Seven Questions with Ugonna Nwabueze and Jalen Young

Ugonna Nwabueze is the producer of Boo Hag or Shadow Man and Jalen Young is the screenwriter. When a career conjure woman messes up a banishment ritual for a client, she accidentally brings back the angry demon to her unsuspecting roommate.

1. Who are your film influencers?

Our greatest film influencer is life and the everyday people that are living it. People at the bus stop heading to work, the grocery store buying frozen meat, the kids at the park riding bikes, and the older people debating about “back in the day.” It’s mundane on the surface, but out of these commonplace moments…art emerges.

2. What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?

A tough aspect of filmmaking today is filtering out the noise. The digital, technological world that we live in has been wonderful in so many ways for filmmakers. For example, we can make incredible films from our phones! However, there are drawbacks: comparison is so much easier on social media, the trap of ego is more insidious… just focusing on the art when there are so many heavy distractions can be tough.

3. Best advice you’ve received as a filmmaker?

Bad advice received is to “use all feedback.” Feedback can be very helpful, however, incorporating all feedback without compromising one’s artistic vision can be difficult. Feedback from different people oftentimes conflict, and so being able to discern what feedback is in alignment with your “Why I’m telling this story” and “How I want to tell this story” is important.

4. What does it mean to you to be a Black filmmaker or to create films with black stories or characters.

Being a Black filmmaker means so much on a personal and artistic level. It’s such a blessing. Being Black shapes how we experience the world… the beauty and the cruelty. As Black filmmakers we get to pour those experiences out of us in beautiful meaningful ways that make people feel seen. What an honor.

5. What does it mean to you that your film is on Aspire TV and other platforms?

It’s incredible. When we began making this film, we had long discussions about who this story was about. Aspire TV’s audience is exactly who we wanted to reach with this story. To be able to screen Boo Hag at such a massive level is a blessing. We are so grateful.

6. Advice you would give the next gen following you?

Create outside of the box. Do not be afraid to be innovative in the way you approach storytelling. This industry landscape is constantly changing: be a part of ushering new change in the ways you feel called to.

7. Are there any inspirational films, articles or books that you would recommend to go deeper into the topics and themes in your film?

Watch Eve’s Bayou & read Zora Neale Hurston’s work.