After living in London and Nigeria, Michelle travelled to the United States to study Communications (specializing in Visual Media) at the American University in Washington, D.C. While there, she decided to put her passion into action, by making several short films, including her first 16mm short film, Sheltered. Once she achieved a Bachelor’s Degree, she returned to Nigeria to pursue her dream of becoming a film director.
2007 was a year of numerous achievements for Michelle. She worked as Associate Producer on a hit M-Net TV show, Moments with Mo, which is broadcast on Africa’s digital satellite DSTV. Shortly following this accomplishment, Michelle produced the award-winning music video “Greenland” for well-known artist/photographer TY Bello.
In light of these successes, Michelle formed Blu Star Entertainment Limited, an entertainment company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Under the umbrella of Blu Star Entertainment, the first edition of The Film Directory, a publication listing Nigerian filmmakers and companies in the industry, was launched in September 2007 at the Abuja Film Festival. It was supported by several government agencies, including the Nigerian Film Corporation and the National Film and Video Censors Board.
Michelle produced her first directional feature film Small Boy in 2007 and became an instant success. Out of 400 films, the picture was nominated for two awards—the Heineken Red Star Award for Innovation in Film and the Target Filmmaker Award for Most Inspirational Film—at the 2008 American Black Film Festival in Los Angeles. The following year in Nigeria, Small Boy won two Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Young Child Actor.
To further refine her craft, Michelle returned to the United States and earned a Master’s Degree in Communications, specializing in Film Directing, at Regent University. After graduating in December 2011, she was well equipped to produce and direct her second feature film in Lagos entitled Flower Girl. The movie was released in February 2013, hitting number one in cinemas across Nigeria. It was subsequently released in Ghana, where there was an amazing response from fans. Flower Girl had its U.S. premiere at the 2013 Hollywood Black Film Festival in Los Angeles. Shortly after, the film opened in three of the biggest United Kingdom cinema chains: the Odeon, Vue and Cineworld. This movie made her the first female Nigerian director to have had a UK theatrical release.
Since its release, Flower Girl has won eight awards, including Best African Film, Favorite Nollywood Film, and ten additional nominations. It has also been screened in Los Angeles, Toronto, Aberdeen and Paris.
Michelle was personally awarded the prestigious and much coveted Trailblazer Award at the 2014 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards in Lagos, Nigeria. The judges stated that the award was presented for her commitment and demonstrated talent, versatility and potential for cutting-edge approaches to African cinema. Currently, Michelle is developing her third feature film, which is set for production in 2016.