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As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself. 

If there is anyone who can persuasively bring together African cultures with the rest of the worldthrough music, productions, and action, it is Sonia Oduwa Aimy. With her voice of shimmering velvet, her energy and soulful appeal, Sonia spreads joy as she irresistibly blends afro-jazz, afrobeat, highlife, and the African griot call-and-response tradition. Her infectious joie de vivre and indomitable spirit shine through in her performances and her recordings – her 2021 album Reconnect (Slammin Media/Saimy’s Art) 2017 album Nigerian Spirit (Saimy’s Art distributed by Believe).They resonate as well through her most recent project, the film TRACE: Tracing African Canadian Extraordinaire¸ which premiered in May 2023 at Cannes Festival Pavilion Afriques. She was executive producer and director of this ambitious film, which recognizes the selfless efforts of seven African Canadians from across the country – leaders in business, academics, the arts, philanthropy and advocacy issues – whose remarkable accomplishments, hitherto mostly unsung, have made a strong impact on the community. 

Why did you become a filmmaker, a director and a producer?

TRACE reflects the many talents and vocations of Sonia Aimy: her singing, song writing, acting, production skills and her social and artistic activism. To complement her film, Sonia created and recorded its title song, TRACE: Tracing African Canadian Extraordinaire, dancing to it in the video of the same name. TRACE almost didn’t happen. Sonia’s once endless creativity had come to an abrupt halt with theCovid 19 lockdown. After nearly two decades of being constantly on the move, she was suddenly despondent. The only way through was to take a thorough look at her life so far, and out of her dejection came newfound insights that deepened her song writing. The result was the album Reconnect. TRACE followed soon after.

Give some more information about yourself and the films you have made so far, about your experience?

 This is my first movie but I have produced numerous theatre plays, worked on sets as an actress and assistant on sets.

What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I started at age four when my mother would tell us stories, and folktales, often accompanied by music, dance, andvivid illustration through words. From that time I would always invent my stories, songs and dance steps which Iwould share with my brother whenever my mother wasn’t home to tell the stories herself. I joined the St JosephCatholic Charismatic Church at age ten and started singing at eleven. I later trained professionally in singing andtheater arts in Italy. I have written, directed numerous theater plays, and always wished someday to bring my ideas on the screen after being an actress for TV and Cinema. I guess working with passionate directors like GiancarloRonchi and Anamaria Gallone 

inspired me after a long work experience with them. 

 You have made your wonderful film "Trace Tracing Rare African Canadian Extraordinaire" 

which got an official selection in the 

"American Golden Picture International Film Festival".

As a filmmaker, why did you decide to make it?

The idea came about from seeing a lot of issues affecting the black community and especially the youths that findsgun-violence and other crimes as normal practice. I do believe that not having enough black role models beingportrayed in the mainstream media and misrepresentation of the demography mainly focusing on the negativeprompted me to want to identify the black role models as a way of inspiring the younger generation.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this specific film?

The people were selected by a committee formed by three people, through a jury process and none of the Traceknew they were being researched until the decision was made. We also had two researchers who checked them outon google and other means. They all came together during their celebration in February 2023 during the Black historymonth which was when we screened Trace privately for the first time. I got confirmation for the approval in June andeverything kicked off in July with research and selection, while the interviews took place from October to December.

We went into post production in December and screened the first draft on February 18th. 

It was a very tight scheduleand I had to make it work no matter the circumstance.

Tell us more about your experience in this film?

I came up with the concept, wrote it first in the form of a project, so it was natural that both roles complimented andflew easily together without challenges. When you believe in something, and it's meant to be, you know everythingyou need to make it whole, - the imagery, the sound, the costume, and the concept. It becomes embedded in you,that you live the project in character in all its forms until it is done. It’s like a theater play where the words take a formof dance, music, narrative and with an undeniable theatrical unique soul. 

In your film all Cast and crew supports the story in a very effective way. What was it like to work with them?

It was a wonderful experience working with these Canadians. We made the selection through a committee formed bycommunity leaders. Many names were presented from across Canada and it was a very tough task to narrow downto just seven. Everyone was very excited and honored to be considered for such a project. Of course there werethose who weren’t used to being in front of the camera so my strategy was to make it as informal as possible, I built arelationship with them before the interview dates. I made several phone calls to better understand who they are whichenabled me to create a personalized interview style. Even though we set up a timeframe for the interview, I did not tryto constraint the questions within the allocated time. I allowed each character to flow until we were both satisfied. Ofcourse there were some who had so much more to share but had to stop and call it a future date perhaps. 

For you, what was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making this film? 

Being good and considerate about others is the best enrichment one can have. 

The idea of the movie was to celebrate others and now I am being celebrated.

What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking? 

The reaction by people who sees my work and they inspiration and education that it brings. 

What are your filmmaking goals? 

To be able to produce and direct movies that inspires and in a continuous basis.

What is your next project?

I hope to produce a Trace series for TV and Screening platforms. I also have a plan for another featured movie.


Sonia's Links:


IMdb Page: saimyarts's Profile - IMDb

Twitter: Sonia Aimy (@SoniaAimy) 

TwitterTiktok: soniaaimymusic (@soniaaimymusic) 

TikTok Instagram: Sonia Aimy (@sonia_aimy) 

LinkedIn: Sonia Aimy | LinkedIn

Youtube : Sonia Aimy - YouTube

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