Being creative is often a very lonely road.
Most times, the majority of people do not necessarily understand your perspective of life but nonetheless admire your result.
But even before this admiration, there is often a strong need to have a mentor help you unleash your full creative side.
Apply to be a mentee to some of Africa’s finest creatives from our platform.
Usifu Jalloh is a highly experienced, talented award winning performer and educator who has been working in arts education for over 20 years. His roots in multicultural Sierra Leone, and his long standing and close association with artists and audiences from a wide range of cultures, have lead him to develop a storytelling style which encompasses international languages, music, dance and story themes. He was born in Kamakwie in the Bombali District of northern Sierra Leone.
Usifu has a passion for motivating young people to educate themselves within the context of their culture. Along with Storytelling and music, he has established Maambena Fest through the Aruna Jalloh Foundation and National Storytelling Festival in Sierra Leone as the vehicles he uses to accomplish this laudable goal.
His production Africa’s Cowfoot and The Cowfoot Chronicles serves as a platform for promoting Sierra Leonean and African cultures as a whole by embodying them within the rich Oral heritages of his ancestry.
A keynote speaker at various UK Universities and often quoted in a variety of genre and publications including authors such as Frank Wynne (2006). He has co-written and co-published an epic play ‘Sweet Peter’ representing the experience of slavery, colonialism and war in Sierra Leone.
His latest film/documentary The Cowfoot Prince the film is a collaboration with director Bex Singleton and the National Film and Television School. His recent role in theatre includes the award winning play The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, at the Arcola Theatre, with acclaimed director Femi Elufowoju Jnr. He has performed at the Scottish International Storytelling festival and the ReImagined Storytelling festival in Kenya amongst others.
With extensive radio programs for BBC World Service as a judge for the African Play writers competition and BBC Radio 4 as a presenter and storyteller Usifu Jalloh paves the way for future Storytellers to emulate. He presented the successful radio program Pikin To Pikin Tok with the NGO Child to Child, designed for children in Sierra Leone addressing the issues of health, sanitation and teenage pregnancy. Usifu Jalloh has worked extensively globally, performing his stories and delivering workshops throughout the educational and entertainment sector. Countries include Argentina, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nigeria, India, Bahrain, Germany, Jordan, France, Italy, Spain, Peru, Colombia and Kenya.
Clients include the BBC, WHO and Raedex incorporating, NHS Trust Cambridgeshire and Peterbrough, Restless Development, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, British Council Sierra Leone.
A filmmaker and creative practitioner
Nick Asgill is a filmmaker and creative practitioner working in digital social communications. Born in Freetown, the London trained media producer returned home to Sierra Leone to set up a media & communications agency focused on skills and capacity development of young creative whilst producing social communications content for Government, NGO’s, INGO’s and private sector clients. At one time a troubled street teenager, Nick went from being in trouble with the police to an almost model student through channelling his energies to learn about the creative industries. Nick Asgill’s introduction to media started off as a total novice with no media experience and previously never even having held a camera before. Enrolling unto a BTEC National Diploma course the young refugee soon found a knack for the digital arts and within the first 6months gained employment with the college department making videos for the college and supporting with curriculum development. By the end of the course he was co-hosting the school’s talent show and was recognised and awarded as one of the Students of the Year 2006 by the Council of South London Principals at the House of Commons. His time at the University of Bedfordshire continued in the same trajectory as he was made course representative, class representative, hall warden and voted “Media Personality of the Year” & “Most Dedicated Student” in 2009. Branching into independent media work, Nick has production credits for ITV UK, Channel 4, MTV Base Africa and WD. After volunteering to work as an unpaid intern for the Sierra Leone High Commission in London he became interested in using the digital arts to support and accelerate growth and development on the African Continent. In 2011 Nick returned to the African continent after over a decade away and established a base and creative partnerships. Nick currently runs a digital media production agency in Freetown that provides professional and skills training opportunities for young people. The agency has delivered successful media campaigns for organisations like Unicef, UNDP, Save The Children, GoSL, SOS, GOAL, ACF, GEF, Solidaridad, WHO, FCC and many more. An activist and Pan African thinker, Nick also made a reputation for shooting music videos for popular artists from the UK, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, USA and Singapore. Nick Asgill is testimony to the mentorship of many notable individuals over a 20year period. Awarded Youth Ambassador by the Ministry of Youth Affairs in Sierra Leone, he is also one of the 50 Most Influential Youth. He now works with a number of multi-national partners to develop and expand the creative space in Sierra Leone, the Mano River Union, The ECOWAS and the African continent as a whole.
Pilar Cartró Benavides completed her Bachelor of Business Administration at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, then obtained a Master’s Degree from the Northern Film School in the UK specializing in Film Production.
Pilar currently runs the production company Pili Mili Films Ltd, based in Manchester. She has produced multiple short films and two digital shows that have screened in numerous international film festivals, including BAFTA and OSCAR qualifying ones, achieving awards and special mentions along the way. Her most recent films; “Teddy” was awarded funding after winning the Girls In Film fund sponsored by Dr Martens; and “Layla, At Last” awarded the Sharjah Art Foundation fund and shot in Spain and Morocco. Other success stories include: Swinton’s “Unearthed” awarded funding after winning the Challenge Alexa Competition with ARRI and DIRECTORS UK; Alexander’s “Léo” receiving a nomination at the Student Royal Television Society Awards and screening in renowned festivals such as Camerimage in Poland; and Baginskaite’s “Pink Pool” starring Mireia Oriol (Netflix’s “Alma” and “Hockey Girls”), selected into four Bafta qualifying festival among others.
Pilar is currently developing more short, serial and long format projects.
Pilar interests go beyond narrative film production. From a strong analytical background, she believes in the power of storytelling to effectively change and improve the development and growth of companies and brands. Pilar’s company creates brand and content strategy based on the notion that branded film content not only serves as a component of the Marketing Strategy but also motivates change and inspires culture beyond the brand itself.
Julian is a filmmaker, educator, and performer born and raised in Norfolk, VA before moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico. After a film internship in London in 2009 with LutiMedia, Julian realized this passion of his is a possible and attainable career. This inspired him to continue creating films and stage productions, producing dozens of films throughout his collegiate career at New Mexico State University before taking a seat in the director’s chair for his first short film Buffalo in 2014 starring Craig Tate (Twelve Years A Slave, Snowfall) about the Buffalo Soldiers premiering in the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.
Julian obtained a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Northern Film School in Leeds, UK, culminating with two short films, Léo has screened around the globe, winning multiple film festivals and was nominated for Best Post Graduate Film at the Royal Television Awards, and Beat Blue, A police drama all in rhyme starring Lana Young (Southpaw, Ambitions) featured at multiple Oscar-qualifying film festivals.
Julian has written, directed, and starred in a multiple award-winning phone-based web series produced by London based production company Story Island Productions, titled Bad JuJu, about a rapper navigating his career in New Mexico. Most recently his film Layla, At Last, funded by the Sharjah Art Foundation shot in Spain and Morocco. When he is not leading a film set, Julian is leading a classroom as a professor. Julian is now working towards his PhD from the University of East London producing films using rap as the main storytelling instrument.