I wanted to have a conversation about race. So I did.
Telling the stories of the often unheard.
Last week I hosted an intimate screening of my directorial debut film, for friends, family and cast members at RSA House and it was the most vulnerable I have ever felt on stage.
In 2016, I had a sequence of life events that left me feeling completely and utterly lost. In a bid to start reconnecting with myself, I started to create again, just for me. I had forgotten how creating is so vital to expression and to who I am. It is also a form of self care.
On a whim, I applied for a place on a short course funded by Creative Skillset in collaboration with the BFI to encourage more female and BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) writers, directors and producers in the British film and TV industry – I got accepted. I felt like an imposter there the whole time but I pushed through and met some incredible human beings (some who attended) and it was one of the best things I ever done for myself. I started creating, writing and expressing and joining more and more creative spaces. And after 12 months, with the help of two of the most incredible cinematographers; The Wedding Filmmakers, OTHER, my directorial debut film, is the result of this journey.
On December the 4th, I hosted an intimate screening for nearest and dearest at one of my favourite event spaces in London, the beautiful RSA House, Durham Street Screening Room their incredible underground vault theatre surrounded by preserved 18th Century cobbled pavement originally built-in the 1700’s.
Despite horrendous nerves, it was magical. I have never felt so vulnerable on stage and equally, I have also never felt so free to express who I am and share stories of the often unheard.
I still don’t have the words so I’m going to share a few words from some of our guests instead:
“Thought-provoking, mindset challenging masterpiece”
“OTHER was a very moving experience and I heard more sense and honesty in two hours in a room than I’ve heard in a lifetime of “discussion about race” in this country. Warm, forgiving, forthright and honest”
“I’m not afraid to say it made me cry. I’m struggling to assemble the words to describe the profound impact OTHER has had on me. So for now I’m going to say thank you Nova Reid and the incredible cast for sharing their experiences and opening my eyes to so much tonight. I know there is still an enormous amount to learn, but I am so very ready to listen and to do everything I possibly can to be a better ally”
“Directorial debut? You could have fooled me”
This would not have been possible without incredible Adam and Rachel of The Wedding Filmmakers for capturing the film and what was “in my head” so beautifully, my absolutely selfless cast: Denise, Seyi, Jumi, Damyan, Miriam, Tobi, for trusting me with their stories. Elegant hosts RSA House , my sponsors at MeWe360, Laura Babb for coming to my rescue in the final hour, wonderful Nicola from A Life More Inspired for hosting our cast Q&A.
And a VERY special thanks to Malkia Roberts for beautifying me with make up, and Elly Lucas wonderful human, musician and photographer for capturing these beautiful moments.
I am spending some time thinking about the next steps for the film and look forward to being able to share it with you in 2019.
For now here’s a little teaser:
Here’s to more creativity in 2019 in whatever form it is for you.
Dare to dream. You never know what might happen.
Photography: Elly Lucas