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Marie Ka

Producer & Co-Founder of Inaru Films

Marie Ka started her producing career in Senegal before relocating to Canada. She co-founded Inaru Films to work with underrepresented creators and voices. Passionate about stories and storytelling, she believes that Africa and its diaspora hold the future of content creation and that world screens are urgently lacking afro talent.

Meet the Trailblazer

What drives you? 

I guess passion for storytelling and a certain fascination for mankind. I find human beings and the human experience endlessly interesting and storytelling are a gateway to getting close to that mystery.

Who impacted your career the most? 

I’m profoundly inspired by women around me. Whether in my personal or professional life. I find women extraordinary in their ability to navigate the challenges life throws at them. I have deep reverence for black women, recently professionally interacting with accomplished amazing black women such as Tonya Williams, Jennifer Holness and Joan Jenkinson has inspired and nourished me tremendously.

How did you build the team around you? 

One step at a time. I first partnered up with another producer, Mylene Augustin, and proceeded to connecting with individuals who shared similar or compatible values. Healthy collaboration ranks really high on my criteria list, so I pay attention to the human I am dealing with.

What was your best experience in this business? 

I once hung out with Stephen Frears and Christopher Hampton. I had a lot of admiration for their work and being able to just talk cinema, in a very laid back, informal way was the best.

Is there a theme in the work you do or choose? 

I find that stories that particularly speak to me are deeply rooted into the depth of a character, especially female characters. I’m drawn to perspectives, experiences that are marginalized from the mainstream. The world is complex, immensely rich with cultures and individuals, yet most of the content available comes massively from one part of the world, and usually from a single perspective. This makes no sense to me.

Was it luck or strategy that helped you find success?

I guess a combination of both. I believe luck has lot to do with the circumstances one finds herself in. What one makes of it is up to them.

Did you ever give up hope that you’d make it? 

Of course, I did, it’s a tough business. Every once in a while, I still feel I won’t. I haven’t achieved yet the goals I set out to reach.

What was your worst experience in this business?

It was in my previous life in Senegal, I had to let go of a huge and instrumental amount of money for a project due to toxic collaboration. I never made the film, but I have no regret nor doubt it was the right decision. Sometimes you just have to walk away.

Advice to someone just starting out? 

What project are you most proud of?

Hang in there and make sure to surround yourself with allies. Ask questions all the time, there are no stupid ones. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help or advice, it’s a tough business but it’s one where people are generous. I’ve gotten help, tips and whatnot from so many people even some big names. Say thank you and acknowledge people.

I have a soft spot for projects that could be seen as unlikely in the current set of things. It’s a documentary I am working on with a first-time director from Senegal. It’s bold, brave and irreverent of the status-quo. The main character is a woman, so of course I’m particularly sensitive to it. It’s still at an early stage but I’m very grateful to have a part in it.

Was Reelworld instrumental in your career? AND/OR Did Reelworld inspire you in any way?

Tell us about your next project. 

I haven’t had the chance to participate in any programs. Through conversation with Reelworld team, I’ve been mostly exchanging at an organizational level. That being said, what Reelworld represents for underrepresented creators in the canadian industry, is amazing to me. I wish there would be something similar for creators all over the world.

It’s an anthology for Crave I’m coproducing along with Damon D’Oliveira, Clement Virgo and Richard Jean-Baptiste. It’s a bilingual all-black project which I am really excited about.

Give us a quote that will inspire emerging talent.

What are you most proud of in your career?

It’s in one of my native languages. (Wolof) – Cii kaw – Cii Kanam it could translate into keep going higher, keep moving forward.

The fact of still being amazed by movies and being part of this group of people spread all over the world who keep dreaming not matter what. That still moves me profoundly.

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