Meet Alison Guessou
Aries enthusiast. Always creating.
I took the leap
I first took the leap into film in 2016 and worked on several film sets. It was at a time when I had just left my full-time job as a project manager. I took this time to explore the film industry and get an understanding of where my strengths could fit in. This was basically my film school. Even though I had the opportunity to work on other sets, the opportunities were slim and also infrequent. I felt like I was not getting the full breadth of experience in producing, so I decided to create my own content.
I reached out to the contacts I had in the film industry and gained mentors through that process. I watched videos on YouTube and other free sources provided by the library to help fill in as many of the gaps of knowledge as I could. With each of my films, I make an attempt to focus on a learning aspect that I wanted to expand on. And I do believe it is an ongoing learning process.
There are still a few areas where I need to grow, especially when it comes to the technical aspect of filmmaking. I still rely on the crew who are able to provide the expertise, but in my opinion it would be helpful when working with these individuals of different skills, that I am able to have the conversations that can help enhance the film.
Life is about creating yourself
The quote I like to live by is “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself” which is a prefect mantra about being the owner of your own destiny. And I always like to remind myself that I would rather live with no regrets than look back and think “what if.”
Pushing through self doubt
There are times when I go through self-doubt and the famous “imposter syndrome” because I haven’t taken the traditional route as most people in my field have. However, to push through I look back at the work I have created and realize there is something special. And hearing from other filmmakers and film festivals, validates the work I have been doing.
I feel it’s important that women honor their essential selves because we are insightful in what we do. We only have one life, and I believe in the importance of making the most of it.
1. Panel hosted by @spnncommunity to discuss the future of Black Film in Minnesota.
2. From the set of HAPPILY MARRIED AFTER
My song is…
anything by Beyoncé – currently
“Before I let go”
More About Alison
As a filmmaker in Minnesota, the ability to find homegrown diverse content is slim. The same would apply to having the ability to work with diverse cast and crew on film sets. As a black woman it is even more difficult to find stories and films that reflect me. With this lack of diversity, having people on set who are skilled in hair and make-up for black women is rare because there hasn’t been a huge enough demand for it. At the same time, not a lot of people of color can afford to volunteer their time for meals and credit due to other obligations and therefore tend to lose out on the ability to gain exposure.
One of the primary objectives for my journey into producing and directing is to provide these missing opportunities. My goal in film is to see characters that reflect the diversity of our community. If we are not put in a position to help foster that, there will be a lot of diverse talent lacking the opportunity to share their skills with the broader industry. I also believe that stories are more authentic when told by people who have lived the experiences, versus people who are on the outside looking in. Fostering that ability to collaborate will help bring the core voice, especially that of black women, back into film.
- In the Village: Alison Guessou
- Djini Productions
- Djini Productions on Instagram
- Djini Productions on Facebook
- Alison on Facebook