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Film Director Dire, Screenwriter/Published author Abuah Martins and Actor/Musician Molawa ‘Judo’ Davies of Miscell Entertainment talk to filmrats about their recent project FLAWLESS and their career in the arts.
So, Dire, why have you chosen to make films?
Dire: Storytelling is something that has always been with me. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t think about a scenario, or play out alternatives to various situations in my head. I’ve also loved the idea of people empathizing with what is made up or what they’re made to believe, because it can really reinforce someone’s core or values. It spurs me to keep creating in any form or manner. Filmmaking and stage directing just became a natural means for me to express myself and my thoughts.
I find the recent project with your team very interesting. Tell us about this project and how it came about
Dire: Okay, the plan to make FLAWLESS was birthed during the lockdown last year. Martins and I came up with a bunch of short scripts that kind of motivated us to making this big move. Like I mentioned earlier, storytelling is basically impulsive, so as soon as we started coming up with ideas for a web series, the content just flowed naturally. The intention was to create short comical visuals that tell different trippy stories underlining the fact that nothing, in its entirety, is flawless. From ideation to completion, we kept that in mind. Flawless is literally meant to entertain and educate you. Flawless is also about the actor and how they can translate these crazy experiences into realistic representations.
These episodes have been sure “trippy”. The literal nature of some experiences – like the officers eating the currency notes. It fuses certain genres rather interestingly. How would you categorize it?
Dire: Haha yes. The law and hunger episode is a personal favorite. I’d call our style of filmmaking “experimental”. Mainly because we’re seeking to appeal to an audience that has not been fully reached out to.
The concept sparks a variety of socio-economic and political commentary that should appeal to this “audience that has not been fully reached”. Who and where are these audiences and how do you think they can be reached effectively?
Martins: It is as Dire said. We wanted to portray our society differently, something our society will sit down to watch and enjoy. Our crux was human perfection in a not so perfect world. We see it everywhere; everyone expects everyone to act a particular way but they forget each person has worries, and those worries drive their daily actions, their perception of things, and their reactions.
The suffocation of and in Nigeria played a huge role in the development of the episodes and we tried to embody that. We see the “frustrated man” in Road Rage, the “forceful mechanic” in LTK, and the “hungry policemen” in Law and Hunger, all acting out their wishes and forgetting the other man. But they can’t be blamed for their actions as they, themselves, are experiencing the misfortune of living in a world of endless, maddening circles. This is what flawless is about. It is for us to sit and talk about our flaws that we continually permit, and have a good time while at it.
Good. A satire?
Martins: Yes, but in some episodes, we just had fun.
Fun is often called satire.
Dire: I believe the youth haven’t been given the opportunity to tell their stories in a liberating manner. I believe our audience comprises of anyone who can relate to and understand these topics we portray.
Molawa Davies, that guy in Episode 5 of Flawless was about to forget the lyrics to your song, he was saved by the friendly police. How has been the experience from script to screen?
Molawa Davies: The experience has been nothing short of awesome. From trying to understand the motives behind each character’s actions to the overall execution of the project. It’s always exciting and enlightening to work with people that have just about the same level of energy, thirst and combining willpower to push through the entire process despite the setbacks we encountered.
As an actor and singer, which would you say is more challenging to promote?
Molawa Davies: It’s hard not to overthink the question, as acting and making music are two arts that have been with me for as long as I can remember. But with the way the world is wired today, with personalized DAWs and the internet at disposal, you can easily send out your music to the world from the comfort of your home through distribution companies. Whereas, the processes that an actor naturally has to go through to promote the art are most times rigorous, especially with the way the industry on our side tends to operate.
It’s often a good turn, making satires which I believe is yet to be well made and circulated in recent times. One I believe projects like Flawless can change. How has been the reception and how have you been able to market it to reach a wider audience
Dire: The response has been very encouraging so far. Enough to keep us motivated to make more. So far, we’ve released 5 episodes out of 10, and we are currently on a hiatus to promote the first five episodes. We’d love it to be accessible to more people on and off the internet, and we’re working hard on that.
Dire, would you care to tell us if there’s any feature project on the way, and as young filmmakers what is the biggest challenge for you
Dire: Yes, there’ll definitely be a feature in the future. We have a lineup of beautiful things coming and we’d definitely want everyone to keep watching Miscell. ‘Cause we’re definitely onto something. As for challenges, I’d say the biggest usually lies in the production process. Even though structure exists, sometimes, different unexpected variables always come into play and you just have to adapt to it ’cause that’s life. Another major issue is funding but I think you already know that. It’s about what you can do with the mind anyways, but yeah it’s a contributing factor.
How does the collaboration work?
Dire: Miscell is made of individuals making strides with their respective abilities. When these individuals combine their strong points for a common purpose or vision, the possibilities are limitless. We each have strong points that work and complement each other well, and we all believe that we can change the narrative of how people think and feel. Miscell is a wave that seeks to bring the art and lifestyle closer to the people, and the people even closer to us.
Here’s the link to all of Miscell’s releases including the award winning short film “Canker”.