Filmmaking student John Chuka graduated from the New York Film Academy with the goal of revolutionizing the African film industry. Thus far, John is on the right track with his short film, The Fetus, winning Best Short Film/Trailer and Best Original Score/Soundtrack at the Nollywood and African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) – otherwise known as the African Oscars. Two other NYFA alumni, Jason Mohan and Jessica Garza, who contributed to the making of the film’s theme song, were also on hand to receive the awards at the NAFCA Ceremony in Washington D.C.
The Fetus is about Catalina, a religious undocumented teenage immigrant, who worked at a nursery in Arizona, but relocates to California as a result of her sexual abuse experience that left her pregnant. Now, working in a Californian sweatshop, trying to climb out of her horrible living conditions, Catalina’s destiny unfolds as she struggles with immigration laws, religious dogmas, abortion laws, and the fetus in her womb. “The film cuts across a wide range of hot topic social issues – immigration, abortion, and religion,” says John Chuka. “Being an immigrant that went through all kinds of hoops to get to where I am today, I’m hoping that somebody will watch my film and decide to do things a little bit differently in regards to how immigrants are treated around the world.”
John is originally from Nigeria. After acquiring a business degree, he tried his hand at a few businesses, but realized that he didn’t quite have a product. While living in the United States, it dawned on him that he comes from a country with an emerging film industry. While at the time he understood business, he did not know film. It was at this point John decided to attend the New York Film Academy. “Considering the fact that I wasn’t going back to school to acquire just a degree, but a product, I chose NYFA because of its hands-on approach to teaching filmmaking. And moreover, NYFA is highly recognized as a credible film school in my country of origin, Nigeria.”
With the success of his short film under his belt, John is working diligently to start a film production company that will generate and develop African story ideas into screenplays, transform the screenplays into films, and ultimately distribute the films to the worldwide African films enthusiasts.