than the other and one which should be pushed to the background ? And if your name is a clear marker of this ‘pariah’ identity, what then? The BBC recently did a programme on how a job seeker with a English sounding name was offered three times the number of job as one with a Muslim name,  although they had the same CVs. I hope my film as well as entertaining,  raises debate and conversation  around this issue.


Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest from Genesis Child Films on Vimeo.


headshot mainThe film is written and will be directed and co-produced by Candice Onyeama. Candice’s debut film HUSH which she wrote and produced was the winner of the Ideas tap funds short award . It has screened at the BFI, the BUFF International film festival,  the African International Film festival  and is scheduled to screen as part of the centerpiece showcase at the NFFTY film festival in Seattle. She is also the founder of Genesis Child films, a production company with a focus on stories by women of African descent.





ellen thomasAward winning Eastenders actress Ellen Thomas has come on board to play the role of the old woman. Discussing her reasons for joining the project , Ellen says‘The issues that concern the central character are the same issues and concerns we’re all facing at the moment in terms of identity and immigration’





Nicola Gregory Bio Pic4Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest will be produced by British Canadian Nicola Gregory. Nicola’s debut independent feature film ‘Hard Time Bus’ won ‘Best Feature’ at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, ‘Best Festival Feature’ at the MVSA’s and was nominated for several awards at the American Black Film Festival, including ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Director’, and ‘Best Screenplay’. The film went on to secure distribution at the Cannes Film Market.





benThe Director of photography will be London based Cinematographer Benjamin D Cooper. His work has been screened and exhibited at galleries and festivals such as Portobello Film Festival (London), Parasol Unit (London), Lumens International Film Festival (Leeds), Durham Beyond Film Festival (Durham) and Artsway (Southampton).






An incredible range of exciting rewards will be offered to those who donate significant funding to the project. Draft prize list includes…

£10- Receive a shout out for on our social media for your contribution + a personal thank you message from the team

£25-Post-festival Viewing link + All of the Above

£50- End Credits Special Thanks + Your name uniquely designed on a post card

£100- Encounters Festival vintage t-shirt and Jute Bag + Photo of Cast and Crew + All of the Above

£150- Video Greeting from Set + Special Thanks in End Credits + Signed Photo of actors and director + 1 printed film still + A behind-the-scenes video greeting from the set

£200- Dinner for 2 at Chukus (First Three) + Private Screening with Q&A + All of the Above + Attend a Private Premier screening of Film followed by Q&A with cast & crew (London Only)

£250- Encounters Festival Pack of bunting + Special Thanks in End Credits + Signed Photo of the actors & director + 1 printed film still + a behind-the-scenes video greeting from set

£500- Associate Producer Credit on IMDB and End Credits, + full-colour printed, writer/ director, character biographies and mood board + Encounters full festival pass + Encounters Festival 20th Anniversary Retrospective

£1000- Executive Producer Credit on IMDB and End Credits