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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.

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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.

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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 said.

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 arts.

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 school.

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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.

See the trailer for Renouncing Angelica:

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