NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?
Anelisa Nzungu: It means a lot to me. I’m really excited and proud of myself . The ISC has been running for 7 years which means they’ve been dealing with talented and experienced writers for a long time. The fact that they considered my work as a fresh writer means so much to me.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?
Anelisa Nzungu The Title of my story is ‘Can you see the Rainbow’ . It’s about a young adult girl who has been in love with her male best friend for years. After finally telling him how she feels he confesses to her that he is gay which is a heartbreaking shock for her. The story is about the girl learning to understand others and accepting them for who they are, ultimately learning to accept herself and letting go of past experiences that have been holding her back.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about yourself and your artistic talents?
Anelisa Nzungu About myself? Well… I’m a complicated adult trapped in the souls of an 18 year old. I think I’m really complex, there are many sides to me. Strong but vulnerable in some ways. Really protective of myself but I also love adventure and having fun. I consider myself still young at heart.
Artistically I majored in acting but started learning other art forms like singing and dance. I graduated in musical theater but writing has always been a part of me since I was a teenager.
NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?
I’ve written a feature which I didn’t continue with, it was my first feature attempt and I know, usually, your first story is a learning process. I’ve written a second feature which is like a diary of an awkward teenage girl, it’s a comedy. I decided to not do anything about it because I guess I couldn’t decide if it was good enough or not. I wrote a pilot for a series which became a short film I produced for a writing and film course I took online. The short talks a lot about struggling with mental health issues. The short is on YouTube. Last year I wrote a super short to bring awareness about the abduction of young children and women in my country.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
Anelisa Nzungu I think I only have two. I’m still finding myself as a professional writer so I haven’t worked on any other projects besides the two short films I’ve produced and directed by myself with the help of friends. One is already on YouTube and the other is still in the editing phase, it was shot last year in November. It’s a super-short, about 5 minutes in total.
NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?
Anelisa Nzungu I always write where inspiration and my intuition leads me. But I want to write work that addresses issues that I’m passionate about namely mental health and minority communities. I actually also want to write work that presents black lives in relatable circumstances, black leads as superheroes, as love interests, as royalty and peace makers. The total opposite of the narrative Hollywood seems to be portraying about the lives of black individuals.
NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Anelisa Nzungu Motivation. Why is my character doing the things they are doing? What influences or influenced them? Is there something they are trying to achieve?
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Anelisa Nzungu I’m currently working on my third feature attempt which I don’t want to talk about because I don’t wanna jinx it.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Anelisa Nzungu Yes, I try to keep some of my artist interests alive as much as possible. Like maybe opting for Zumba instead of an actual work out. Haha!
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?
Anelisa Nzungu Learn the tricks of the trade as much as you can. Passion and talent are important but I think actually learning the art of storytelling will help differentiate you from everyone else trying to be a writer/filmmaker.