Meet CAMpreneur, Writer, Producer, Actress – Ms. SAHNDRA FON DUFE
Meet CAMpreneur, Writer, Producer, Actress, Ms. Sahndra Fon Dufe!
A brief bio about yourself?
Thank you very much for this interview. I appreciate it.
I am Sahndra Fon Dufe, 23 years old. I love people, I love life. I am an actress, writer, and producer and a part of God’s love, here to contribute positively to the society in which I find myself. I believe in love, learning and growth and I live my life by these models.
I am also the CEO of African Pictures International, an indie film house here in Los Angeles. I am from Cameroon.
Why the choice of career? Inspiration?
I love this career because it gives me the opportunity to live and experience different realities and then come back to myself when it’s all over. My career puts me in the limelight and thus I have access to a lot of people. Through this, I can show love, kindness and teach lessons learnt. I can touch peoples’ hearts and leave them inspired thus provoking their senses of thought and growth. Through my career, I can make the world a better place, which is all I seek to do.
I am inspired by many things; people who made it in life out of thin air, with nothing to work with, parents who raise their children and sacrifice all they have to make sure their children make it. I am inspired by volunteers who leave their countries and go to far far poorer countries to help, for the sake of humanity, I am inspired by children…their beauty, their innocence, their genuineness and their hospitality. I think the world as a lot to learn from children. I also inspired by artists who stand up there in spite of our judgments and give us breath-taking performances. Its amazing. Talent inspires me. The earth inspires me. The little butterflies, the trees, the sea… everything.
You have been busy this year. Please give an overview about your current projects
This year has been fruitful. I am grateful and thankful to all those who spread good word about my work to producers and directors. I have acted in two movies so far: Unconditional Love, One Night in Vegas and I’m set to act in another one this July called Triumph of the Millennium.
My movie Sisters will start shooting this August here in Los Angeles. I also did a national commercial for American Cancer Society with Jeri Ryan. It’s called The Lodging.
Sisters? What is it about?
Sisters is a film that talks about the defects of silence among families. Lack of communication between us is a silent killer that sometimes has far-reaching consequences. It is a movie that teaches us to make a choice instead of playing the victim.
Filming begins August 2013 in Los Angeles. The movie is being produced by my self and Nigerian actress Jennifer Oguzie (actress from Last Flight to Abuja). It will stand out because of the unique characters we have. Expect beautiful cinematography and a compelling story. Movie premier is scheduled this December in Cameroon and Nigeria.
Don’t worry we will give you the first interview when we are done filming. Check out our Facebook page for more information.
An Overview about Africa Pictures International (?? your production company?) I hope i didn’t get that wrong!
NAH, you’re fine.lol. African Pictures International is a production company that focuses on telling stories from a new point of view. We only do films that have a meaning and a message. Most of team is young because we believe that age is just a number.
A percentage of the sales of all our projects go to a charity that actively combats the problems discussed in the film. This is how African Pictures gives back to the community.
We specialize in movies, workshops commercials, PSA s and animations (Our -First animation is in development for 2015: The Adventures of Abobo).
Some of Our films in development include Yefon, The Choice and a few others. We co-organized the Know Your Craft International workshop last year in Cameroon, in association with the American Embassy, Penjo Entertainment and Mypassionmylife. My company is open to partnerships as well. Fore more information, you can go to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/africanpicturesinternational.
For any questions/ inquiries, you can shoot us a message on Facebook. You can also check out our website at www.africanpictures.org
Tell us about the last two films you just finished filming. How did you land these roles?
The first was ‘’One Night In Vegas’’, a film produced by Koby Maxwell, starring Jimmy Jean Louis, Michael Blackson, Van Vicker, Yvonne Nelson, John Dumelo, Sarodj Bertin, and Sahndra Fon Dufe. The movie is directed by John Uche.
The film talks about James Foster, a man at a crossroads with himself and his marriage. Coming out on top after a high profile case with a band of thugs; James has been sober for 18 months. He decides a trip to Vegas with his wife Genie would be a good way to rekindle their relationship as well as an opportunity to employ his bodyguard friend, Nick, a few more days as a holiday “thank you” for their security in the case.One night in Vegas changes everything! Friends collide! Passions soar! And mistakes that last a lifetime happen! James learns the hard way never to gamble with love!
I play Mildred, Van Vicker’s sick ex wife who is dying of cancer. Van (Tony) is good friends with John (James), and leads James into temptation. Van (Tony) also treats his wife (me/ Mildred) very bad and abandons her when she is diagnosed and about to go into chemo.
My character only appears twice in the movie but is the backbone to the story as it is my situation that causes a realization at the end that men should take responsibility.
The movie comes out this year, I’m thinking August or September. When there s a date, I’ll put it up on my Fan page.The film has a FB page. Its One Night in Vegas the movie , and the website is www.onenightinvegasmovie.com
I landed the role of Mildred by sending in a video audition in the form of a reel. I had met the producer Koby Maxwell in 2012 at the Pan African Film Festival in L.A where his movie Paparazzi was screening, so we talked a little and became friends over time. When this project came, they were looking for a perfect Mildred and Koby told me about it. Even though we were friends and he wanted me to play the role, competition was stiff. There was the issue that I looked young; I would have to cut my hair and so much other stuff.
The director had never met me as well as was a little cautious of my involvement, because of my age. Eventually I took the bull by the horns and sent in my audition. I think that was when they were sure it was me they wanted and BAM next thing I know contracts are being signed, and I’m on the plane to shoot.
The next film is called ‘Unconditional Love’. It was shot in April 2013, starring, Sahndra Fon Dufe, John Dumelo, Fatima M Cisse, Pridine Fru, Abi Cuba. The movie is produced by Princess Mankah. Its a story about a Christian girl Kwuni who falls in love with a celebrity and all the obstacles they go through, and finally overcome, because their love is unconditional. It is also about her cousin Alicia who strays from God and ends up frustrated. When she finally turns back to God, her life is complete.
I play Kwuni, the lead character. It was very interesting playing this character as she is more plain that my usual self, and more ‘’religious’’ in the worldly sense of the word. I had to learn long prayers and quote them word for word; at some point it was like Sweet Lord, I am sure you have a headache. Lol. Just kidding. What I mean is, I have a different way of praying, It’s more quiet, reflective and filled with a lot of meditation. Kwuni is sweet loving and understanding. She works with animals at an animal shelter. I definitely had to feed dogs and all that good stuff. I love animals so it was really fun for me playing with these little cute doggies.I don’t yet know when the film will be out but I will inform you on my web page/ Fan page.
I remember Koby talked to Princess Mankah about me when I was still in LA. She was looking for a Cameroonian actress for the lead role in her movie and Koby was sure that I would cut it. So when I came into town for One Night in Vegas, I met with her. She liked me and that was it. A month after, I was on the plane coming back to the East coast to film.
Any exiting stories from the movie sets? Spill the beans..lol!
Hahaha no be me go spill the beans oo. Abeg! But I’ll tell you this: African film sets are VERY VERY DRAMATIC. LOL. Temperaments are tested, learning to keep a cool head and focus on your craft is very key and most of all being chilled with every one and polite always helps; ie having a good attitude. I will leave it at that.
From a positive side, I loved working with all the actors I met especially Van and John. I think they are funny and cool to be around. I must also say after this experience, I learnt a new slang: charle! Haha. I think Yvonne and John say that after every second.
Tell us about the short film project you are working on this summer?
(Not the summer, a few months later) , but its called ‘’The Voice over the phone’’. It is a short film based on a true story (mine). I will not be acting in it, only producing because I am still very emotionally disturbed by these events. Most people don’t know that as recently as one month ago when I returned from the East coast filming Unconditional Love, I suffered from a severe stalking case where my life and safety was threatened, and my apartment broken into. The LAPD are still investing the case now, but I am now safe.
When you watch the film, you should have an idea of what I went through. It was so surreal and movie -like that I said ‘’I’ll make it into a movie’’, and there we go.
COMING TO YOU SOON. For now we have a Facebook Page called
I gather you are also an aspiring author. What is the 411?
Yes ooo, lol. I’m not aspiring o. Hahaha. Actually besides the fact that I was VERY talkative as child, writing was something I was very good at, with 10 unpublished books at the age of 5. All those who went to boarding school with me will tell you that I spent all my time in class writing. I was always getting called out for doing something else in class, (writing a novel) lool, and all my books used to get stolen and read by a few next thing I know its in another school. Lol. Fun memories (I miss Lourdes)
But back to your question, YES, I have a novel coming out in October. My manager is trying to have me release it before but we’ll see how it goes. Its basically the novel of YEFON. I get to tell the story in details and express my self without the limits of a screenplay.
What is the book about?
The book is about the breaking away from herd consciousness. It is about becoming your own person and following your dream. It’s about becoming a leader. No great man was born out of nonchalance. They all had trials and tribulations and fought through them. When they overcame these trials, they were able to help their communities, their countries and even the world.
My heart goes out to Amelia Earhart, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and all these other great rulers that lived, people that made a change.
Yes a lot, and before I go into the stories of all the extra ordinary women that I studied and did research on to get my thesis, I must start from home.
My mother is a very well rounded woman. In spite of the fact that she married young, (when she was in high school) she didn’t end there. She pursued her education right up to a PHD, ran a business, worked at her job (teacher), pursued her political career while being an amazing wife and mother to my brothers and I and the rest of her adopted children.
This very easily taught me that a woman doesn’t have to decide between her career and her family. There is room for both. This is the mentality I had when writing the story of Yefon. This young girl was tired of a society that put her in second place; a society that demanded that she be only a wife and mother and denied her the right to an education. She wanted more; just like a 20 year old me in Cameroon wanted more than what was ‘’accepted’’.
These are some of the initial burning factors that ignited my spirit.
Other real life heroines and inspirations of mine include the true-life stories of millions of women around the world including but not limited to: my personal life story, The Stoning of Amina Lawal (Nigeria), Tererai Trent’s strive for education (Zimbabwe),The inspiring life of Wangari Maathai (Kenya 1940- 2011), Freidoune Sahebjam’s 1900 book ‘La femme Lapidee” and its movie version ‘The Stoning of Soroya M”, Princess Sultana (Princess: A true Story of Life behind the veil in Saudi Arabia, ) the words of all Ghadur (Kirkuk),The story of Huda Ahmed (Iraq 2008), Reports on African Womens’ Battle for Equality by Gumisai Matume, The Story od Irene Godonou in Cotonou, Benin , The Voices given to Womens’ Grievances by Catherine Beecher (1800- 1878), Sarah J Hale (1788- 1879) in the USA. The story of Judith Sargent Murray (Boston, USA)
We have a Facebook page too: YEFON. You will hear more about it as time unravels. (Woof my fingers hurt from all this typing. Lol)
I had a connection with a previous project of yours since we share the same name. Please any updates on “Yefon” The movie?
Thank you for this question. You were there with me, you saw me rise, you saw me fall, and you saw me rise again. After we didn’t raise our goal on Kickstarter last year (we raised over 40,000 out of 50,000) we continued to explore other avenues.
Projects such as this are not rushed. Looking at successful international movies like Hotel Rwanda, Slum dog millionaire or Beasts of the Southern wild, you realize that these projects took time to happen. Some 3 years, some 5, some even eight years. Raising millions of dollars is not child’s play. It entails hard work, dedication and BAM, one day when all is right, you will do it.
I would not compromise anything to do the film just to do it, or just because time is running out. I take my time because I have already worked so hard to make sure the quality and story is right. Money has been spent, intellectual resources used. I cannot now compromise this quality or my standards just because.
So, I will only do it when everything including budget and finances are right. I will do it when the time is right and everything is ready to make it manifest into the kind of project it was initially meant to be.
I take my time. It was supposed to be released last year but we did not end up shooting the film. As I speak to you, most of my time is spent in meetings pitching to investors and Government organizations. We are in discussions with major investors and distribution houses and until everything is final, I cannot release their names or involvement as this point. (But just for you, Focus Features is on the loop J)
To conclude, the film WILL happen. It is a matter of time. It may be as soon as next April, who knows? Let’s continue to hope for the best! Meanwhile, I also put energy into smaller projects with lower budgets. I am working on a few that you will hear about in this interview.
The novel however, will be launched this October (precisely on my birthday 🙂 Oct 28, as part or the start of the franchise. More information will be released to you once all contractual obligations have been fulfilled.
There will be a website with information on the book. I have partnered with a best selling author to do this book. More info coming soon to my fan page and website.
On Fashion, What is your style? Who are your fav Cameroonian designers?
Fashion, My style is chaos. I like to tell my story in my outfits J My favorite designer is T’neeya. She made me one of the most glam pieces I own. I also love Afroshic. Her clothes are simple and trendy. I own a lot of her pieces. Ego glam is also one of my favorites for men’s clothes. Every single person I know here keeps asking me where he or she can get more of the shirts.
I am also very open to trying new lines, as I am yet to continue exploring other designers.
Few words for our upcoming and coming Camer designers?
Who am I to advice? But If can tell you any thing, it would be that be proud of how far you have come and don’t stop shining. The sky is your limit.
Any upcoming scheduled events?
Yes, this month New Filmmakers invited me (myself and the two other subjects) from the Stanford documentary ‘’Role Play’’ directed by Adam Smith.
There is also a possibility that Know Your Craft workshop will hold again this December, but we will confirm with you on our Facebook Page in due time. Also, watch out for the premiere of The choice in Nigeria and Cameroon.
What are the challenges of being an African Actress in USA?
I think the challenges would depend on who you are and where you are going as well as how you see life. For me I honestly don’t look at anything as a challenge. Every thing about me makes ME who I am, a unique being including life experiences.
I know my answer in a little disappointing.
To conclude summarize your career dreams and aspirations?
My career vision is simple; a continuous ability to create content that gives back to the people. To be remembered when I am gone as a person who stood for love and to spread positive messages that will enlighten the public.
Thank you very much for this interview. I look forward to more, and I wish you and all the readers a wonderful day.
You can follow me on Twitter @sahndrafondufe.
Thumbs up Sahndra…Keep doing what you do. Thanks for flying the Green-Red-Yellow flag high..
On that note, Have a nice weekend people!