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MetFilm School awards first Black Student of Talent Scholarship

By Danny Kelly

11 October 2021

Autumn has well and truly arrived, meaning hot drinks, cosy jumpers, and many new faces on campus! Amongst our new batch of postgraduate students at MetFilm School is 25-year old London-based filmmaker Chinaza Onyechi who we’re proud to announce as the first recipient of our Black Student of Talent scholarship.

Named in honour of one of our graduates who tragically passed in 2019, the Dan Demissie Voices That Matter Scholarship for a Black Student of Talent covers full tuition fees for the selected programme of study, either at undergraduate or postgraduate level, and is assessed based on financial need as well as talent and achievement. The Scholarship aims to support the next generation of black filmmakers, recognising the importance of accessibility and equality within the screen industry.

Speaking about the prize, Chinaza said: “It’s a huge, huge deal. I couldn’t believe it, I was blown away when I heard that I was the recipient, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t have afforded to attend the school, not right now anyway. I don’t come from a wealthy background; I am really grateful.”

Listen to Chinaza’s interview discuss the Scholarship on BBC’s Women’s Hour around the 22:30 mark here.

First arrivals at Ealing Studios for postgraduate induction day, Oct 2021

Here’s a bit more on Chinaza and her creative journey to MetFilm School…

Meet Chinaza Onyechi

Chinaza’s creative roots go all the way back to the school playground where she had her own ‘side hustle’ designing graphics for other pupils’ social media profiles. Over the following years, she began exploring content creation, volunteered for two years at Reprezent Radio 107.3FM and attended Albany Theatre’s media production summer school.

Like many children of Nigerian parents, Chinaza was encouraged to consider a traditional career in law, medicine, or engineering. However, none of those professions were really for her. She won a local scholarship to support her higher education and decided to do a history degree with the University of Southampton, one which crucially included black history in its programme.

Changing Direction

When Chinaza graduated she tried to carve out a career as a freelancer, offering services in photography, videography and graphic design. She also worked in advertising and events and then reluctantly started teacher training with TeachFirst.

She said: “I have so much respect for teachers. Teaching is incredibly hard work. I worked in a secondary school, and it was very intense. It’s a job that demands so much from you, and much of your free time. Your heart has to be in it.”

Improving Diversity

Chinaza started up Daughter House during her second year at university whilst serving as the creative director of a society on campus. She headed their creative team creating promotional content and organising events. She had the strong impression that she would go on to continue creating content for the screen industries and wished to help improve diversity and inclusion. Daughter House was birthed through this desire and financial support from TEDxPeckham.’

After dropping out of teacher training, Chinaza secured a part-time job with a film company and that experience galvanised her intent to work in the screen industries, but she knew that she needed professional training.

“I am self-taught, but there is only so much you can get from YouTube. I want to learn from professionals who’ve had years of experience, to make contacts and to network.”

Future Aspirations

Chinaza has chosen to study our MA Post Production to further develop her creative skills in the areas of editing, visual effects, colour grading, and  sound.

Discussing her goals for the future, she said: “When I graduate from MetFilm School I want to secure a job in the industry. I’d love to work in post production on a Marvel or Christopher Nolan film. Working on something with Beyònce would be the dream.”

  • Explore more of Chinaza’s work, and our postgraduate courses at MetFilm School here.
  • 2022 entries for MetFilm School’s Dan Demissie Voices That Matter Scholarship for a Black Student of Talent open on Wed 1 Dec 2021. Find out more.