‘Imagine a Perfect World’ – New series of short films strengthening links between Hull and Freetown, Sierra Leone

Freedom Festival and KCOM are partnering with Nova Studios, Freetown Media Centre and the British Council to commission a series of exciting films from young film-makers in Hull’s partner city Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The announcement follows a series of British Council supported ‘Film Labs’ which were established to grow and develop young film-making talent in Freetown.

The labs were run by Nova staff throughout 2020 and into 2021 alongside our long-standing collaborators at Freetown Media Centre.

Until the pandemic changed plans, we had been were scheduled to visit Freetown regularly through 2020 to deliver training in-person. This plan was adapted so we Zoomed-in instead delivering live workshops and seminars to classes of 20 of Sierra Leone’s brightest young film-makers.


Developing the film sector in a country we love

The Film Labs were a great success, with 30 short films produced throughout the process. Nova director Matt Stephenson said: “We’ve visited Freetown 15 times since 2006 and it was a great privilege for us to work again alongside our Emmy nominated friends and colleagues Lansana Mansaray (Barmmy Boy) and Arthur Pratt.

“The British Council chose us to work on this project not only because of the quality of our work, but also because we have real understanding of the cultural and life in Sierra Leone.

“Education, arts and cultural industries in Sierra Leone are under-developed and it was very fulfilling to be able to play a role in passing on skills and developing the film sector in a country we love.”

Imagining a perfect world

To expand the Film Labs programme, Nova are partnering with Freedom Festival, The British Council and KCOM to fund a series of commissions exclusively for Film Labs participants to produce a series of short films which will be promoted and shown online in this year’s Freedom Festival programme.

“The films will all explore the theme ‘Imagine a Perfect World.’” explained Matt, “In the middle of the pandemic, and with equalities issues, poverty and the environment still having so far to go, we’re interested in the idea that unless we all start to move away from polarising views by imagining and agreeing on what a better world looks like then how can we hope to solve the world’s problems?”

We’ll keep you posted…

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