This week we have the opportunity to talk to one of the hitmakers, pace-setters, movers, and shakers in the movie industry. A strong woman who has been a force to reckon with, she is the owner of Lema’s Diary which is a movie producing company in Sierra Leone.
She is Alimatu Farakhan Sesay nee Kamara. Hailed from Kenema District with five sisters. She attended the Holy Trinity Primary School and later moved to Government Model Secondary School where she attained the senior school certificate and later moved to Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone where she bagged a degree in Commerce. She works in the banking industry in Sierra Leone. She has been married for seven years to Umaru Farakhan Deen Sesay who is a lawyer and the executive producer of her movies. They have two boys.
Alimatu has been writing stories since her teenage years, as she grew up taking notes of her surroundings and daily happenings in her diary. In fact, that’s where the name Lema’s Diary comes from. She writes and produces her movies alongside her husband who is the executive producer of her movies. She has received many nominations and awards from different entertainment organizations.
“The movie industry in Sierra Leone is struggling. We do have a long way to go, and as a woman in an industry that is male-dominated like ours, to get the desired result I am getting now, I have to work twice as hard as my male counterparts to tell my stories. This systemic gender imbalance is endemic and extends beyond the movie industry” said Alimatu.
Some of the challenges in the industry are piracy, copyright issues, lack of proper entertainment laws to protect people in the industry, the underdeveloped market for sales and promotions, lack of finance to acquire standard equipment needed to get fine picture effects that meet the standard of other movie industry in the subregion and lack of support for locally produced movies by the public.
The upside to all this is that people are starting to believe in the industry again. The government encourages entertainment and she believes in due time things will fall in place and take shape. She is hoping to get more support from the public. Alimatu wants to keep moving forward using her creativity to support great movies made and produce in Sierra Leone.
Her goal is to keep creating movies that will find a way into people’s minds and subconscious, that viewers would relate with, that reflect on the complexities of human nature, and the interactions with ourselves and with the environment.
Her advice to other women who are hoping to enter into the movie industry be it as an actor, director, writer or producer is that they will be most times faced with prejudice so they should be ready to put in the work if they want to be taken seriously. They should learn about the industry before venturing into it. They should also try to create the change they want to see and build on those changes.
Her last word is that women in the entertainment industry should ignore the stones been thrown at them and use those stones to build their careers. This happens mostly because of the untrue notion that women in the entertainment industry are loose. “Our work is to create good movies, build our careers, build the movie industry and to change this ill notion of us and it is not a day task,” she said