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Nalina Okey: from Sarah Redfern High to the film industry

Meet Nalina Okey, a rising star of the film industry at the age of 21. Ms Okey, who arrived in Australia – and Campbelltown – from Vietnam in 2012, did not endear herself to her parents when she told them of her intentions to get involved in film making.

“This was my mum’s worse nightmare – women don’t produce films, she would say to me,’’ says Ms Okey, who attended Sarah Redfern High School.

Her latest effort is The Ghost of Kelly Winters, a short film currently in post production.

The film will be submitted to more than a dozen international festivals before being released through a streaming video platform for a global audience.

Ms Okey joined forces with Talin Agon, a film maker from the other side of Sydney, to produce The Ghost of Kelly Winters.

The pair recruited a swathe of talented filmmakers, including director Cristobal Olguin, Susan Lumsdon, accomplished and well known SBS and ABC cinematographer, and The Today Show’s makeup artist, Melody Mashhadian, who brought this Christmas horror to life.

The film centres on Marion, who recklessly contributed to her best friend’s death the previous year, and has now lost all connection to the real world and consequently begins to lose her grip on what is actually happening, as opposed to what she thinks is happening.

“The inspiration for the film actually came from the Urban Story, where a young woman appears on Wakehurst Parkway,’’ says Ms Okey, who has established her own production company, Okey Films.

In 2018 she was selected as one of two emerging producers from Western Sydney to work on an ABC and Screen Australia TV Series.

Ms Okey has also worked as assistant director in Universal Music Video, Create NSW funded- short film, and a feature film called Kickons that is now streaming on digital platforms.

She made her first film at the age of 17 in 2015 for Qantas: Feels Like Home Campaign and officially produced her first feature film when she was 19.

 “I want to produce films that reach international markets, films that represent diversity, strength, women empowerment and under-represented demographic,’’ she says.

“I have always wanted to be a film-maker ever since I was a kid.

“I have always been a story teller and I first started telling stories through writing.

“When I first came to Australia in 2012, English was a strong language barrier. Therefore, I wanted to do tell stories in a universal art form, which was film,’’ says Ms Okey.

 She plans to join forces again with Talin Agonfor a whimsical comedy about a curious magpie and his human friend, which will begin pre-production in November this year.

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