Freetown Film Labs: Building partnerships and promoting film-making opportunities internationally

Through 2020 and into 2021 we’ve been working with our close collaborators at Freetown Media Centre in Sierra Leone to deliver a series of British Council-backed film-making labs to support the country’s emerging film sector.

The British Council contract called for an established UK/Sierra Leone partnership to lead the work and we were delighted to once again team up with our Emmy-award nominated Freetown friends Lansana Mansaray (Barmmy Boy) and Arthur Pratt.

The latest lab, delivered in the first week of February, was specifically designed for Sierra Leonean women looking to develop a career as film-makers.

Nova brought in acclaimed Sudanese film-maker Alyaa Sirelkhatim to co-deliver the lab. Alyaa started her film-making journey attending similar workshops in Sudan – a country which, like Sierra Leone, is building a new identity after years of political troubles and conflict that so often accompany colonial rule. Her experiences both as a woman and as an African film-maker have been particularly inspiring for the women in the lab, and it’s wonderful for Nova to have a new international partner.

Alyaaa was cinematographer on the short feature film Faisal Goes West which looks at the experiences of a Sudanese migrant working on a chicken farm in the US.

Check it out here:

Nova editor Lina Chaouki also delivered a session on the role of the editor, not only sharing her professional skills and knowledge, but also her unique experiences as a young African/Belgian woman making her way in the industry with the film lab participants.

There are two more labs and a series of mentorship sessions to be delivered before the end of this first film lab programme in March. Again, we’ll be working with another acclaimed documentary maker, film tutor and Nova collaborator, Dom Bush, to deliver this work. Based in Cumbria, Dom’s work is rooted in the life and landscape  of the North West.

Watch Dom’s film Nowt But A Fleeting Thing commissioned by The Guardian here:

It’s been a great experience for Nova to develop partnerships with such talented colleagues who bring their diverse experiences of life to the Film Lab participants in Hull’s twin-city Freetown and we’re very proud to have been selected by the British Council to design and deliver the exciting Freetown Film Lab programme.

We might be based in lockdown Hull but in spite of Covid, at Nova we continue to build diverse partnerships and promote film-making opportunities internationally.