Selassie Yao: The Filmmaker Carving A Niche For Himself With Captivating Stories

Selassie Yao is a scriptwriter, producer and film director

Selassie Yao is a passionate filmmaker who dedicated himself to the art of filmmaking from a very tender age.

According to the award-winning scriptwriter, he has been writing scripts since his senior high school days in Mawuli School, but started writing professionally after university. Most of his earlier scripts were for church drama, he revealed.

Selassie Yao holding his ‘Outstanding Writing Award’

“I’ve always enjoyed telling stories but then realized writing them came easier to me than telling them. So I started working on the art of writing. I could write anything, from music to poetry, but I loved movies a lot growing up and always saw myself becoming a filmmaker. I didn’t see myself doing anything else in this world,” he told Kuulpeeps.

After graduating from Valley View University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource, Selassie continued to the National Film And Television Institute (NAFTI) to study Film Directing. His studies at NAFTI polished and prepared him for a career in the film industry.

His breakthrough

Not too long after graduating from NAFTI in 2017, Selassie got a screenwriting job which he least expected. He was given the role of a scriptwriter for season 5 of YOLO. In attaining that feat, he is forever grateful to Mr Ivan Quashigah, the C.E.O of Farmhouse Productions.

Selassie Yao (middle), J. B. Peasah a.k.a Bra Charles/Drogda of YOLO fame (right)

According to him, writing scripts for YOLO was an amazing experience, especially creating the new characters.

“My biggest headache was if people would warm up to them [the new characters] as they did the existing ones and thankfully, the audience did not only warmed up to them, but they are also in love with them,” he said.

Selasi was honoured for his amazing writing skills with the ‘Outstanding Writing Award’ at the 2019 Ghana TV Series Awards.

It did not end there for him. He also got the opportunity to write scripts for Stryke – a new TV series created by Farmhouse Productions – which features movie stars like Aaron Adatsi, Jeneral Ntatia, Priscilla Opoku Agyemang (Ahoufe Patri) and many others.

Stryke TV Series

Aside from YOLO and Stryke, Selassie has also written scripts for other projects which, according to him, are all in various stages of production.

“I’ve done a whole lot… About 3 movies and 4 other series… they are all in various stages of development. Some are being shot, others have been shot and yet to be released and then a few are in pre-production.”

Producing and directing

Selassie has directed some of the biggest shows on national television. In 2020, Selassie directed TV3’s ‘Talented Kids’ show, and also was the assistant director for ‘Ghana’s Most Beautiful’ and ‘Mentor’.

He also owns a film production company, SkyWorks Productions, which he founded in 2016. He produced his first short film titled Valentine Day Gift and followed that up with a web series titled Jinja. Selassie describes his first two productions as “experimental films” since he was just trying his hands on producing and directing.

SkyWorks Prodcutions

He further indicated that the aim of his company, aside from creating quality content, is to create opportunities for young people, that would help them see the arts, culture and entertainment industry as a viable business venture.

“Our mission is to use entertainment as a medium of behavioural change communication to help bring the needed change in Ghanaian society,” he added.

New Project

Selassie is currently directing a TV series titled Barz, which, according to him, is a musical drama that focuses on the lives of up and coming musicians.

Barz TV series

“It’s just like any drama series but the fact that the story focuses on musicians means there would be some element of music in it. So contrary to some misconceptions, it’s not a musical where a majority of the dialogue is sung,” he explained.

“The storyline in itself is very captivating, and the songs are going to be instant hits. The series would highlight some of the difficulties people in the creative field go through, why some make it and others don’t, as well as other societal issues,” he added.

Barz is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2021.


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