Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest

by Candice Onyeama in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 20th April 2017 we successfully raised £5,045 with 52 supporters in 28 days

Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest is a short magical realism journey into selfhood and identity.

by Candice Onyeama in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target



We successfully reached 100% on our crowdfund campaign!

Wow! We are so excited and grateful for the overwhelming support we have received for Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest. A massive THANK YOU and shout-out to all of you for backing, sharing and believing in our story! You were vital in making our campaign a huge success to reach our goal!!! BIG virtual hugs to you all from Team Once!


We are now stretching to raise just £1000 more to cover additional post-production costs and get a really strong post team in place to make Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest the best film it can be! The additional funds will mean we can secure an award-winning post-production team to help create an original score for the film and get the highest quality sound and visuals in place.

So please continue to be the amazing name warriors that you are and support, share and donate to this final stage of our campaign.

Also, we've got a little treat in store for you! Donors giving £50 or higher will get a secret perk delivered. Curious? Then get pledging! 

Thanks, guys! One Love!
Team Once


A young British Nigerian woman, Uju struggles to find a decent job.  As her situation gets worse, she decides to take the drastic step of changing her ethnic name to an English one, hoping this will improve her chances. But on the night of her name change, she is haunted by a curious old woman who squats down heavily on her chest and whose presence forces her to question the significance of her name and her identity.


In Diaspora, you're in constant flow between two identities. But what happens when one of these identities is treated as less worthy than the other and one which should be pushed to the background and if possible hidden away? And if your name reveals you as having this 'pariah' identity, what happens then?

The BBC recently did a programme on how a job seeker with an English sounding name was offered three times the number of jobs than one with a Muslim name, although they had identical CVs. We hope our film while being entertaining will also raise debate and conversation around this issue.


Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest proved its a story worth telling by winning second prize at the Encounters Film Festival Widening The Lens, a project supported by the BFI Diversity Fund and receiving £500 as a small kickstart to production.  The project was also developed with the support of the B3 Talent Lab.

 Your donation will go toward helping us with the several components of the production including:

  • Super talented cast and crew
  • Location costs
  • Art Department
  • Travel and catering for cast and crew
  • Camera and lighting kit
  • Music and Post Production
  • Funds towards festival entry fees 

Each and every contribution made is greatly appreciated. We have amazing perks to offer for your generous pledge so please spread the word and THANK YOU for your support!


In return for your generous support, you not only get the satisfaction of knowing you helped tell our story but you also receive some of the fantastic perks and rewards listed at the side including... 

  • Exclusive preview of the film
  • Named in the credits
  • Dinner for 2 sponsored by Chuku's Nigerian Tapas restaurant
  • Organic African skin care products sponsored by Shea Luxuries
  • Encounters BAFTA qualifying film festival passes and more!



We are extremely excited and honoured to have award-winning actress Ellen Thomas on board playing the role of ''the old woman".

Ellen is known for her role as Claudette Hubbard on BBC's EastEnders and as Grace Olubunmi in the Channel 4 comedy, Teachers.  Her other screen credits include: Basic Instinct 2, Johnny English Reborn, Doctor Who, Humans, Rev, Casualty, Holby City, The Bill , Ryan and Ronnie and Secret Laughter of Women. Theatre credits include:  The Hotel Cerise by Bonnie Greer (The Royal Stratford Theatre) Egusi Soup, Tiata Delights, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (Almeida Theatre), Statement Of Regret, The American Clock and Fuente Ovejuna (National Theatre).


Candice Onyeama - Writer/Director/Co-Producer

Candice’s debut film HUSH which she wrote and produced was the winner of the Ideas tap funds short award. It has screened at the BFI, the BUFF International film festival,  the African International Film festival and is scheduled to screen as part of the centerpiece showcase at the NFFTY film festival in Seattle. She is also the founder of Genesis Child films, a production company with a focus on stories by women of African descent.



Nicola Gregory - Producer

Nicola’s debut independent feature film Hard Time Bus won ‘Best Feature’ at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, ‘Best Festival Feature’ at the MVSA’s and was nominated for several awards at the American Black Film Festival, including ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Director’, and ‘Best Screenplay’. The film went on to secure distribution at the Cannes Film Market.She has a slate of films and two serial dramas in development set in the UK and Africa with her team at 2HOTFILMS, whose aim is to subvert stereotypes and present a balanced and manifold view of women and the Diaspora.



Benjamin Cooper - Director Of Photography

Ben has worked on a range of commercial and independent short films.  His work has been screened and exhibited at galleries and festivals such as Portobello Film Festival (London), Parasol Unit (London), Lumens International Film Festival (Leeds) and Durham Beyond Film Festival (Durham) .



Become griots for our story and help us spread the word! Please tweet,  like, share on Facebook, Instagram, by text, e-mail, word of mouth and even carrier pigeon! ( you get the point ). The more people know about the project, the more they can get on board and help make it happen.  So please become a part of our creative village and help make our film baby a reality. Thank you! xx





This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

Thank YOU! Every bit of support will help our film come to life. We will publicly thank you on social media for your contribution + receive news updates via email to find out what we’re up to and how the film is progressing.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Get exclusive access to a private link to view Once an Old Lady… after it completes its film festival run + an official digital poster + a special credit at the end of the film + All the rewards above.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

A personal thank you message from team Once An Old Lady… + your name on a uniquely designed on a handcrafted postcard + 2 samples of Shea Luxuries hand cream + All the rewards above.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

You’re a star! Not only will you receive all the perks above you will also receive an Encounters Festival vintage t-shirt and jute bag + photo of the cast and crew + a jar of Shea Luxuries aromatic whipped body and hair shea butter mix.

£150 or more

£150 Reward

You are a #NameWarrior and a big part of the Once An Old Lady... team. We can now get the equipment we need to create magical realism. You will receive an exclusive behind-the-scenes video greeting from the set + signed photograph of the actors & director + Your name added to our wall of warriors + All the rewards above.

£200 or more

£200 Reward

We’ve got love for you and dinner for 2 at Chuku's, London’s traditional Nigerian Tapas Restaurant (first 3 funders only) + Attend a private screening of Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest, followed by a Q&A with the cast & crew. (London only) + An Encounters Festival 20th Anniversary Retrospective Book + A personal thank you from our writer/director + All the rewards above.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

You will receive an Encounters Festival Pack of bunting + Special Thanks, credit on Once An Old Lady Sat On My Chest end credits + signed photograph of the actors & director + 1 printed film still + All the rewards above

£500 or more

£500 Reward

For your generous contribution, we will include your name as an Associate Producer in our main credits of the film and on IMDB.com + full-colour printed, writer/ director, mood board + Encounters full festival pass (first 2 funders only) + Encounters Festival 20th Anniversary Retrospective Book + A special thank you video message from team Once An Old Lady… + All the rewards above

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Reward

A Massive thank you for your generous contribution. You will be credited as an Executive Producer on our main credits and on IMDB.com + A special thank you video message from team Once An Old Lady… + All the rewards above

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