Twenty-Six year old Sheila Nortley is currently making waves in the UK film industry with her soon-to-be released film Zion which stars Ashley Walters and Aml Ameen. But don’t be amazed to know that the young film producer has been around for many years strengthening her talents and gracing fans with her unique way of story telling. Her professional journey started back in 2003 when she shot the short film Eddie’s Bar, directed by her long time friend, Ryan Samuda, and since then she’s produced and been involved with many short films and music videos. In 2009 her work was nationally recognized when she won Best Film at the BFM Awards for her neo-noir short film The Hydra. Now Sheila is freelancing and working alongside many production companies, but her work speaks for itself.
With the release of Zionin the horizon, Sheila recalls how she started her career… ‘I’ve been a story teller for as long as I can remember, so I just fell into it, and I jumped into it head first, Lord knows I’m not a talker, but if there’s something I want to do I do it…and I have a firm belief in God’. Strong words from the quiet introverted film maker, her determination has brought her to this recognizable stage in such a short time, it has also lead her in the right paths to meet people who are helping her in achieving her dreams.
Her love film Zionstars two of the UK’s talented young actors, Aml Ameen and Ashley Walters. Having worked with Aml on several occasions in some of her previous work, including The Pick Up, Drink, Drugs & KFC, The Code and Special Delivery, it was easy for Sheila to get him to join the crew and support her vision. Ashley’s involvement, on the other hand, Sheila saw as a second chance since she missed out on an opportunity to work with him back in 2009, and with her being a fan of his previous work, it was inevitable for the two to get together on a project, so after giving him a call, and explaining her vision, Ashley agreed to join the team.
Being in a part of the film industry, which can be considered as a niche, Sheila has been able to stand her ground, but that’s not to say she didn’t face overwhelming challenges, her style is very risqué and like any other young person trying to make a stand, acceptance from peers is very important. Sheila admits that she holds a little fear in the release of Zion, hoping that people will see the film for what it really is, it’s different from the norm and is not suppose to be rhetorical, but rather tell a smooth love story. Regardless of negative opinions, Sheila believes that with the smooth sailing through the production of the film and the support she’s had thus far, the film will speak for its self and her talents will shine through it.
Sheila’s career has accelerated and as she grows her experiences and the things she’s learnt, she aims to share with others. She is going to be on the panel at the Summer Edition of the I’mPOSSIBLE event on June 6th. Sheila talks about why she decided to join and reflects on what she is looking forward to… ‘I just love the theme, the positivity of the event… it’s an opportunity to relax and speak to some really interesting and inspirational women…’ Being in the position she is in now, Sheila freely gives advice to young, aspiring film makers, she believes in being open, and not allowing negative experiences put you off your journey, revaluate and remind yourself why you do what you do and what you hope to achieve, this helps to keep you focused. Staying motivated comes from staying true to the art, work hard and treat everyone you work with, with respect.
Sheila has recently become a Producer at Kingdom Entertainment Group which is keeping her busy, she is able to do what she loves and stay true to who she is, we live in a very diverse society and in her industry, not everything you do will cater to all, so her journey and her career are a reflection of what she feels diversity is… ‘diversity is a concept of different elements of the same thing, complimenting each other, even though that contrast each other, creating a beautiful spectrum of opportunity, creativity, education and knowledge…’
We wish Sheila the best of luck in the future.
Story by Margaretta Patterson-Allotey