DON OKOLO, a Houstonian and Nigerian native, arrived in the United States in 1975. His name is synonymous with outstanding movies and fascinating and enchanting books. He is regarded as one of Nollywood’s most elite writers and directors, and is considered one of the top undiscovered talents around. With a skill like his, “undiscovered” is soon to be a word of the past when it comes to this gifted man. “The Don,” as he is affectionally known among his peers, is a force to be reckoned with in the world of literary art. His writing style is intense and he is a beast when it comes to prose.
Reading any of his books, one could never imagine that Don Okolo once considered himself a most inferior writer. He had no grasp of the English language and could barely string together an error-free sentence. The thirst and drive for knowledge and excellence pertaining to the written word, gripped him tightly, refusing to let go; therefore, he set out on a quest of learning. His love of reading leaped to another level. He delved into semantics and communication, observed and listened deliberately to every conversation, those spoken directly to him and those spoken around him. Okolo developed an appetite for the written word, and he satisfied that hunger eventually, as it is undeniably portrayed in his novels and films. He scrutinized great authors and enrolled in Texas Southern University, earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science and his master’s degree in public administration. That was in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
Watching American television shows as a youngster, especially westerns, Don was fascinated by the quality of the scripts. The seed of writing and directing burst in his soul. Once he honed and polished his skills, he hastily began the journey to write and direct professionally. Working security one night in 1982, Don was forced to watch a poorly written and directed movie just to stay awake during his night shift. He cringed at how badly the entire screenplay had been created. He set out once again on another quest to learn how to direct movies. The morning following his shift, he headed to the nearest bookstore and purchased books on how to write and direct screenplays. Don’s newfound passion garnered him his first paid writing assignment in 1988, when he was asked to write The Jake Lindsey Story, the account of a United States Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II. Don still has a copy of the framed check-stub as a sentimental reminder.
Fast forward to 2014. Don finds himself back at Texas Southern University, this time, as Professor Okolo, teaching Writing for the Visual Media and Intro to Film. He is a vibrant, animated instructor who infuses his students with the same fervent desire for incredible writing as he himself embraces.
Don Okolo is an extraordinary storyteller. His passion for writing floats right off the pages of his novels and envelops you like a blanket. He has written five novels, with the sixth one, Blood Of Legends: Obijiaku & Nkolika, coming in the spring of 2015. His published book titles include; Blue Martini, Bargersville: The Fourth Gate, Yeshua, My Love, Twelve Million Nights and Sodom City.
Don is also the creative developer for the six-part pilot for a television series titled Bayou City Kings. His films have won him these prestigious awards: Best Screenplay, International Best Director (Winner), Best Film Finalist, and his most recent honor, Canada’s International Film Festival 2015 Rising Star Award.
As a result of his passion for storytelling, Don Okolo has established himself as an independent filmmaker and screenplay writer. He has served as writer and director of four feature-length films, with as many as thirty screenplays to his credit. Some of his film credits include: Material Witness, The Kangaroo, The Stalk Exchange, Return of the Exile, Gem of the Rainforest, and most recently, Pound of Flesh.
With the passion, enthusiasm and dedication that Don brings to his craft, it is only a matter of time before he reaches the recognition that is so well deserved.