It’s hard enough to break into the film industry, with gatekeeping, nepotism and oversaturation seeming to stagnate the scene as of late. Add the racial, social and economic hurdles that sadly permeate the industry and it seems near enough impossible. However – with their initiative ‘Create Next’, John Boyega and Converse are working to address and dismantle this: offering five rising London filmmakers 6 months of mentorship and sponsorship to produce a short film.
Last night saw the creatives premiere their 5 minute films for the first time in London. Hosting proceedings was Julie Adenuga, who spoke with John Boyega and the five filmmakers Ade Femzo, Kaylen Francis, Kemi Anna Adeeko, Lorraine Khamali and Ibrahim Muhammad about the trials and tribulations of creating their unique films, and what it was like to be mentored by John.
All producing entirely different but equally powerful takes on the brief ‘Create Next’, the creatives each wrote, directed and produced their work – with one even starring in theirs, too. Over six months, the process has seen each of the filmmakers have mentoring sessions and check points with John Boyega, as well as sessions with industry experts which included Script Writing & Storytelling with John Ogunz, Making Treatments (Abdou Cisse), Editing (Ola Christian Leon Carlton) and Casting (Xanthe).
Throughout the process the filmmakers were also given access to key London film industry networks such as cinematographers, editors, location scouts and music video producers. Speaking on the whole process, filmmaker Lorraine Khamali said “I feel like I’ve learnt so much from John, seeing his journey is very inspiring, seeing where he came from and seeing him go all the way and now he’s helping people like me get into the industry, it encourages more young people to stand up and make their own films and tell their own stories.”
Another of the filmmakers, Kemi Anna Adeeko, added that the whole process has “been such a growing experience. I’ve been pushed creatively and developed a lot of new skillsets. Converse have been so supportive, and John has been amazing to work with, always dropping gems and genuinely caring about our stories and our growth.”
At the premiere, John stressed that the major draw for him was in nurturing each filmmaker’s voice – something that will inevitably set the precedent for future creative endeavours and help carve their place in the industry. Culminating in a premiere in Central London which saw friends and family show up and out for the filmmakers, the atmosphere was celebratory: this may be the first we’re seeing of the young filmmakers, but it most definitely won’t be the last.
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