Marian Edusei is a filmmaker determined to give a creative voice to the voiceless.
Coming from a background in producing and directing content for popular broadcast and online platforms, she has decided to put her skills into making her own films.
Edusei’s latest piece simply titled ‘Women of Colour‘ highlights some of the prejudices, misogny and sexist experiences WOC’s regularly endure. We spoke to her to find out why this film is so important…
Please introduce yourself
My name’s Marian Edusei; I’m a filmmaker and a television assistant producer.
Last year you released a short film simply titled Women of Colour. What was your motivation?
I wanted to highlight the voices of women of colour as I don’t feel that our nuanced experiences are reflected in mainstream feminism. It was an opportunity to show how sexism affects different women and how the sexist remarks/attitudes that we experience, are often loaded with racial connotations and stereotypes. It’s hard for all women to jump on board with mainstream
On the back of those conversations and being a Woman of Colour yourself, what do you feel is our biggest obstacle to being heard, seen, understood?
Ingrained stereotypes and relying on mainstream media to control and dictate our narratives. Things are changing and I feel really lucky to be part of a generation, where making films isn’t reliant on an institution or an individual giving the green flag. I think the mainstream media have a habit of jumping on ideas geared towards minority groups because it’s ‘on trend’, without factoring in the impact that these very real experiences have on our lives. Like so many filmmakers, I feel that I can encourage women like myself to be heard, seen and understood through film making, which is the beginning of something positive.
You used Women of Colour from varying ethnicities, what was your intention behind doing this?
The intention was to show that even under the umbrella of ‘Women of Colour’, our experiences/narratives still differ due to our race. Naturally, a connection forms because we’re able to acknowledge and therefore validate one another’s experiences, which forms an aspect that’s missing from mainstream feminism.
When casting what was the process, how did you whittle down the groups and how did you pick the narratives?
It was all through friends of friends, Instagram and social media platforms aimed towards women of colour. The main thing I wanted to achieve, was finding confident, young women who had stories, viewpoints and interests that differed from the norm. The last thing I wanted was a film that was predictable. It was fun casting these women because I ended up having lengthy bonding sessions with the girls over the phone and talking about topics that genuinely interested us. It didn’t feel like work. They trusted me and were invested in the idea, so it was really easy
Was there a moment when the women came together and had a ‘take off your bra‘ moment in sharing stories if so what was that like for you the creator, was there a catharsis of some sort?
The only time they all physically met was on the filming day when a lot of friendships were formed. Unfortunately, I was busy running around and directing so I wouldn’t know. For the research chats, there were moments when the girls would tell me stuff over the phone and then say, ‘I’ve never told anyone that’ or they would surprise themselves by exposing a particular belief that they subconsciously/unknowingly had. The whole thing was a release for me because as a film maker, having an idea and then realising just how many people are behind it and ‘get it’, is amazing.
What has been the overall reaction to this film?
The reaction to the film has been great. It was the first self-funded film I’ve made, so I had to do a lot of self-promoting – which is a whole job in itself. I’ve had some amazing feedback from people who I really respect such as Afua Hirsch, Elaine Welteroth and Caryn Franklin; all of whom have said really positive things about the film. Refinery29 also premiered the film on their website which was really helpful.
As a filmmaker what type of films do you want to make, plan to make, and who for?
I want my films to give a voice to people who aren’t fairly represented and who are overlooked in society. I also want the films to force people to reflect on their own beliefs and experiences. We’re living in such a fast-paced world, so it’s hard to quieten down the mind and reflect on how our actions and attitudes are impacting others. I think a lot of us develop subconscious beliefs that are based on untruths which is not only limiting but can be quite damaging to society. We need to get into the habit of stepping outside of ourselves and seeing things from different perspectives; basically empathising.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a 3-part documentary series for Channel 4 up until August 2019. I’m also developing another short film which I’m really excited about. I’m mad busy but when I’m working on things that I’m genuinely interested in, there’s no room to complain.
If you ruled the world you’d?
Does it have to be one thing? I’d Make sure everybody in the world had basic necessities and I’d make mindfulness and international travel part of the school curriculum. I’d definitely do more but I can’t think right now …