We had the good fortune of connecting with Aimiende Negbenebor Sela and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aimiende, what principle do you value most?
I’m not sure if this is considered a value/principle or virtue, really, but I admire people who try. It’s a big thing for me — trying, making an attempt, seeing if something is at all possible and giving it a go. You may fail, but there’s something, at least in mind, to be said for trying.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a writer and a filmmaker, I am drawn to the inner conflicts that influence our actions as human beings. I observe people make decisions and watch their faces betray their uncertainties. I see good people do awful things; watch as victims decide to stop being victims, and I’m blown away by the inner strength that comes pouring out of them. In each case, I’ve wondered what it took to get them there.

In light of more recent world events, I find myself thinking about how we see each other. And, maybe more importantly, though I have no idea how to address this item honestly — why? By that, I mean, the root cause of the fear that drives us (humans) to a kind of behavior that should technically be defined as insanity. Then, almost instinctively, I find myself reaffirming my goal to bring a little bit of the hope I see people display on a daily basis in spite of themselves (or may be in spite of life, itself) into my work. And, of course, the fear sets in. Which, remarkably, inspires me to try. I may fail, but I’ll know that I tried. It’s an endless cycle! As I said, insanity 🙂

It hasn’t been easy being an essentially self taught indie filmmaker, who began her own production company about ten years ago, but the process of taking a project from inception to market has taught (and continues to teach) me perseverance. Hope. Empathy. Humility. How to ask for the help I need. And, my least favorite, how to keep my ego in check. On the business side, it’s taught me that I’ll always have something new to learn in terms of growing my business, strategizing, finding funding for projects, building partnerships and healthy working relationships, networking (not my favorite past time), and so on. Dealing with these growing pains and facing the many obstacles that come with running any business, big or small, I think is primarily worth it when it’s something you truly want to do — owning a business, I mean. And, if you’re lucky enough to build it doing something you love, even better.

I believe that we (all of us) live the same lives, just colored differently and this mantra heavily influences my work and my brand. At my boutique production company, Sela Films, I try to keep that concept (or, ideal) front and center. I believe inclusivity inspires creativity and you see that in my work and literally on the brand merch. And, I believe my background and life experience have taught me this. My hope (aside from being an Oscar or Emmy winner someday :)) is that I am able to do work that I love, and to somehow give a voice to those (like me once upon a time) who feel voiceless while I’m at it; to play my own small part in bringing up the number of working women filmmakers in the industry, and to share a bit of how I see the world in the process.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a relatively brand new San Diegan (we moved to San Diego in December of last year in the middle of the lockdown), I have so much more of San Diego to see! But, of the places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting from my hood, Normal Heights, to Encinitas and parts of North County, I’d have to say there are waaaaay too many choices! I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

So, if my visiting friend loves the beach and enjoys walking around town from one cool craft brewery to another for instance, I’ll have them spend the day (with my pal, Andrew whose a native as out guide) in North County. If they want to hang locally on my side of town, I’ll take them through Hillcrest and University Heights, do lunch in South Park, Ice cream in North Park, see if there are any events happening in Coronado Island just as an excuse to drive them over the Coronado Bridge; it’s beautifully lit at night.

If I began to list restaurants and breweries or cafes, we’ll be here all night. My favorite thing about San Diego, aside from the lovely weather, is that so much of it is walkable. I’m originally a New Yorker and I love walkable cities.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love books! Mostly fiction. The worlds and possibilities they open my mind to allow me to dream, and I love that.

In terms of the village; well, it is a village! So many people have influenced and continuing to influence my life from my husband, Bobby Cappuccio, to my fellow writers and filmmakers in the trenches everyday trying to either break in, leave their mark or shake things up in this industry, to friends who lend me an ear or contribute to a campaign for any number of my indie projects, I really wouldn’t know where to start!

And, frankly, I’m worried that I’d leave someone out if I began listing people. I’d be unhappy with myself if I did that.

From my hubby to my dad who’s been supportive of my career from early on after I stepped away from the I.T. industry and decided to pursue the arts; the unapologetically talented, unafraid and focused women in my writing group; my peers who offer feedback on my work, share tips and resources they come across that they feel may be helpful to me; folks who work with me on my projects, wholeheartedly wanting to see me succeed… Numerous. I continue to be encouraged to keep at it, keep going, and for that, I am truly grateful.

I dedicate this shoutout to them, all of them. They know who they are 🙂

Website: www.selafilms.com

Instagram: @selafilms

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/aimiende/

Twitter: @selafilmsllc

Facebook: www.facebook.com/selafilms

Image Credits
Avery Nguyen

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