Bedford movie producer helps support rising female talent including Bafta-winning actress Bukky Bakray

She's working on two movies aimed to destigmatise mental illness

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 3:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 3:50 pm

Producer Karina Michel is passionate about supporting rising female talent in the film industry.

So much so, the Bedford woman is currently executive-producing two films produced and directed by talented young women, both of which aim to destigmatise mental illness.

Self-Charm tackles the issue of self-harm. It’s directed and produced by 19-year-old Ella Greenwood (Faulty Roots) and stars 18-year-old Bafta EE Rising Star winner Bukky Bakray in the lead role.

Karina Michel

I Am is directed by the award-winning Ludovica Musumeci (The Wick) and deals with the subject of schizophrenia. Starring Oriane Pick (Call It A Day, Say Your Name), the film is written by, directed by and stars a full female cast. Both I Am and Self-Charm are in post-production and will be doing the festival circuit in 2021.

Karina, who was previously a model and actor, said she never expected to get into producing. But she feels that transitioning from acting to producing 11 years ago was the best move she’s ever made, calling it her “true calling”.

And in 2020, mental health was at the forefront of Karina’s mind.

She said: “I dealt with a lot of loss, like many people. In September my father passed away in the UK and I was stuck in the US, feeling isolated. I never thought I could deal with something like that. But in a way, I came out of this much stronger and more resilient than ever, even fearless.”

Bukky Bakray

In the midst of this Karina started a podcast, Coffee with Karina, which she says was very healing. She chats with guests who share advice about working in the entertainment industry, and she says it helped her get through a difficult year.

She says, “With these films and conversations, we hope to put the word out there that it's ok to not be ok, and to get help. The more people hear and talk about mental health, the more accepted it will become in everyday life.”

Ella Greenwood