An homage fashion film to the exclamation point!
Interview with Director Sewra G Kidane
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you so much!!!! The short answer to why I made the film is because I wasn't editing the type of fashion work I wanted to cut. So I made the film I ideally wanted to cut. The scenic route reason why is, along with not feeling fulfilled with the kind of projects I was cutting at the time, I also wanted to make a fashion film featuring Black models focusing on Black beauty, because even after allllll this time, I still don't see enough Black models featured in the fashion and beauty world. And I'm not seeing Black models featured in fashion films. It's verrrrry rare! I also miss when fashion was fun! It's boring now lol!! Everything is the same and everyone looks the same.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
You would want to watch this film because it's NOTHING like you've ever seen before, it's also very unexpected, because you really have no idea which way the film is going to take you, and lastly, it will validate your own unrestrained use of exclamation points!!!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Everyone appreciates beauty, style and taste and I like to bring those aspects to everything I create.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
It hasn't changed all that much since it's original conception!!! When I came up with the idea, I reached out to my friend and writer Yvonne Durant, with fingers double crossed that she would say YES to writing the script! I told her the title of the film, what it's about, some phrases and so forth. There was an initial draft, that Ms. Yvonne wrote, but her 2nd draft was the golden ring!!!
There was one scene that was in the script that was cut out during the edit. It's funny because it's the only part of the whole script that was difficult to get right. The lead actress, Ayo Janeen Jackson; and I struggled with it during rehearsal. We struggled with it when we shot it and it would not work for nada while I was cutting it!
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Everyone who sees it LOOVES it, and that has surprised me!!! It always gets a huge applause when it's screened, People have shared with me that they feel much better about using a lot of exclamation points!! Black women have shared with me that they feel empowered watching Miss Ayo's performance and her presence on screen!! And of course, people respond to the fashion!! Chandra Moore, who styled the film, took the look of the film to a whole other level!!! She's an integral part of my creative team!!
People also really responded to the fashion! They love the main dress and the last shot of the film always gets an out loud group response!!! It's really nothing you've seen before and that was the whole point. To create something different!! Not everyone knows what a 'fashion film' is outside of the genre, so to hear general film audiences respond so clearly to the fashion is mission accomplished!!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback has surprised me in a good way, because in the beginning when I would tell people about the film and show them a couple of images, I would get the "head tilt to the side" look. I wasn't sure if people would get the idea of the film.... I thought it was going to be too wordy for people and they would miss things! But I was worried for nothing!!! It let me know that my point of view and voice is appreciated and needed now.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I'd like the film to reach a larger audience outside of the film festival circuit. It's a great, fun layered message and it's a film you'll always remember! It's also a piece that makes you feel good. I named my production company Gee Spot Cine, because I want to make fashion films that literally make you feel good... make you smile after you've viewed it and enjoy your experience!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
An assistant would be a godsend right about now!!! I'd like a producing partner on my train, who's as passionate as I am about creating fashion films!!! I have a lot of ideas and to have a partner who focuses on the "HOW", so I can focus on the "WHAT" would make things soooo fluid!! I'd also want Journalists to spread the word and Sales Agents to focus on the "WHO" all on my train!!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
The long-term impact is to be a part of changing what the standard of beauty looks like in media for Black women.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
A good conversation starter is ... "What does it look like when Black women unapologetically create their own standard of beauty?"
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Since "Proclamation Punctuation", I've directed 3 films, and Chandra was a part of all three doing the styling and wardrobe design. The first was a fashion film; "Destination Ooshie", for resort wear designer, Ooshie. That was the first client piece I did. I love how it came out!!! I can watch it over and over and over.
The 2nd piece I did is "Fifty Four Eleven: An Ode To The Round The Way Girl", an art film for Hycide magazine. I was asked to create a short film for their next issue, so I created a very layered piece dedicated to Black girls in my neighborhood who I grew up with and around...the girls in my family and my friends. I'm looking forward to sharing it once it's ready to be released!
And the last piece I did, is my follow-up fashion film. It's completely different from "Proclamation Punctuation"! VERY!!!! It's a take on the 2nd Law Of The Universe; the Law of Correspondence... As Above, So Below. I'm cutting it now! Michael Cooke, who Dp'd "Proclamation Punctuation" returned to lens it. And Chandra did her THING with the wardrobe!! She and I joke saying ... "Y'all ain't ready!!!!" LOL!!! And y'all ain't!!
Interview: April 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
An homage fashion film to the exclamation point!
Director: Sewra G Kidane
Producer: Namakula Musoke
Writer: Yvonne Durant
About the writer, director and producer:
An advertising copywriter, essayists and articles writer, an author of two manuscripts making their rounds, and a couple of scripts somewhere out there, all Durant knows is writing.
She’s worked on major ad campaigns in many categories and was a creative supervisor in Milan, Italy for seven years. Durant’s work has appeared in major magazines and newspapers and is included in three anthologies – Best Food Writing 2002, Tenderheaded – A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories and Block by Block, a collection of essays dedicated to Jane Jacobs.
When she’s not earning a living writing, she spends her free time writing!
Sewra G Kidane is a New York City based, award winning Commercial Film Editor, with over 10 years of experience editing with some of New York City’s top advertising agencies, networks and heavy hitters in the music industry. Her love for working with fashion and beauty based film projects lead her to want to direct her own and first fashion film.
Noticing Black film and Black fashion missing from the fashion film circuit, Ms. Kidane decided to create her own lane and fashion film. Having been in the post production industry for upwards of 15 years, Ms. Kidane curated a select group of skilled and creative colleagues blazing paths in their own respective lanes to work on Proclamation Punctuation.
Creating stretches farther than just creative editing, and now directing. She is also an accomplished jeweler of her own line; Waist Beads by Sewra, specializing in artistry beading and contemporary waist beads; an ancient tradition of adornment.
Editing and beading go hand in hand, as one inspires the other to push forward. Waist bead designs, like edit cuts, start off as distinct separate elements, that in the end, come together to form a beautifully strung ensemble.
Namakula is a passionate media artist with over 15 years experience working in the US, England and Spain, as an editor and actor/producer. She’s worked with many respected directors, (such as; Spike Lee, Joe Pytka, Matthew Rolston and Randy Krallman), in addition to collaborating with prominent clients and ad agencies. Some include; Verizon, Maybelline, Smirnoff, NIKE, The MoMA, McCann and Ogilvy.
As a result of Namakula’s experience in the production, post and talent sides, her tentacles are quite expansive, enabling her to tap into a diverse and vast network. Her teams on the projects she produces are typically a unique and cohesive assembly of talent and good energy.
Namakula loves creating provocative, entertaining work and thrives on traveling and connecting with forward thinkers of diverse backgrounds. Born out of her love of co-creation and comradery, she recently launched her branding/management business, Agent 99 Reps. Through this venture, she is creating content, branding and consulting for small businesses. In addition to managing creatives, helping them successfully navigate their careers and artistic projects.
Key cast: Ayo Janeen Jackson
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Producers, Sales Agents, Buyers, Distributors, Journalists
Social media handles: @SewraGee
Instagram: @SewraGee / @GeeSpotCine (film updates)
Other: SewraKidane.com / ProclamationPunctuation.com
Funders: Lazelle F Williams
Made in association with: Gee Spot Cine
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?
It's on festival tour! It will be playing in Cannes France this month at the Festival International du Film PanAfricain and again at Lincoln Center in NYC in May at the African Fim Fetsival!!! Follow @GeeSpotCine on IG and ProclamationPunctuation.com for list of screenings! Once the festival tour is over, it will be available to stream online at ProclamationPunctuation.com! You can join the mailing list for updates!