Multiple-award winning filmmaker, Obi Emelonye, who was recently inducted into Directors UK, a premier league of film, TV, and stage directors in the United Kingdom has completed his latest film, ‘Black Mail.’
OC Ukeje, who now lives in Canada, played the lead role in the flick shot in the UK. Others supported him from Russia, China, United Kingdom and West Indies.
Commenting on the new film, his first since his induction into Directors UK, Emelonye explained that the prevalence of white characters in ‘Black Mail’ is not to justify his membership of the elite directors’ league.
He said, “Describing the film as almost an all-white cast is not something I want to do with a sense of pride. What I will say is that I owe it to my people to tell their stories, from an African point of view as an African. Although my leading character in the film is black, it portrays the way we live when we others who are not Africans surround us. The film has Russians, Britons, Chinese and people from West Indies, supporting the lead actor.
“Every filmmaker tells a story from his substratum, according to his influences. People are better positioned to tell impactful stories emanating from where they are located. I have been living in Europe for over 25 years. Over time, I have imbibed a bit of the European spirit, but that has not diluted my African-ness. It, however, has enriched who I am as an African, and that is reflected in my works. If I tell a story of an African in Europe, I will do so in a manner it will be palatable to audiences around the world. So, it is natural that my transnational experiences will always colour my stories outside of Nigeria. I think it enriches; we cannot always tell stories about people in the forests with clothes around their chests. “We have to tell aspirational stories, stories that connect us to the world, especially now that the world is a global village. I have four films on Netflix and people are watching from Russia, Slovenia, China and other locations. What we have is an African connection with a global attitude. African characters in a cosmopolitan world.”
The suspense-filled ‘Black Mail’ tells the story of how a single email, received by a black man, triggered a chain of unprecedented events in his white-dominated neighbourhood.