1 September 2020
‘I am a woman of many stories, too’ says Ghanaian filmmaker and actress Juliet Ibrahim
Every Woman Has A Story is one of the local launch titles on Showmax in Ghana, a series that explores the depths of the female experience. And who better to tell these stories than the award-winning actress, filmmaker and producer Juliet Ibrahim. When she’s not on set, Juliet’s been busy, launching her book A Toast To Life, uploading vlogs and appearing on TV. She’s a whirlwind of creative hustle, energy and style, and she’s now streaming online on Showmax. We had the chance to interview Juliet.
Tell us about Every Woman Has A Story, and where you got your inspiration for it?
Every Woman Has A Story is a TV series and it marks my directorial debut.
It follows the lives of five women from different walks of life as they journey through the challenges of everyday women in the city of Accra. Through it all, they gain the power to tell us of the joy, the happiness, the heartbreak, the pain, the disappointment and the love in their individual stories.
The series features several well-known Ghanaian actors and several first-time actors who were handed the opportunity to showcase their talents, as well as upcoming acts whose prowess is highlighted.
I am a woman of many stories that make up who I am today. This is reflected in my book, A Toast to Life. I have been through a whole lot in my life and it’s those experiences that I felt I had to share with my fanbase. I drew inspiration from the fact that too many African women share similar stories and way too much in common but have no medium to share these stories. It is always a case of women being judged or stigmatised. By telling such stories in society, I believe I’ll create an avenue of advocacy, sensitisation and help make an impact in the world.
This was your directorial debut – what was it like being behind the camera?
The feeling is unexplainable and indescribable. After many years of acting, I had a craving to be behind the scenes. Growing up throughout West Africa, I have seen many stories unfold right before my eyes. I realised that the human experience was so diverse and rich that there is room for these stories to be on the big screen. I wanted to bring these stories to life.
So when the time was right I went right ahead and ventured into directing and producing. I’ll say the feeling of using my creativity and talent behind the camera will always be cherished. I’ll also like to say thanks to the cast and crew who took a chance working with me to make this project what it is today.
I have produced music videos, short films and several movies. I also get hired by musicians, independent filmmakers and other companies to work with them as a producer/director on their projects.
Did you have any funny or memorable moments on set?
I have several memorable moments from the set of Every Woman Has A Story. However, one of those unforgettable ones occurred during the rainy season.
We were indoors in East Legon, filming in June. Whilst filming we had no idea that it was flooded outside already. To our surprise the whole house had water rushing in and all of us were standing with the flood water reaching our waist level. The kids were carried on the shoulders of some crew members as we walked out of the house in a line to higher land. Equipment was damaged and the person’s house was wrecked. We managed to save our cameras by storing them in an ice chest that we floated out alongside us. We made it out alive and no one was hurt.
Can you remember a moment in your childhood when you thought: ‘That’s what I want to do; I want to be in the film industry!’
I started acting at a very young age where I performed at talent shows in school as well as in church. I literally spent my entire childhood dreaming of becoming a superstar. I used to act, dance and sing when I was as young as three years old. In 2004, I won a beauty pageant called Miss Queen of Languages and I got called for an audition. I attended and I landed the lead role for my first movie, called Crime to Christ. That’s how my dream career started for me. It’s been wonderful living my dream. Not every young girl gets to live her dreams. I thank God every day for allowing me to live mine.
Growing up, did you and your family used to go to the cinema together? What was your first experience of movies or TV?
My first experience of movies and TV was Bollywood flicks and Chinese kung fu movies. I guess that’s why I’m a hopeless romantic and at the same time a tough nut to crack! My family and I watched movies a lot when I was a kid. We used to have Sundays set aside for family movie time. This is still a family ritual with my own kid now. So, we stream the best movies online and watch as a family.
My first experience of movies and TV was Bollywood flicks and Chinese kung fu movies. I guess that’s why I’m a hopeless romantic and at the same time a tough nut to crack!Juliet Ibrahim
Back then, when I was a kid, we would watch Bollywood movies, Hollywood and African movies. Those times we didn’t know they were called cinemas; we used to go sit at the video clubs, on a bench or the floor with strangers to watch the latest movie on a TV of about 16 inches wide. I used to look forward to video club days.
What does it mean to you, to have your show on a streaming platform in Ghana that reaches right across the African continent?
It is a great privilege for me to have my content featured on Showmax. It is the best way to have my content reach so many viewers across Africa right in the comfort of their homes and while they are on the go using their mobile phones. This way, the message being passed on in the series will be heard. More so, it is an affordable and safe way for viewers and followers to stay glued to my content during COVID 19 pandemic; especially now that certain gatherings are prohibited due to social distancing.
You have a huge Instagram following! How do you manage having so many online fans?
I am grateful for the followers and family I have built online over the years. I try my best to keep up and acknowledge them as much as I can to remind them that I appreciate them and I see and feel the love. I love my followers and I don’t really find it hard to share myself on all my social media platforms. I am equally very active on all platforms.
What type of shows do you like to stream online?
With my popcorn ready and my socks on; I’ll watch any content that features Africans firstly. I like to enjoy and learn from African content and appreciate the rate at which our industries are growing and fast-changing. I also am a huge fan of horror movies, documentaries, TV shows, romantic movies, action and comedy. I am a movie buff.
It’s movie night – pick something to watch on Showmax!