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Filmmaker: Aimiende Negbenebor Sela, Director

Film Title: Utopia

In 50 words or less, what is this film about?

Angel wakes up from a coma in Uganda. Utopia, a film about true love and self-acceptance, follows a Ugandan woman who wakes up from a blissful coma: the result of her narrowly escaping a fire, and now must face the reality of her near-death experience.

Tell us something funny, or sad, or unusual, or crazy, that happened during the making of this film:

Oh, something crazy!

We nearly accidentally set our producer on fire during a shoot on location -- a heavily wooded home in the heavily wooded Sunset Hills, during a really dry Fall season in California. Can you imagine? It was insane.

The producing team (myself included) wore many hats, which meant that our producer, Nicole, wore several hats on this project, and one of them was a Chef's hat.

She was making lunch in the kitchen area of our set, during filming, and long story short, she accidentally spilled oil through the slots in oven, down the burner baffle under the oven and the oven went up in flames. She is part Asian, part Caucasian (i.e. her beautiful jet black straight hair went down past her bottom...) Thankfully the fire was put out, everyone was safe (well, not the oven, but it's not a person :)) and the show went on!

What connection do you have to Mississippi? And why did you enter the Crossroads Film Festival?

My dad, who currently lives back home (Nigeria) went to school in Mississipi! Many moons ago :) That's my one connection. I chose to submit to Crossroads because I was, one, drawn to the name--I've found that the points in my life where I've taken a leap of faith that's paid off wonderfully, or have learned a hard lesson, or just grown trememdously as a person, has been when I found myself at a crossroad (metaphorically, speaking.) So, I think there was a bit of sentimentality there in my decision.

Secondly, during my search for festivals with a philosphy and/or themes that I believe in and I feel line up with my point of view and work as a filmmaker, I stumbled upon Crossroads film festival on Filmfreeway. I didn't hesitate to click that submit button!

Anything else you’d like audiences to know?

I am so honored to be a part of the festival this season and so grateful to have them in the audience, choosing to watch Utopia. It's a story of hope and of self-acceptance, but what I want most for people to impact on to everyone is that we all live similar lives, just colored differently. I hope that they (as audience members) are able to relate, in their own way, to Angel and that if anyone's feeling like the other in their lives, in their world, that they know they really are exquisite just the way they are, and it's ok to accept that.

Film trailer URL: https://vimeo.com/273523290