Director Sheila Nortley has been selected to direct ‘I Am Mary’, the third part of the ‘I Am…’ series.

This series of ornate and cinematic shorts are based on iconic figures from the traditional Christmas story with a modern twist and highly diverse cast. Nortley tackles the first female protagonist, Mary.  

“I am always fascinated by the concept of what it means to be a ‘strong woman’ or a ‘strong black woman’” says Nortley. “The mask that we’re all forced to wear when in fact we may be heartbroken or breaking. If we could remove that mask from Mary – one of the most revered women in the Abrahamic faiths – then perhaps we could all consider removing our masks, allow ourselves to be vulnerable and heal.”  

In this modern retelling written by Kay Jegede, Colette Dalaltakes on the title role of Mary.  

Having seen the previous episodes, what story does Nortley hope to tell? “There were many dynamics to the story including trauma, survivor guilt, vulnerability; dispelling myths about what it means to be a strong woman is something I’m personally very passionate about. I really connected with the script”    

I am Mary is Nortley’s second directorial role and continues to solidify her place as the future of compelling British cinema. The film follows its predecessors I Am Joseph (2019) and I Am Pilate (2020) directed by Tomisin Adepeju and Femi Oyeniran respectively.      

“We wanted to humanise Mary and in doing so allow an audience to not only empathise with her but present a Mary who could be relatable enough to learn from”

“The truth is most of have experienced heartache or trauma – many of us are still carrying it or experiencing it – after a difficult year for all we wanted to give a message of hope at this poignant and reflective time of year.”  

The short, and “I AM” series, is produced by Stephané Alexandre. Working alongside an award-winning young and sundry team, including BAFTA and Emmy award-winner Matthew Barrett and BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Miles Ridgway, Stephané is bringing Four8’s inspired, inclusive creativity to the forefront.

I Am Mary is available on YouTube now.


Editor’s Notes

• Sheila Nortley is available for interviews. For management and press opportunities please contact Juanita Rosenior at TGRG at

• You can visit the official Sheila Nortely website at

• I Am Joseph has been featured in Academy Award qualifying festivals, with the most recent short, I Am Pilate being both BIFA and BAFTA qualifying.

• You can visit the official I Am Mary website at