Nathan Adabadze is the Co-Producer of the short film Alpha & Omega. He took some time out to talk us through how he will do the film justice on a limited budget and representing the Rastafari culture accurately.
Given that the Rastafarian culture is something we rarely see on our TV screens, do you feel this storyline is marketable?
Definitely! As films like Get Out and Moonlight, TV shows like Atlanta and Fresh Off The Boat have shown, audiences are craving new and unique stories to be told.
If anything, the fact that Rastafarian culture is rarely explored on TV screens should work to our advantage. It will peak the interest of people who know nothing about the religion or culture and furthermore those that do know about the culture or are a part of it will be dying to see themselves accurately portrayed on screen.
However, as much as this film will try and give insight into the Rastafari beliefs and customs it’s also trying to demonstrate that Rastafari people are just like you and me. Ultimately the film is about a woman, who finds out she has a progressive illness and struggles to come to terms with this, ultimately putting a strain on her relationship with her partner. These are all universal experiences we can relate to and therefore should make the film all the more marketable.
As a Producer do you get involved in writing/rewriting the script to adapt to how you wish to produce the film?
It depends! In the last couple of months Smashed Screen Films have produced a National Film & Television School production, which although we did provide a bit of feedback on the script, this was nowhere near the same level of development that was put into Alpha & Omega.
I think particularly because Chloe Tai (my co-founder) is directing it, we decided to use our monthly development workshop “The Smashed Screen Film Collective” to table read, get feedback and bounce ideas off of people external to the production team and developed the initial script over a period of 6-8 months.
We were also lucky enough to be finalists in Triforce/Shorts TV’s The Pitch competition and although unsuccessful, we received feedback that we’ll use to tweak the script further before going into production next month.
Given that you have a limited budget, what will be the most important thing for you in ensuring you do this script justice?
Providing time for the actors and director to properly rehearse the script, create memorable characters and ensure the director has everything she needs to make the film that she wants to make.
There may have to be concessions regarding camera and lighting equipment, locations, and props depending on how much money we’re able to raise through competitions, personal finance, and crowdfunding. However, ultimately this piece will crumble or flourish as a result of the actors’ performances.
It’s Dominique (my co-producer) and I’s job to, regardless of the budget available, create the most comfortable environment for the director before the shoot, to create her vision. Furthermore, during the shoot, it’s my job to take all the distractions away so that she can focus solely on how to tell the story and get the most truthful performances as possible out of the actors.
Will the lack of funding be the biggest challenge for you in producing this film?
Ultimately yes, for all of the reasons outlined above. We do live in an age where you can make a film using your I-phone and I’m in no-way knocking those films. However, we have big ambitions for this project on the short film festival circuit and that generally speaking requires a certain level of production value and hence finance.
With a piece like this, colour, set design and costume is hugely important in creating the distinct world the characters inhabit. Lighting and camera moves are also subtly used to influence audiences’ emotions subconsciously. Our production budget will ultimately dictate what we’re able to shoot.
Funding will also dictate the locations we’re able to source, how much time we’re able to spend at each location, the number of days we’re able to rent equipment for and the size of our crew. Luckily we’re a production team that’s used to hustling. Whether we have to beg, borrow or steal (maybe not steal), we’re going to make this film. What’s life without a challenge!