Mimi Bartels describes herself as a Wife, Mother and the Head of Accounts, Nollywood and Independent Films at FilmOne Distribution and Production. Following our feature on The Women of Filmhouse, Mimi has been kind enough to give us a snippet of what it’s like being Mimi Bartels and the role she plays working with a powerful brand – Filmhouse Limited.
Someone asked me once why I identify as a wife first- I said it is because it is work! Lol ok no seriously, it is because of my husband’s support that I have achieved so much and because of him (and God of course) we have a beautiful 8 month old, Tyler. Most people see me and don’t know I handle a
N1 billion generating account or handled 70-90% of Nollywood’s most successful films of 2016-2018 and such films like- Wedding Party 1/2, Chief Daddy, Merry Men, King of Boys– all these films were under my account and my job to make sure we hit those targets.
My job is really not about the glam, do I meet amazing Celebrities? Yes. Do I go to premieres? Yes. But the amount of work that goes behind the business of film is NOT glamorous…At All. The women I have worked with in film have not always been red carpet ready, there are times we are video chatting, no make-up or meeting in our flat shoes/bathroom slippers even, not even taken a shower… lol! Just to make sure you the public are entertained and most especially our client’s baby achieves the best it can at the box office.
Most people feel we (FilmOne) tend to only push comedic films but we truly push content that make a difference. A film can save you from traffic or make you smile or make you feel less alone, it can give you that crush you never knew you wanted, it can make you sad, move you- we are the ones behind the scene making sure that content gets to you when you want and importantly, need it. We work to create memories you didn’t even know we did- we give you that movie that you had your first kiss to, that movie you and your girls had the best night with, that movie that changed your life. This is our job in film. Filmone is not just an Independent distributor of top end releases, we also co-produce indigenous content and serve as a platform for International Indie Content to thrive within our demographics as well as Internationally (Example, The Wedding Party 2 was shown in 23 countries). The Independent films we work on have now brought partnerships with the French, even recently South Africa and maybe in a few months Bollywood- we try to expand the world of film to not only Nigeria but other continents to majorly entertain and most importantly bring about unity; all through the power of film.
My life wasn’t always about film. I was a 16yr old girl who lost her Father, murder sadly, who was then moved to the UK to study. My siblings and I all went abroad and we left Lagos for over a decade. I majored in Business Admin majoring in Economics and Finance in Liverpool John Moores University. I then came back home because honestly I was tired of the UK and did my NYSC in Oceanic bank. I was so sure I wanted to be a banker, I had my 5 year goals figured out but then I thought this isn’t what I was meant for. I then went into Alternative Investments, still wasn’t happy. I became a writer for Leadership and a Relationship blogger. I worked on my first film, INALE, as a Marketing/PR person with my then Producer, one of the most amazing women who really taught me a lot- ‘your time is money’ will always resonate with me. I then met Kene Okwuosa who I would have never thought would become my boss (I’m lying, I was legit hoping he would utter those magic words- “Mimi let us work together” but he was playing hard to get, I knew our film paths would cross eventually) he then asked if I helped with the PR/Marketing of his then film WHEN LOVE HAPPENS in Abuja (and that’s how I then e-met Moses via email)- that was when I knew THIS is what I was made for- film. Took me years to get here (FilmOne) though, I then worked PR/Marketing with my bud Douglas Jekan then worked in New Media for the National Broadcasting Commission. I was living in Abuja all this time and my boyfriend (who is now my husband) moved to Lagos and so I followed (see why I call myself Wife first, because of him I moved) and worked in Spinlet before coming to FilmOne I had to start from the bottom. Professionally, I was accomplished but the business of film? I had to prove myself, not just as a woman but as a wife, as a mother and starting out as an Assistant, humbling myself and 2 years later as a Head- I thank God.
I usually do not like being in the spotlight, lol they all know I don’t but I tell my story so other women out there will know it’s possible. Make that effort to find a mentor that has made a difference to you. She doesn’t have to be Oby Ezekwesili/Michelle Obama, she can be someone in your office, school, or church- just know you are never alone.
Do I feel I have to work harder as a woman in this industry? I don’t feel- I know I have to. I am not allowed to feel so to speak, because every emotion will be tied to “she is a woman”, “you know how women are”. I remember my first job in the bank, my then soon-to-be boss was told I had been hired and would like to work in Treasury, his reply I will never forget was ‘she is too pretty, we don’t need pretty, and we need someone hardworking’. I genuinely couldn’t fathom what my looks had to do with my work. And to be honest as I type this, I think it made me downplay myself, wear baggier clothes, no make-up, just so I am seen for my work and not my supposed beauty (which I did not see as well).
This job has taught me to be humble, to be diplomatic, to be fierce, to be honest and most importantly to be me. I have the best and most supportive Line managers and the best team- I truly am blessed.