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Early in 2015, I spoke with the filmmaker and engineer Arthur Musah. He was trained in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and has gone on to work on fiction and documentary shorts, including What to Bring to America, Refuge, and Color Blind. He is currently working on two feature-length documentaries focusing on Africa and Africans in a globalized, technological age.
What was special about this conversation is that it’s the first African Takeover interview. There’s something about asking someone to tell their story that often leads to fascinating places. Even if you know the person, you are almost guaranteed to be surprised. Part of the reason that I’ve been interested in listening to interviews, reading interviews, and now, conducting interviews, is that I always love that electric jolt of astonishment, and that point in the conversation when the person says something that makes you rethink some aspect of life.
Some things that struck me about this conversation:
- the way that knowledge gets passed down in an institution: the kids at Arthur’s secondary school have a system for getting into American universities
- as always, it’s fascinating how people start off in one place and end up somewhere completely different, yet appropriate
- the way that art affects us differently at different stages of our lives
- how diving deeply into one perspective or style of a thing (here, film) can make it easier to notice the characteristics of other styles
- learning how to play all the roles can be extremely valuable, even if you eventually delegate them to others
I’m excited to see Arthur’s films, and like him, I’m interested to see what interesting stories come out of the African experience.
To find Arthur on the internet:
Website: One Day I Too Go Fly (website)
On twitter: @pidgincinema
Questions, comments, or guest suggestions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zimbabwean filmmaker and comedian, b. 1987
If you watched the Oscars last weekend, you may have spotted Tatenda Mbudzi among the group of students who, as winners in the Oscar Experience College Search, got the chance to go on stage and hand the statuettes to the presenters.
In describing how he will change the future of movies, he said:
I’m going to tell stories that globally connect. As a foreigner, I know what it’s like to be an outsider, and I want to tell stories that help people believe in themselves, and believe in others, too. 
Mbudzi is currently a student in the Producer’s Program at the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, where he also performs comedy. We’ll see what kinds of interesting things he produces in the future—this exposure should definitely help.
Film student prepares for his Oscars debut – UCLA Today
Nigerian + British journalist, b. 1979
What’s Up Africa? (“The best damn African comedy news show on the planet!”) is a hilarious African news video blog hosted by Ikenna Azuike, a journalist at the Africa desk of Radio Netherlands Worldwide. He stands in a corner of a room plastered with African news magazine covers and delivers sometimes incredulous, often sarcastic analyses of African news stories. There is usually at least one music video featured in each episode. It’s fast-paced, heavily cut, serious and critical, as well as funny and light-hearted.
WUA is not just about pointing out good stuff I use my show to be critical about serious issues, comedy is undoubtedly a powerful tool to change people’s attitudes.
Azuike is also co-founder, with Mette te Velde, of Strawberry Earth, which started as a design blog “for creative people who care about the planet,” but now also includes a service where you can get deals on products and services from brands that they like, and events like the Green Film Making Competition, the Strawberry Earth Film Festival, and more.
What’s Up Africa?
What’s Up Africa on Facebook