Tell Me About Ekwa!
I have written & directed several shorts, most recently award-winning comedy Soko Sonko (The Market King). My suspense-thriller, Taharuki (Suspense), prequel to my feature-in-development, Eastlands, is distributed by Shorts International, Inc. I have also written & directed several drama series for mainstream broadcasters in Kenya and MNET South Africa, including The Agency, MNET’s first ever original hour-long Kenyan drama series.
I was selected for the 2011 Babylon International Script Development Fund, the 2012 Focus Features’ Africa First Program, and the Berlin Talents 2016. I have taught as adjunct faculty at Tisch School of the Arts, I am the African Film Festival’s Youth Program resident instructor, and was a mentor in the 2015 Maisha Screenwriting Lab (in Swahili). This April I will release my first webseries All My Friends Are Married, while working on my first feature documentary about Tanzania’s first president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Tell Me About the Film and it's Inspiration.
Farewell Meu Amor is a film that I shot as part of the Ousmane Sembene Award which my film Soko Sonko received at the 2015 Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). (A cash award of $2000 was given to the top three filmmakers in order to shoot their next short film and premiere it at the following year’s ZIFF.) Our project has already been shot and has a premiere date, now all we have to do is finish it!
The story is a personal one, inspired by a close family member, and takes place on the morning when our protagonist’s world is about to change forever. His long estranged wife and son have finally been granted their American Visa and are arriving in New York after two decades of living apart, but in order to create space for his legal family, he must say goodbye to the only family he’s had up until that point – Linda.
What Are The Themes and Why?
I want to explore the theme of BLACK LOVE in this film, and specifically how it pertains to African people. Probably for religious reasons (among many others), the ways in which love, longing and relationship is discussed and portrayed in African film is very limiting. I’m hoping to expand to scope with this film. This film will be my third professional short film, and while I certainly have my sights set on bigger challenges (like a feature film!) I’m quite excited to work on this gem.
The immigrant story is one that’s very dear to me, and one that resonates especially while living in a city like Brooklyn where most everyone is an immigrant of sorts with all sorts of complex ties to their home countries and families. While we’re thrilled to have the award money, and we’ve specifically constructed the film to be as frugal and low-budget as possible, we still need a bit more to actually get us where we need to go. The story is very delicate and pensive, begging for an equally delicate and pensive edit, sound design and musical composition. Every little bit counts! Every film we’ve made together thus far has gone on to do big and beautiful things, so I invite you to do it yet again! Join us as we make another fabulous film in 2016!