Is Pan-African filmmaking a way forward?



So, I woke up to an argument on twitter as to whether @silverrainmovie is Nigerian or Ghanaian? A Ghanaian is concerned that Nigerians are describing it as ‘Nollywood’- we want to say that ‪#‎SilveRain‬ is ‪#‎PanAfrican‬ it is cast from 5 countries and shot in 2 with crew from 2 countries. At great expense, but to push forward the belief that we are better off working together. Film is a great initiator of this concept that seems to elude us… To be having this conversation in the first place and to have one of our nominees for AMMA come from SouthAfrica @chumaniPan, is therefore already a win for us. Ghanaians started it off Course and so for that, we take the credit! What are your thoughts? We would love to hear it…

Don’t lower the bar!



This is why I supported and made time to be at the vigil yesterday, albeit for a very short while. We must understand that as a people, the future of our nation is in our hands. The responsibility we have, is not just to self, but to generations unborn. I respect my leaders and expect that they have the capacity to make my country better, which is why I voted and which is why I expect better from them. I would keep quite if I did not think them of any worth to bother about; but then if we think of our leaders of no worth and lower the bar and expectation, what does that say about us as a people.

I must commend the organizers. Leadership is about motivating people to take action that potentially benefits them, and that is what you did! And you did this in some strenuous circumstances, perhaps to your own discomfort and people seeking to sacrifice you on the alter of self low esteem and expectation!

I will not lower the bar for myself. I expect my leader to be my mentor, guard and to make this country better. A country of only 25million. A country of SMART people who make it happen despite the odds. We can do better. Generations before fought before us, don’t drop the mantle for your kids…

Starting all over… why I resist it


There are many times when I have come to that crossroad in life, that very painful crossroad, where I had no option, but the option of jumping into the blissful abyss of self pitying and doubt because I have failed monumentally; or simply just start all over again.

I just had the most surreal week, when the book I am presently working on vanished from my computer. I am working on turning the script of silver Rain, the drama I wrote and Directed into a novel. The process is called novelization. In many ways, I went into this project very inspired. The film has been received very well and appreciated and the opportunity to flesh out the characters that were bubbling for bigger self-expressions in my head, was too tempting to resist. Very quickly, the chapters rolled by.

You can therefore imagine my state when through some weird follow up events. I lost the entire file I was working on. Followed was a desperate week aimed at trying to retrieve my files… the very thought of loosing the document sent cold sweat down my armpit. I felt the taste of bile pungent in my throat

Many times in my life, I have come to that point where I was in similar devastating circumstances. Whether it was the loosing of a loved one, divorce, a collapse of a friendship, the failure of a business, the betrayal of an employee or someone you trust, the breakdown of a love affair… the list goes on

It is a place of extreme confusion and resistance; Sometimes acute denial. How do you start all over when at your lowest point. What will people say? The fear of what lays back there, the sheer uncertainty of going back, the heavy sense of the weight and taking it all up again. The sense of uselessness. You might actually go numb at the thought. The fear, most of all, the fear…

I never found the file. No one wants to start all over, but sometimes…. You just have to.


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Do men make better friends than women?


juliet & friends

This is a subject I have flirted with for decades. Growing up, I was considered a tomboy who enjoyed the company of my male friends more than my female friends. Somehow, this has translated into me having more genuine male friends as an adult than females. The thought therefore tickles my mind often as to whether I am simply more of a ‘man’s woman than a woman’s woman’ as they say, or is there something rather interesting going on around me.

The goose came home to roost when one of my male friends made an offer to me. ‘Juliet, I’d like to have a party for you and 15 of your female friends.’ My mind raced and I gave a big laugh to cover up my unease. Sure, I had many acquaintances and casual ‘friends’, but when it comes to ‘FRIENDS’ I realized I couldn’t count more than 10 female friends at the most! At my age, that is pretty scary.

In contrast, I have tons of male friends I call great friends. Another thing, I have a far greater time with my male friends. A few things stick out to me; men make it a point to meet and hang out pretty regularly. They meet to simply have fun and walk away with no obligations or commitments. They don’t feel that they have to be emotionally available to each other. This simple element can make the friendship more attractive. They check up on each other regularly. They tease each other, and most importantly, they help and mentor each other. Not too long ago, I was back at school at Harvard Kennedy and I noticed quite a bit of the same phenomenon.

Casting my mind around, I tried to fish into the lives of the older women I know, starting with my mother, as perchance, this was something peculiar to me. A conversation ensued with many of these women that centered on the negative barriers that female friendships invariably encounter. Women it seems, form friendships way faster than men, but drop off just as quickly.

This is contradictory to the general thinking in the space. A couple of years ago, I was at ‘Omega’ Up-State New York. Interestingly, the theme of the conference centered on the great female bond, as opposed to the desert of male friendships.

Why was I experiencing this contradiction? I am involved with many female empowerments and mentoring opportunities and the point has come up very strongly that ‘women’ are our own enemies. When it comes down to mentoring for instance, women are entering the game very late. Men have always helped men move up the corporate ladder, looking for mentees or someone to take over from them. Women on the other hand, protect their turf very fiercely.

Friendships need to be nurtured. Family obligations become the first limitation to good friendships unfortunately, instead of it remaining an opportunity for connection. MEN USE FAMILY OBLIGATIONS, FRUSTRATIONS AND ACHIEVEMENT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT AND WOMEN USE IT AS A PATH TO ISOLATION. Married women cut off from their unmarried female friends, and then, she is too busy with the husband and kids to invest in nurturing friendships with her married friends. It very quickly from there disintegrates into a game of ‘keeping up appearances!’

There is off course, many would argue, the question of safety in keeping male friendships as a woman; many men do find the concept of a platonic relationship with a woman challenging. Invariable he may attempt to compromise the friendship. His life partner may also not be particularly open to the idea. This applies to women equally. Insecurities can create havoc for true friendships across the divide.

There are many aspects to this discussion that I could delve into, but I’d love to hear your delving. I am afraid I will grow old without many female friends! I am still looking for 10 female friends I want to have this party with…

Africa seems to be developing, but its only on the surface!


‘Never underestimate the power of stupid people in Large crowds!’#SouthAfrica on my mind. Some of my greatest friends in the world are South Africans! and they are great people! We shot @Silverrainmovie partly in SA and it was an awesome experience. We worked with great human beings like @Chumani Pan, who plays ‘mark’ an awesome talent; we did this with the strong belief that Africans need each other and that we need to begin to explore what unites us #panafricanism!

I will support the call to boycott all South African products simply because we have to show our brothers and sisters that we need each other and also help give strength to the momentum of the majority! The silent majority South Africans who are dying inside because of this senseless act and who will suffer for it for decades!

As a continent, we move 1 step forward and 10 steps back! This situation represents many African situations, make no mistake. We seem to be developing on the surface, but we all have deep issues below our surface that we need to pay attention to! Implosions forces us to look at them sometimes…

The mind of a generation – why Christmas day was such a sad day for me!



To some degree, it was the normal thing to do on a Christmas day. I had first seen the advert of INTO THE WOODS a couple of months back and had promised my daughter we would see it on the first day of release. Purchasing the tickets with half of my family, we were told tickets were almost sold out, and like the little girl who got the last cookie; my excitement went up a notch!

I wasn’t too sure at first how to react to the song that bellowed from Cinderella. The movie is a potpourri of quite a number of fairy tales you see. Artistically blended with just the right amount of originality to make it interesting to sit through for two hours! I kept remembering how I had been warned making my own film recently, not to go beyond the ninety minute mark.

My first sign of discomfort came when the narrator, describing the family of Cinderella, described them as beautiful on the outside, but BLACK at heart? Hmmm… I wondered uncomfortably if my daughter and nephews had dutifully stored that little piece of information away just as subconsciously as they must be storing away all the unique form of messaging that forms us into adults that we become, no matter what race or continent you are from.

It may be my writing sense that has always made me notice and feel the little things that no one else seems to pay attention to; very often, to my own annoyance and to the exasperation of others. My mind wanders off a lot you see… by this time, I am noticing that we are half way though the movie, and I haven’t noticed any BLACK person as yet. Well, I thought, ‘you really can’t blame the film makers, these are WHITE FAIRY TALES!’ I grew up on these stories, right in line with the rest of the world. They always describe skin as white as snow or milk and cherry red lips that accompany flush cheeks. Some things are just that way! Like me reading recently about a certain someone protesting against a BLACK JAMES BOND! Some things are just that way, you know… why blame the messenger!

STORIES SHAPE OUR WORLD AND INFORM OUR PERCEPTIONS. Take it from someone who makes a living ‘telling people stories!’ As a filmmaker, I appreciated a film beautifully made. Meryl Streep was at her best. The makeup, by god! Costumes, etcetera, etcetera…
Art that has taken generations to build! It takes patience, planning, tears, dedication to the craft, and a dedication to doing things right, over and over again. As I sat there, I struggled to come up with competing vivid folklores from my part of the world… not one came to mind. Not one!

Images, images, images! Images that fill my universe and direct my Art are all white, beautiful, excellent images. Images that generations have spent time shaping for the next generation. And as those beautiful images rolled across the screen, perfected and delivered by talented artist dedicated to their craft, and delivered par-excellence, another generation is born. Another generation of people calved… and amongst them, was my beautiful black daughter, who within those two hours will not see one beautiful image like herself, and the only reference she has to her, is a black hole.

‘In the woods’ is layered with lessons…. The song at the end says, ‘be careful the things you say, for children will listen; be careful the things you do, for children will learn… be careful the wishes you make, for they are children… I am having a child this very moment…