Tope Babalola is just 20 years old, yet he's experienced more success than some people twice his age. This week he'll celebrate the premiere of a new film.
Babalola is in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Manitoba, with plans to major in English and eventually go into education. It seems fitting after his education in primary school provided a way for him to discover and explore his creativity.
He was a student at Springs Christian Academy in Winnipeg from kindergarten through grade 12. "I had a lot of favourite teachers through the years, but in terms of what I'm doing now, one of the teachers I'm still close to now is Mike Dyer."
Dyer teaches various media courses at SCA, and it was those courses that gave Babalola a chance to hone his craft.
In an email to CHVN, Dyer said about Babalola, "He’s published two books, written a screenplay for child actors, worked with them all year (directing, filming, editing) is an After Effects genius and generally doesn’t sleep, he just oozes creativity."
Dyer wasn't exaggerating.
Published two books
"I've been doing creative writing stuff for as long as I can remember," Babalola says.
When he was in grade seven he self-published his first book. In grade nine and 10 he self-published two novels.
"It was interesting because I had been writing since such a young age. I would write short stories and print them out and then get some cardboard and make my own hardcover books," he says. When the opportunity came as a 12-year-old to work with publishers and design an actual book he says it was inspiring.
Movie premieres this week
Not only has he put out three books, but this week will see the premiere of his third film project with SCA's elementary school.
"Every year we keep improving with the equipment we have," he says.
Benjamin Bartlett tells the story of a young detective. "The idea is there's a kid detective that needs to solve a mystery after their school's star athlete has been framed for a crime."
Babalolo wrote, edited, and directed the film, which features students from SCA's grades five and six classes.
The film debuts at SCA's elementary school campus (595 Lagimodiere Blvd.) on Thursday, May 10, at 6:00 p.m. The doors open at 5:15 p.m.
Tickets are $5.00 each and a concession will also be available.