Bola Ogun: AT&T Film Awards Emerging Filmmaker


A couple of weeks ago, Submittable featured a conversation with Cameo Wood, one of the winners of an emerging filmmaker prize in the 2018 AT&T Film Awards. Bola Ogun shared the title with Cameo Wood, and this week she speaks to her experience winning a prize through the AT&T Film Awards and attending AT&T SHAPE.

How did you discover the AT&T Film Awards?

I belong to a few filmmakers groups and when the AT&T Shape Film Awards was open for submissions several groups posted about it. We love sharing information with each other!

Filmmakers Ava Duvernay and Bola Ogun sitting on stage with At&T Mobility CMO David Christopher

Filmmakers Ava Duvernay and Bola Ogun sitting on stage with At&T Mobility CMO David Christopher

How would you describe your experience at SHAPE last summer?

I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know how many people outside of the filmmaking industry knew about the event or what else would be a part of it. It was HUGE! I really liked that film and tech were mixed together, introducing new people to both sides. Loved the games, food, and drinks and at one point there was an electric slide.

What was the mentoring session with Ava DuVernay like?

We each were able to ask Ava specific questions and she gave us tailor-made advice.  I definitely took what she said to heart, stayed the course on making new content, and continued to build the filmmaking communities I have. She was very generous and inspiring—everything you see on her social media!

Did you have a chance to connect with your fellow winners of the Emerging Filmmaker Award, Cameo Wood and Jonah Ansell?

How’s this for a small world? I knew both of them already! Cameo’s Real Artists has played at several film festivals with my first short film The Water Phoenix. She invited me to the Kodak Film Awards last year and it was a blast! And Jonah and I helped mutual friends on a short film years ago. It was fun to see that not only are we both directing now, but we’ve ended up making films that have given us such an awesome opportunity.

What advice would you give emerging filmmakers about submitting to contests?

Once you’ve submitted don’t wait to know if you got in or not before planning your next project. The best thing you can do is keep yourself busy! With each project you learn new skills and gain more experience, raising your chance to make it to the top next time.

Why should emerging filmmakers participate in a creative challenge like the AT&T Film Awards?

AT&T Film Awards is a really cool platform to get your work out there and visible. Meeting an established high profile director to get great career advice was worth it alone. And I know that filmmakers who shot on the Warner Brothers lot with AT&T Create-a-thon also came out with work they were proud of—they were part of challenge that pushed them to make their project.

How has winning a prize from the AT&T Film Awards affected your career?

After winning the AT&T Film Awards, I signed with an agency, went out to more meetings, and had the pleasure of being able to say “I’m an award-winning filmmaker.” It was a confidence boost that lead to multiple opportunities, and now I’m headed into the Warner Brothers Directors’ Workshop!



Interested in attending AT&T SHAPE in Los Angeles June 22-23? Newly announced speaking sessions and features include:

  • AT&T Film Awards Finalists with Cathy Yan: Award-winning filmmaker Cathy Yan, upcoming director of Birds of Prey, will appear on the SHAPE stage as a guest speaker at the AT&T Film Awards finals. She’ll talk about her experiences in the industry, from winning big at Sundance to becoming the first Asian woman to direct a superhero film.
  • Evolving Music & Live Event Experiences with Danny Keens & shallu: Head of Content at NextVR, Danny Keens, will appear on the SHAPE stage with top headlining, indie electronic artist, shallou, to talk about how artists embrace technologies like VR and AR to engage fans and deepen their experience.
  • Networking Lounge: Make new connections at SHAPE. Sign up on the networking platform. Complete your profile and start matching with other creators, developers and influencers attending SHAPE. Schedule 1:1 meetings at the event and jump-start your collaboration.

Waive the registration fee with code SHAPEMITTABLE. Register here today!

This announcement was sponsored by Submittable partner AT&T SHAPE. Interested in more creative calls and opportunities? Sign up for our creative opportunities email.

Anna Zumbahlen

Anna Zumbahlen lives in Missoula, where she works behind the scenes at Submittable, teaches poetry in the schools, and edits Carve, a quarterly literary magazine.