Celebrating 10 Years of We Are Parable
This year, We Are Parable celebrates its 10th anniversary. Formed by husband-and-wife team Anthony and Teanne Andrews, it all began with an immersive screening of Eddie Murphy’s comedy Coming To America. Since the success of that, We Are Parable has grown to create a legacy of cinematic event experiences for Black audiences, working with film distributors, indies, cultural organisations and film festivals. From programming a Spike Lee retrospective in 2017 to hosting screenings of The Woman King, Black Panther and Summer of Soul, it’s been a remarkable ride. But within that, We Are Parable has ensured the work of past, present and emerging Black storytellers is amplified and given every possible platform available. To mark 10 years, Poetic Unity were commissioned to create a spoken word piece, inspired by the anniversary. Experience over everything by Jayda David encapsulates the organisation’s aims and future ambitions.
We Are Parable has also collaborated with Aesthetica Short Film Festival on several occasions, curating guest programmers in the 2020, 2021 and 2022. We share five films that featured in their engaging selections.
Come in Kingston! After finding himself at a crossroads in life, a Jamaican boy sets out to fulfil a dream 10 times his size: to fly to the moon, despite his circumstances and father’s opposition. Directed by Kia Moses, a former advertising executive who left Jamaica to work in London and New York, Flight marks her debut – a short that won 17 awards and was even selected for a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
Featuring Naomi Robson and Edmund Short, Jennifer Martin’s Teeth is a disquieting video installation created through collaboration with UK-based immigrants. A couple interrogated by UK Home Office agents endures a series of assessments that become progressively performative to evidence their relationship’s legitimacy. The office space becomes a theatre stage for a gruelling audition of acceptability and awkwardness quickly escalates into surreal horror. The title comes inspired by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who said “the public … need to know our immigration system has ‘teeth’.”
Written, directed and choreographed by Lanre Malaolu, The Conversation explores the challenges Black men and women face when communicating their racial experience to white partners. Beginning with a mixed-raced couple conversing in a restaurant, the film then cuts to a warehouse, where the real action kicks off. Inspired by Childish Gambino’s This Is America, this fusion of dance, drama and dialogue is all filmed in one shot. As Malaolu has said, this innovation was deliberate: “To show how the conversations / experiences Black people go through can sometimes feel relentless and never-ending.”
The Ballad of Olive Morris
A graduate from London Met, writer-director-producer Alex Kayode-Kay’s real-life drama turns back the clock to 1969, when the 17-year-old Olive Morris intervened, at great personal risk, to try and prevent a Nigerian diplomat named Clement Gomwalk from being arrested and assaulted under false pretences by police officers in Brixton. It serves as something of an origin story for Morris, who went on to become a well-known community leader and activist in the feminist, Black nationalist and squatters’ rights campaigns of the 1970s.
Written and directed by Carl Earl-Ocran, Hackney Downs stars Kaine Buffonge, Leonardo Taiwo and Nicole Joseph in this intense, London-set drama. The plot sees old wounds resurface when a neurotic, overworked law grad is forced to face his estranged friend and former sparring partner, now an amateur boxer in East London. This marks British-Ghanian filmmaker Earl-Ocran’s third short after Andalusia (2018) and Arachnid (2020).
Words: James Mottram