Director/Producer of Son of Gomorrah
This interview was published on June 23, 2021
What was the inspiration behind making this short film?
‘Son of Gomorrah’ is a personal creative exercise, it is one of my experimental short film were I tried to narrate the last hour escapade of a gangster before his death with the intention to capture a killer’s story within a particular timeline. I have always believe that there are conflicts in the mind of every man in that last moment of executing key decisions wether good or bad because our affirmation of what is good or bad is flawed and prejudiced therefore the possibility of holding back or going forward can mean a lot of different things to different people. For instance when Allen was pointing the gun and about to pull the trigger that killed his girlfriend, it took him quiet a bit of time to do so, not because he cant kill but because it will change some thing in him. I tried the momentum of the soundtrack to build towards his intension of right and wrong.
My influence is peculiar within the premise of telling African stories in a manner that is unique and without straying from a plot structure of character building. I wanted to experiment with a film where dialogue are less engaged but through action and emotion.I have always wanted to grow my filmmaking intelligence and skills by building a fully developed character within a short space of narrative timeline.
It is difficult to build such timeline because you will always find yourself sacrificing some certain element to achieve anything that can accommodate such narratives. As a film director, I love to see actors expressing themselves to their fullest and without hindrance because I want them to perform more from their heart than froM their head. To me when acting is too intelligent and perfect if affect how the audience invest in their emotion in the narratives and also how they participate in the experience of the characters.
Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?
Filmmaking is hard and consuming, every short film project presents it is own challenges. ‘Son of Gomorrah’ was not a perfect story, it is a basic narrative that is complex to execute. I remember during the day two on the set of ‘Son of Gomorrah’, the script was not driving my creative intention. The location was full of elemental characters that i had to switch the concept to the benefit of the location and give more capacity for improvisation. The experimental concept is not to make the actors engage each other in conversations because my intention was to subtitle their though processes, while they connect emotionally with non-verbal feedback.
The experiment presents its own challenges even in post production because I allowed the story to tell and drive itself to a direction and a particular precipitated conclusion to support the visuals. Scripts are important but if it stands in the way of performances I would rather compromise the dialogue to give more space for performance that comes from the heart than the strict lines that comes from the head.
How has the short film been received?
The short film has its share of criticism but at the moment, it has been selected, nominated and shortlisted for 2021 AFFA festival awards, although I see it more as an average narratives that could be better because it was personal creative experiment, I wasn’t really thinking of audience accepting the short film with a “waow” factor.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
I’m always working on film projects. I am actually in the post production and re-mastering of my feature film ‘Les Mascaraders’. while i am prepping for my next feature film production ‘Eiye Olongo’ (Black Robin) principal photography will start in the coming months. In fact my desk is always full of production timeline and options because I am more grounded in Afrocentric narratives because my audiences are blacks and Africans in the diaspora. I get self-absorbed in any story or creative plots that explore issues of immigration, black identity and African culture, or social dilemma, they always suck me in hence most of my film intend to explore those thematic preoccupation.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?
Finding your voice in the creative universe takes alot years, time and practices. My best advice to young filmmaker is for them to relentlessly pursue their expression and not to be confined to or by any particular directorial influence. The film audience taste is changing and it changes rapidly either through technology or social conformation. Unfortunately there is no creative or corporate promotion in the filmmaking career but experience is the goal.It’s therefore pivotal that the journey to becoming a lucrative filmmaker is also remunerated with experience that is full of both failure and success. Try to tell a good story in your own way because good story is the bedrock of cinema.
And finally, be a filmmaker who knows his tool, enhance yourself with technical skills that is peculiar to the department of filmmaking – be a director who is skilled film editing, lighting or cinematography. It makes your creative processes more mature and elevates your depth of creative understanding to a dynamic height