The African movie industry boasts a reservoir of talented artits who work behind the cameras. Today, MyAfricaInfos presents Madie Foltek, a Togolese screenwriter who is passionate about her work.
Myafricainfos: Hello Madie!
Madie Foltek: Hi!
Kindly introduce yourself to our readers
My name is Madie Kokoè Teko-Folly. My pen name is Madie Foltek.
What’s your occupation?
I’m a script/screenwriter, I write movies and TV shows.
How did you get into this field?
I have always been passionate about writing which I started doing at the age of 12. I used to write short stories that I loved sharing with my girlfriends and especially with my mum who is my number one fan. As years went by, I discovered a passion for movies, and weird enough, back in high school, I had no idea how to combine that passion with the one I had for writing.
I pursued my education in the United States, and right after securing my bachelor degree in advertising, I decided to finally major in cinematography. So, I got my master’s degree in script/screenwriting, and right away, I felt at home. I recall thinking to myself «this is what was missing! » And since I embarked on this fabulous adventure, I never looked back.
What does your wok really entail?
I write movies and TV shows: more specifically, I develop an idea that I come up with or that comes from someone else and I create a whole imaginary world around it. I use a screenwriting software which makes my writing a bit easier and gives me the ideal format for my script.
Do you work alone or in a team?
That actually depends on the projects. I work alone and in a team. Let me explain: quite often, I have brainstorming sessions with colleagues who bring some freshness to my ideas or even give me completely new ideas.
I also work with a script doctor who is actually a screenwriter who helps me maintain a certain objectivity vis-à-vis of the intrigues and the characterizations of my characters. The thing is that once I dive and invest myself into that world, the characters become my kids and it is sometimes difficult for me to let go of them or even be objective about their flaws. So in general, I write alone.
As far as team work is concerned, depending on the project, there could be many of us writing for a TV show for example.
What are some of your achievements?
I have written a few scripts, directed a short film, and recently, I worked on two projects: Hospital IT (to be pronounced Hospitalité), which is a Togolese medical show for which I was the literary director, the script supervisor and one of the writers. The show has been selected at the festival Vues D’Afrique de Montréal for the Africa short series category, and will be on your screens very soon.
I am also the creator and writer of Oasis, a Togolese TV show that is being developed, and that has a pilot online, ordered by Côte Ouest Audiovisuel.
I’m collaborating with Yobo Studios, a production company managed by Angela Aquereburu and Jean-Luc Rabatel, a duo that shares my vision and motivates me to give my very best. They have an outstanding team.
What are your future prospects?
My dream is to contribute towards putting Togo on the cinema world map. And to achieve that, I will keep giving my all, body and soul to each one of my projects, writing and creating beautiful stories that the public can relate to.
In a year or two from now, I would like to reroute to feature films and bring some variety to my portfolio. There are other projects in store, so be on the lookout.
What are the challenges that you encounter in your work?
Inspiration can be a major issue. When there is no inspiration, I feel stuck and frustrated. An American screenwriter once said that we should not allow inspiration to desert us and that we should write everyday until we arrive at the formula we want.
Another challenge in my line of work is the financial aspect. Depending of the project’s budget, I find myself limited sometimes in the creative process because there is a limit as to the number of characters, the set, the number of scenes etc. But at the end of the day, it is a challenge that allows me to improve my skills.
What will be your message to other young people who would like to follow in your footsteps?
If cinema is first and foremost your PASSION and the path you are willing to take, then fully commit yourself to it, be willing to make sacrifices, ask yourself what you are ready to give for your dreams to become a reality, and give yourself the means to achieve it. Perseverance and continuous improvement are crucial for success.
The reaction I often get when I say I am a screenwriter is « Wow! I didn’t know there were female screenwriters in Africa! » Therefore, I am encouraging women to step forward and challenge men in the movie industry.
Do you have a message for the youth in general?
Identify your objectives, have the yearning to achieve them and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams regardless of what they are. Don’t pay attention to naysayers, killjoys or people who tell you can’t do it. Work hard every day and keep getting better in your aspiration to excellence and in your quest to make your dreams come true. Be an inspiration for others.
What’s your favourite quote?
«The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams», Eleanor Roosevelt.
Your closing remarks
I am grateful to Myafricainfos for giving me the opportunity to share my story on their platform. Thanks to everyone for their support.
To all film enthusiasts, I say be on the lookout. We have a lot in store for you.
Below are the links to some of our work:
Hospital IT Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_aDojXG8cM
Hospital IT Pilot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaugkjL3bKA
Oasis Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePkTuo6fvgw
Oasis Pilot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydlLMFyfm80
Myafricainfos wishes you all the best in your future endeavors!