Motion Pictures & Television Grad Temi Ojo Makes Waves on the Film Festival Circuit
Temi Ojo made the decision to leave behind his successful career as a Silicon Valley engineer to
pursue a career as a filmmaker and entrepreneur. With his latest short film gaining attention at
independent film festivals worldwide and a production company to his credit, it looks like his
choice is paying off.
Although he enjoyed his job as an engineer, Temi said that seeing his newborn nephew gave him a
new perspective on life and inspired him to pursue his passion for filmmaking. He said that in a
corporate environment, there are so many restrictions.
"I felt like I had so much more creativity than could be expressed in that company," he said of
his engineering job. Watching his sister go through the process of childbirth made him realize that
he had much more to share with his family and future generations to come.
His recent short film
Renouncing Angelica has been featured in several film festivals nationally and
internationally and continues to receive acclaim for its finely crafted story and underlying
themes. Grabbing Best Short Film honors in the ION International Film Festival and the Festival
Director's Award at the Gold Lion Film Festival, the film is gaining great exposure.
The success has reaffirmed Temi's choice to follow his dream of filmmaking. He said that the
attention felt good, because the film was not easy to make. Temi wrote the script, and directed and
produced the film. "It's a very personal story, and I wanted to tell it in a personal way," he
In addition to writing, directing and producing his own films, Temi runs Mariveles Ojo, a film
production company, with his partner Vanessa Mariveles. They're currently producing a new short
film, as well as working with local businesses on innovative film and marketing projects.
While people are tuning out traditional marketing messages, Temi said that there are other
opportunities for incorporating brand messaging into entertainment. Rather than using techniques
like product placement, films can feature the values of corporate sponsors. BNP Parabas sponsored
Renouncing Angelica, a non-profit project dedicated to raising awareness about bone marrow
programs, and the film features values championed by the firm – humanitarianism, filmmaking and the
Temi graduated from Academy of Art University with an MFA in Directing from the School of Motion
Pictures & Television and an MBA in Marketing & Entrepreneurship from Santa Clara
University. He said that the Academy has not only helped him to reach his goals up to this point,
but that it's still helping him to succeed through the lessons and connections he gained while in
When asked which Academy of Art University instructor was most influential for him, Temi said
that all of his instructors were great, but two really impacted him – Diane Baker and Jack Isgro.
He said that Jack provided him with insight on how to approach the filmmaking industry, while Diane
helped him by providing honest feedback and networking advice. "Her guidance was very importing in
shaping me as an artist and making connections in the industry."
He said that his time at the Academy prepared him for his future in filmmaking, but it also
helped him to learn more about himself. "You're not in school just to get an education, but also to
reveal more of your own character," he said.
Temi urged students to look inward to make the most of their time in school. "One of the most
important things in school, as well as life, is to understand yourself – what inspires you." He
said that if you channel what is important to you into your art, people will respond.
He recommended that students and graduates utilize the wealth of Academy of Art University
resources available to them. He said that the social and academic resources at the Academy were a
great way to connect, but that students should also maintain a relationship with the school once
they graduate. "There is a community of vibrant artists who are eager to work," he said.