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Crowdfunding for my MFA in Film at Howard University starting August 2018!

by Victoria Nambi in London, England, United Kingdom


My name is Victoria Nambi. A recent UCL English Literature graduate, I currently study part-time at Identity School of Acting. I’ve been offered a place on a full time MFA in Film at Howard University, due to start August 2018.

What's with the name?

When I told one of my best mates that I had got into Howard, he said that I was going to the 'black heaven of higher education'. 

heaven --> heaven-sent --> Howard-sent

Why Film? 

I’ve always been a keen consumer and teller of stories, but from an early age cinema always had a particular hold over me.  I believe film is one of the most powerful mediums for affirming life in all of its soulful, tumultuous nature. At some point in my teens, my love of watching films shifted into a need and desire to start making them. Initially I saw my entry into the industry through screenwriting, as I have always been comfortable with written words. However over time the idea that I could direct and write films has grown harder and harder to shake. 

c57afa7a9ba3a98ba5114f0eb76e235327a00b82Me on set with the cast and crew of 'Twister', my directorial debut (in post-production)

Why Howard?

Howard is one of the top historically black colleges (HBCUs) in the US and is the only HBCU that offers a Graduate Film program. Courses include directing, screenwriting, cinematography, sound, editing, African cinema and African-American cinema.

Long established as a home to students from all over the African diaspora, Howard is the alma mater of some of the most promising emerging black filmmakers of recent times (Jenn Nkiru and Bradford Young come to mind) not to mention several literary greats of the 20th Century (Morrison! Neale Hurston!). Having just completed an undergraduate degree where you could count the number of black people in my year group and in the faculty staff with one finger, for my Masters I needed a seismic change. The pull of Howard was impossible to resist. 

What is the money for?

The MFA Film course at Howard lasts two and a half years- including classes, a thesis and an internship. The total cost of attendance for the two and a half years will be approximately £93,000 (including tuition, living allowance, books and travel).

I am aiming to raise £84,500  in 4 WEEKS which will cover my tuition and living expenses for the first two years of the course

Why can't you raise this money another way?

  • I’m from a single parent household. The cost of attendance for the 2.5 years is significantly beyond what my Mum could afford
  • In my student visa application I will need to prove that I have enough money to financially sustain myself for the duration of my studies
  • Howard’s Film Department unfortunately does not offer financial aid to incoming graduate students.
  • I am ineligible for postgraduate student loans from the UK government as I will be studying overseas.
  • External scholarships for which my course (an art), my study destination (USA) and my nationality (British) meet the eligibility criteria have been extremely hard to come by 

This campaign is a last resort. Any donation, no matter the size, will help bring me a step closer to realising this incredible opportunity and will be greatly appreciated.  

Liking, sharing and following the campaign's social media pages will also help send me to Howard:




Use the hashtag #HowardSent

Future plans

Like higher education, the film industry in the UK is rife with inequality

According to a study by the British Film Institute, in 2016 women made up only 13% of directors and 16% of screenwriters of British films released in the UK. While women filmmakers of all races face barriers in the UK film industry, black women have it particularly hard; only five Black-British female film directors have had their feature films released theatrically in UK, ever. 

424334c8ea9b42911e87fb0bac1951c456a017ea(Top row: Ngozi Onwurah, Amma Asante, bottom row: debbie tucker green, Destiny Ekaragha, Rungano Nyoni)

By attending Howard University, I hope to learn and grow artistically, so that I can one day join this lineage of trailblazing women. The meaning of family, history and home continually engross me, so these are ideas I anticipate exploring in future films. I want to create engaging works of art that excavate the lives, histories and experiences of Black British and African people with the sensitivity and rigour they deserve

About Me 

I am a Londoner of Ugandan descent, who grew up in Hendon (Edgware branch Northern line all day every day) and Nairobi, Kenya. 

I got a 2:1 in English Literature and Language from UCL.

Writing: Since 2015 I have had my writing featured in gal-dem, UCL Savage Magazine and on the Runnymede Trust blog. 

Activism through art: Creating positive change for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and women through art has been a constant in my life outside of academia in recent years. My efforts have included being a Debate Mate mentor (2014-2015), a Student Ambassador for UCL Widening Participation Summer School (2015), Volunteering Officer for the UCL Film Society (2015-2016) and most recently a TuWezeshe Akina Dada Fellow (2017-2018).

031cfe4c9560e1187d35e15a02e90db851fe16d5TuWezeshe Akina Dada 2017-2018 Fellows

Film festivals: Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I love going to film festivals. The BFI London Film Festival is my favourite because a) it has student friendly prices and b) it always falls in my birthday month. In 2016 I took things to the next level by becoming a volunteer for the Film Africa Festival. Since then I have worked as a Visitor Assistant at the BFI London Film Festival (2017) and I actually was involved in the programming of films for the Barbican Centre’s Chronic Youth Film Festival (2018) as a Young Programmer. I co-curated and introduced a programme of short films by African filmmakers which opened the festival.

Thank you for taking the time to read/support/share my story!



Special thanks to: Ozzy, Maxine, Ankit, Hamda, Ufuoma, Imhotep, Andrew, Sarah, Mwice and Junia for their help and support in the pre-production of this campaign


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£1 or more

Pledge £1 or more

Every pledge, whatever the size, will receive a personalised thank you e-note.

£50 or more

Pledge £50 or more

Proof reading of a piece of work (up to 5000 words).

£250 or more

Pledge £250

A collection of my undergraduate writing from my final year, on topics ranging from the stigmatisation of non-standard English dialects, the role of media and ideology in the Charleston Church shooting, spirituality and selfhood in 'Their Eyes were watching God', Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' and my dissertation on racial existentialism in the plays of August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry.

£1,000 or more

Pledge £1,000

Howard Alumni Special: A copy of any Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston text of your choosing (paperback), a DVD of Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman, a handwritten thank you card and a selection of my undergraduate essays from my final year

£2,500 or more

Pledge £2,500

Regular updates about my time at Howard and in the US via video diary, postcards and a photojournal plus Howard Memorabilia

£10,000 or more

Pledge £10,000

All of the above, and a link to my thesis screenplay or film when it's completed (should I choose to do the latter, this prize will also include behind the scenes footage/photography from my thesis film)