A Conversation with Branwen Okpako
Branwen, could you first talk a bit about yourself, your background, how you developed the desire to make films?
My name is Branwen Okpako and I was born in Lagos, Nigeria to a Nigerian (Uhrobo) pharmacologist father and a Welsh librarian mother. My younger brother and I had a happy childhood on the beautiful campus of the University of Ibadan.
I later attended Atlantic College in Wales where I completed my International Baccalaureate, before going to University of Bristol where I studied politics. After that I came to Berlin to study at the DFFB (German Film and Television Academy), here I met Tsitsi Dangarembga, Wanjiru Kinyanjui and Auma Obama.
I have stayed in Berlin where I continue to make films and raise my children.
The decision to study film came from a desire to combine all my passions: painting, telling stories and directing actors, all of which I had enjoyed doing since I was very young. Storytelling runs in our family. My father‘s brother Kpeha was a famous poet of Udje. Film seemed to synthesize these loves and has brought an added element that I didn’t know about before—montage (which is the poetry of film).
I met her last night in my hangout, Mokkabar. Very charming woman. She told me that she was flying to Toronto today (Thursday) to present her latest film at the Toronto Film Festival. I’m wishing her all the best!