The Interview: NCBFF's 2011 Emerging Filmmaker Honorees

Pictured Here (L to R): Rhonda Bellamy, Saba, Keita, and Tajiya Baba

The North Carolina Black Film Festival salutes Charlotte, NC sisters Tajiya, Keita, and Saba.  What started out as a hobby to entertain friends and family with self-made short movies has turned into a full-time business for the sisters, ages 13, 17, and 21. The three young entrepreneurs have their own animation company and is fully independent with everything from scriptwriting to directing.  We caught up with the three sisters at NCBFF to find out how they got this started!

Tajiya: My name is Tajiya Baba and I am 21 years old.

Keita: My name is Keita Baba and I am 17 years old.

Saba: And my name is Saba Nanette Baba and I am 13 years old and our company is EYI Publications which stands for...

In-Sync (all 3 sisters):  Entrepreneurs of Youth and Integrity.

NCIndieSeen: Awesome!  How did you guys go about starting this company and what inspired you to think of something so groundbreaking as starting a company at such a young tender age?

Tajiya: I can start by saying it started from young early childhood.  When I was about five years old that was when I wanted to become an animator, after watching all of the cartoons that I watched on television.  So from there I kinda was wanting build my skill and develop my artwork so to match that up on a professional level so that I could possibly become an animator which is what I've become now.

Keita: What got me started was when I was young, and my older sister was 8 and I was 4, I was totally inspired by her she was my idol, and I was like her secretary.  Whatever she did was what I wanted to do.  I love art and my mother is an artist and she inspired us greatly.  Tajiya wanted to be an animator ever since she was really young  but that's what I wanted to be as well. 

Saba: Since these two wanted to do animation, when I came along I was like oh well I guess I gotta do animation with them. (laughs)

Keita: When Saba was born she was like oh wow I like this. 

Saba: But also what drove me was I love cartoons, the animation in th emovies and stuff, but when I realized I actually had the talent to create those things, I kept building and building on it and like what happned to them I was like this is what I want to do.  I wanted to be an entrepreneur and be independent and I knew if you strive for that, you will never work a day in your life.

NCIndieSeen:  Obviously this talent is homegrown learning animation and doing it so well.  How did you even think to start a business where did you get the sense that ok we're gonna go ahead and create our own studio and be our own boss.

Keita: Well what we did our mom always taught us to be independent and to be entrepreneurs and to have integrity and thats why we named the company Entrepreneurs of Youth and Integrity.  Its always good to have morals and integrity.  So what we did, we thought about it and we said, you know what since we do love art, and animation that's a wonderful thing to get into.  We might as well actually sell them.  We used to do home animations for our house and for our family and friends.  So our mom took us downtown and she helped us get licensing for the business, and so then it began in 2009.

NCIndieSeen:  What kind of animations do you do?  What type of genres do you dwelve in?

Saba: We do a whole variety of things we do, we have 4 animations out we do things for like little kids, we do things for like a family, and Tajiya will do things for more mature crowd but me and Keita do things for smaller kids and family type movies.  We want postive and family friendly films that will appeal to people.

Tajiya:  Even the more mature cartoons that we might do are the jokes.  The theme may not necessarily be things kids would understand, so it would be something written about funny stuff that I came up with that I have encountered in my own life and stuff I've heard other people encounter and it would be like wow, that would make a funny story.  It may not be something kids would understand, so that's what I mean by more mature.

NCIndieSeen:  Do you guys individually write, direct, and produce your own material?  Do you have help or is it completely independent?

Tajiya: Everything is completely independent, we would come up with an idea and we do write a little but all of the writing comes from our mother.  She's a writer, and she has alot of friends that are involved in theater, and do screenplays and stuff. So she picked up alot from them, and she got into So we let her handle the writing of the scripts but for our latter projects, that we've got going individually, we have produced our own stuff as well.  All of the projects we have now are stuff that was collaborative work. 

NCIndieSeen: What advice do you have for indie entrepreneurs?

Keita: I would say for one thing, always maintain your integrity.  Always remember to never give up and to always have faith in what you do and find something that you enjoy and to pursue it and let that be what you actually turn into your business if you want to become an entrepreneur.  If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.

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