Cut Weeks of Shooting and Still Win at Sundance With ‘Mami Wata’ Director C.J. “Fiery” Obasi and Cinematographer Lílis Soares

'Mami Wata'Credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute
No Film School’s GG Hawkins speaks with Mami Wata director CJ "Fiery" Obasi and cinematographer Lílis Soares about their working on the project.

They explain their shared vision of creating a film about people of color. They also share how they dealt with challenges like filming the ocean at night and losing almost three weeks of shooting time. Mami Wata premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematography.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Their intention to shoot a black-and-white film from day one

  • Wanting to show the value and beauty of people of color in this film

  • Being ghosted by the equipment provider on the first day of shooting

  • Filming for 24 days instead of 6 weeks

  • Not wanting too many shades of gray

  • Treating the ocean as another character

  • How Africans see themselves and portray themselves in film

  • Leveraging an empathetic gaze versus a sympathetic gaze

  • Why being patient is key to being in this industry

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This episode of The No Film School Podcast was produced by GG Hawkins.

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