Banbury filmmaker hopes to "make a change" with new documentary project

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A filmmaker from Banbury hopes to raise awareness of women’s education in Rwanda in new documentary project

Jodi Ferguson was born and raised in Banbury but moved to New York at age eighteen to pursue a career in acting before turning her hand to directing films from her current base in Los Angeles.

The filmmaker has recently completed work on popular American TV series Magnum P.I. and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel but still has fond memories of her first onstage experiences at the Susan Taylor Dancing Academy.

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Jodi said: "After school, I studied performance and media at Stratford College. I always knew I wanted to act, so I moved to New York and studied acting there after college, but very soon after that I realised I wanted to direct.

The talented director and writer has worked on hit TV shows like Magnum P.I. and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.The talented director and writer has worked on hit TV shows like Magnum P.I. and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
The talented director and writer has worked on hit TV shows like Magnum P.I. and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

"I liked the idea that, as a director, you are able to play around with all of the characters and delve into the backgrounds of all of them. I’m definitely an actor's director!"

Jodie’s work has taken her all over the United States, from New York to Hawaii, but her latest film project will take her from the studios of Los Angeles to remote villages in the Rwandan countryside.

The two-week project is a documentary that looks at women’s education and empowerment in the central African country, focusing on the work charities are doing to provide scholarships and opportunities to young women.

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Jodie added: "These are the stories I want to tell—stories that can lead to change. We want to showcase the changes education can make in these girls' lives. The country has seen the teen mum rate drop considerably and the girls' confidence grow.

Jodi on the set of her award winning short film The Bountress.Jodi on the set of her award winning short film The Bountress.
Jodi on the set of her award winning short film The Bountress.

"It’s hopefully going to be a really beautiful film that also shows the work charities are doing and the wonderful stories of the women over there. We will be following the inspiring journey of these women as they fight for their rights and empowerment in a society where women’s education is often overlooked."

Jodi is currently back in Banbury as a writers strike in the States, which she is supporting, has caused the film and television industries to come to a halt. She is spending the time preparing for the Rwanda project, which she has already put a month of pre-production work into.

She said: "I’m so excited for this project, I’m looking forward to sitting down with these women and getting to know them and gain insight into their every-day lives. Some of these women have already accomplished such amazing things, and seeing the changes and differences it has made in their lives through education is just amazing."

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As well as the upcoming Rwandan documentary, Jodi has put together a short film entitled ‘Bonds’, which takes a look at the foster care system and will be released later this month.

She said: "My goal with ‘Bonds’ is to give people a better understanding of the life of a foster child. We don’t see much content about kids in care, and there is a lot, so I’m hoping this will be beneficial to general audiences but also to social workers, foster parents, and people considering fostering."

To keep up to date with Jodi’s film releases, visit her Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/jodi.ferguson/?hl=en or her YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/@jodifergusonproductions/videos