Sundance Institute has chosen eight first-time filmmakers for its annual Directors Lab, which has launched the careers of filmmakers such as Cary Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Marielle Heller, Benh Zeitlin, Quentin Tarantino and more. The Directors Lab will take place May 30 – June 23 at the Sundance Resort in Utah, and will help develop the next wave of independent filmmakers as they explore new ideas that will shape the future of storytelling. Each filmmaker will have the opportunity to shoot and edit key scenes from their screenplays while working alongside creative advisers, professional actors and production crews.
Ghanian writer-director Frances Bodomo was one of the eight directors chosen to be a part of this highly competitive lab. Bodomo grew up in Ghana, Norway, and Hong Kong, before moving to New York City to study film at Columbia University (BA) and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (MFA). Her short films Boneshaker, starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, and Afronauts both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to premiere at various festivals including the Berlinale, Telluride, and New Directors/New Films.
Afronauts is based on a true story about a group of Zambians led by nationalist/activist Edward Makuka Nkoloso who sought out to join the space race in the late 1960s. Bodomo was named a 2015 Sundance Institute/Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and received a $100,000 grant to turn Afronauts into a feature film. She aspires to make conceptually strong content that brings African images to the forefront.
“I wanted to find a way to tell new stories with new structures, to show new things, but still communicate through a narrative so that it could be seen by a lot of people. I feel like every young African artist of my generation still wants to fight the deception of Africa, still wants to say: Africa is not the pot-bellied kids, or the famine, that are the direct response the Ethiopian hunger crisis in the ’80s…” – Frances Bodomo
Bodomo recently directed the short segment Everybody Dies! for the feature Collective:Unconscious, which premiered at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival.
A quick teaser for Afronauts is below: