BLACK SQUARE Magazine presents the UK based filmmaker – Ndrika Anyika. Her work aims to resonate with people minds and start discussions. She builds handmade documentaries as a stonemason with time and passion. A work to be passed down through the generations.
BLACK SQUARE : Tell us about your creative background when did you start filming / what really pushed you to do so?
I studied BA Broadcast Television at the University of Westminster. I actually really enjoyed it but there’s no way I would make that choice now with tuition fees. Much of what I learnt, you can learn it online and most importantly on the job. I have loved documentaries for the longest time. I love how great visuals and stories can have a physical effect.
BLACK SQUARE : What medium/tools do you feel most comfortable with when creating your work?
I feel most comfortable editing. I really value a quality cinematographer because lighting and creating a mood is no easy thing. My latest documentary Young, Gifted and Grinding was filmed on my Canon 5D Mark iii and my GH4.
BLACK SQUARE : Where do you get inspiration from on a dull day?
As much as I like visuals, I am also addicted to podcasts. I love going for walks and listening to podcasts. I find it so relaxing and it gives me time to shut off. Ideas and inspiration come to you when you least expect it. I also love being in nature and think as it puts things in perspective. Just knowing that the hills and the sky and the trees were here before you and they will be here after you. They don’t care about your projects or how much of a fuck up you make. I think that’s why I love animals too. (laughs)
BLACK SQUARE : Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
I have a few ideas in my mind at any given time. When possible I try to write them down, otherwise I just forget them! Once I have my ideas, I think about which one I would enjoy making the most and which one would be beneficial for other people to see. As it takes up such a big amount of your time, it should be worthwhile.
BLACK SQUARE : What theme would you say you are more attracted to and why?
I am attracted to the theme of change and time. When I think back to how I was 5 years ago, I was such a different person as most of us are and I think that’s beautiful. Blackness and nature are other themes I can’t wait to explore. Beauty and privilege too. So far, my short films have been about black women. There are never-ending pressures that come with being a black woman and I think that we are only just starting to see our stories told by us and it is about time.
BLACK SQUARE : Can you tell us about your last work?
My most recent documentary is about black female entrepreneurs who are changing the narrative in the UK black hair industry. So many products on the high street that are marketed towards black women are so toxic. Shops have begun selling natural products but these same shops still have aisles full of bleaching creams and other harmful products.
BLACK SQUARE : What is the message you want to get across to viewer of your work? And why is it important to spread this message?
Before I started researching for my documentary, I only knew of one or two Black British hair brands. Now I can name of over 30 and there are so many more out there. We instinctively think of American brands when we actually have so many black owned British brands. The regulations are also stricter in the UK meaning many of the British products are often healthier than the American ones, and use local ingredients. I hope that the documentary shows that we have options when we spend our hard-earned money and that it is now easier than ever to find the right products for you and support black owned British brands at the same time.
BLACK SQUARE : Nowadays, everybody get a different definition for feminism. What’s your? And how do you express it through your work?
There is no one definition of feminism that fits all. Sometimes I wish there was! For me, I try to express this through my work by showing complex characters. It’s all about intersectionality for me, so I will often try to look for strong characters who will be able to purvey their message but in a relatable way.
BLACK SQUARE : What would be your ultimate dream project as an artist?
Working on anything with Ava Duvernay. This could be working on her shopping list or helping her do her hair. No task would be too menial. To me, she makes art.
BLACK SQUARE : If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why?
I wish people would be able to experience other people’s whole lives in the blink of an eye. I wish they could gain the perspective of someone else instantly and I would hope that this would lead to more understanding. Also, when your favourite pen runs out of ink – that’s really sad. I wish that didn’t happen.
BLACK SQUARE : What advice would you give to a young creative who want to follow in your footsteps?
Film as much as you can. Read as much as you can. Watch as much as you can. I say film because I have learnt so much about my camera by doing things and getting them wrong! Exploring my options and doing it again. Trial and error is the beginning of everything when it comes to videographer. Often, the effect something has when you get it ‘wrong’ is often better than the intended visual.
I have always loved reading, which makes sense as I like telling people’s stories but visually. Books open your mind and your perspective. Reading is also done in a solitary environment, which I think special. Even when you are on a bus full of people, when you are reading, you are alone. I also think it is important to watch as many great documentaries and if you can, awful ones too. It’s also great to just watch people and things. You can learn a lot about movement, lighting and creating an atmosphere just from watching real life. Last bit of advice, is always have a notebook at the ready.
Instagram – @ndrikaanyika