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West African nurse creates biopic based on her life

DEBUT: Helen Surtees

A WEST AFRICAN nurse now living in London has used turning 50 to create a feature film based on her own life.

Cameroon-born Helen Surtees saw hitting the landmark birthday a couple of years ago as the perfect opportunity to recreate the twists and turns of her own life on the big screen – and is now getting prepared for the film’s launch.

Victims – Love Games will have its premiere at the Hilton Hotel, Dartford, on Saturday, September 22, complete with a cocktail reception and red carpet. Helen was raised in K-Town (Kumba) in the English-speaking part of Cameroon, graduated in nursing from Brighton University in 1998 and moved to her present home in Thamesmead, south-east London, ve years later.

She even brings this globetrotting tale – full of her own romantic twists and turns – to life by lming at the exact locations where the events happened across Cameroon, France and London.

CHALLENGES

It is no documentary, though, as the heroine, Agnes, is played by an actress who resembles Helen’s younger self. But that couldn’t stop Helen from starring in the film in another role.
As well as being an executive producer, Helen and her friend Mercy ended up directing scenes in France when co- director Prince Okoye couldn’t make it.

Nkwai Nkwin also helped direct the Cameroon scenes. After facing so many challenges, she could not just give up, and is happy to see the lm through to its premiere. Helen is already busy enough with her daytime job as an NHS nurse, not to mention running the family household with her husband and teenage sons, but she is considering a follow-up production after the success of Victims – Love Games.

Until then, Helen’s message is: “The main achievement for me is to show how much talent we have but it is hidden until challenges bring them out.”

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