As any budding filmmaker will attest, getting ahead can be fraught with challenges, but it can also present opportunities. Two directors who are well-versed with what it takes to make an impact in the industry are Jade Ang Jackman and Samona Olanipekun. They are both on the talent roster of award-winning film production company Lammas Park, founded by Sir Steve McQueen, the British director behind 12 Years A Slave, winner of Best Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.
With the aim of helping to break down barriers relating to access, funding and mentorship that filmmakers can encounter at the start of their careers, the UK-based company is dedicated to working collaboratively to nurture new talent, and in turn elevate new work that may otherwise not get the visibility it deserves.
In one particular venture, Lammas Park partnered with Canon Europe to facilitate the production of two short films by Jade and Samona, due to hit the festival circuit in 2023. Exclusively using cameras and lenses from Canon's cinema range, the directors each made a film on a topic that holds meaning for them and challenges the status quo.
Jade's film, entitled Young Hot Bloods and written by Lydia Rynne, is a period action drama which centres on a suffragette self-defence jiu-jitsu group that formed as a resistance to police brutality and sexual harassment. "I don't think people imagine that kind of retaliation from women of that era," says Jade. "I was ignited by the idea that they were using their bodies as a form of protest."
Samona's film, i and i, written by Daniel Braham, is set on a single Sunday and follows a 30-year-old man on his birthday exploring the metaphysical relationship we have with ourselves. The Covid-19 pandemic had given Samona the time to reflect. "I thought about mental health, masculinity, societal expectations, and all of these subjects we rarely discuss," he says. "The voices in your head can be your best friend, but they can also be your enemy. I wanted to see that play out on screen."