Black & African Cinema is in good hands

So i recently watched MOTHER OF GEORGE , the Andrew Dosunmu film that won a Cinematography Award at Sundance. Having watched his debut feature RESTLESS CITY a few weeks before seeing MoG, i realize that, like Spike Lee’s penchant for African American stories, Dosunmu has one for the story of Africans in diaspora.

His partnership with Cinematographer Bradford Young produces very rich visuals which are a delight to look at, and i personally love how they shoot Black skin. Dosunmu’s fashion photography background is very clear in his compositions and his art direction, and his love to traditional African music and classic artists is clear and present. Though his films are very arty and sometimes get carried away in their own beauty thereby creating a disconnet, i do think he is an interesting director and i look foward to his next outing, especially if he reteams up with Bradford Young. Like Spike Lee who has a long creative partnership with his DP, Ernest Dickerson, Dosunmu and Young may be another great Nubian duo.

Young is also a rising star in the cinematography world and has also worked with Ava DuVernay and Dee Rees. Now im not one to look at films/people/talent based on shade of Melanin, but i do think that the rise of someone like Young and his collaboration with these directors is a great thing for both Black and African cinema. His available light style and his visual versatilty has won him Cinematography Award, U.S. Dramatic, Sundance Film Festival for lensing “Pariah”,”Mother of George” and “Aint them Bodies Saints”. At age 37 he still has a very long career ahead of him and if he keeps up the momentum, in another 20 years we could speak of him the way we speak of Deakins and Willis now.

Dosunmu was tapped to direct the Fela biopic that Steven McQueen had been previously attached to, and even if that doesnt work out, i hope to see him shoot a film in Lagos one day and see how he brings that delicious visual style of his to the city of excellence.

Bradford Young

NIGERIA WINS AT SUNDANCE – Mother of ……..

So i’m on facebook the other day,and saw some chatter about Mother of George. Apparently it has won a cinematography award at Sundance. First, it didn’t sink in, until i decided to go to YouTube and check out the trailer again. Then i saw the delicious visual palette on display and i found myself watching it over and over again.

Then the realization. A Nigerian film, directed by a Nigerian , telling a Nigerian story won at Sundance, one of the worlds most respected film festivals. That’s quite an achievement.

Now, i really don’t know what that means for Nigerian film makers as a whole. For one thing it shows that we can make films at that level and of that mastery. It shows the world that we aren’t all defined by what is the popular way of film making that the world knows us for .

As Dosunmu is not based in Nigeria or a part of it’s popular industry , in not sure if that will make them think it’s a once in a blue moon event. But i do think it can inspire a lot of us to do better, same as “City of God” made us think WOW!! We can do this too.

I haven’t seen MoG, but from what i gather, it’s not a new story. It has been told hundreds of times by other home based directors, but like a friend of mine says, 5 directors can tell the same story, from the same script, what will distinct one from the other is the EXECUTION.

As the trailer has wet my appetite, i do hope the film it’s self will be satisfactory.

It really would be wonderful to see Dosunmu bring his visual flourish to the life and world of FELA, whose Biopic he has been selected to helm by Focus Features

I FIT DO BETTER PASS THIS ONE , NAH

 

There’s something about a feature debut that affects a directors career, sometimes that brilliant debut is what launches a director to getting any sort of project he wants to do. He’s given the keys to the city and it becomes his play ground. People like Tarantino and Soderberg experienced this when they arrived on the scene in the early 90’s. A brilliant feature debut, kinda says, look at what this guy achieved first time out, what else can he do? Let’s give him some money.

The thing about young film makers, the real hungry ones, that live and breath film, they are really eager to come out with something. Sometimes , it’s literally a painful experience for them, when they see some films come out, and they feel, i can do this, i could do better, or they just beat themselves up for not having made a feature to show the world what they can do. This tends to lead to making a film for the sake of making a film, just to have something in the festival circuit, just to have something to show, even if, it’s not what they really wanted to make, but a mix of desperation, anxiety and maybe a little insecurity leads to such a decision. While for the most part, it’s a desire to launch their career and have a calling card to show potential investors or clients,sometimes it doesn’t end in the result they so desperately desired. 

Thinking about that scenario made the quote below all the more poignant

This is my own personal philosophy about first films. I think first-time filmmakers should make a film when they’re ready to make a film and when they have a film that they’re dying to make. I think the worst reason to make a film is just to go out and make one—or because you want to go to Sundance, or you want to be like Quentin Tarantino. The reason to make a film is because you have a story you want to tell, you have something you really, really want to say. – GREGG ARAKI

What do you guys think? What do you think of making a movie just for the sake of getting something out there ? Pls leave a comment. Cheers