Lansana (Barmmy Boy) Mansaray, an Emmy and Peabody nominated filmmaker, was recently featured on CNN’s African Voices Changemakers program. The program showcased his career journey and his transition from music to filmmaking as a way to tell real-time stories about his heritage and country, Sierra Leone.
Barmmy Boy started off as a musician and discovered his passion for filmmaking and storytelling along the way. He gained recognition in the documentary filmmaking industry with his captivating short film, ‘THIS CITY BELONGS TO US’, which focused on the city of Freetown and was released in 2017.
In an interview with CNN, Barmmy Boy expressed his love for telling character-driven real stories and creating an environment for every filmmaker to thrive. He began his filmmaking journey in 2006 through a media workshop hosted by Cafe Society, a professional multimedia group from the UK. This opportunity led him to create music videos for his songs, including ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Letter To The Queen’.
Barmmy Boy’s decision to start telling real-time stories about events in Sierra Leone resulted in the creation of the Emmy and Peabody nominated film, ‘Survivors’. The documentary film, released in 2018, focused on the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and garnered international attention. Barmmy Boy, along with Arthur Peatt and Banky White, the creators of the film, attended various film festivals and awards ceremonies worldwide.
Through his multimedia company, Freetown Media Centre, Barmmy Boy has also been involved in training, mentoring, and providing opportunities for young filmmakers, particularly young women. His partnership with the British Council Sierra Leone and Nova Studios led to the introduction of the Film Lab training workshop and pitching for young filmmakers. He also organized an all-female Film Lab to encourage more women’s participation in filmmaking.
Barmmy Boy has tackled crucial societal challenges, including climate change and global warming, through his film projects. His 2022 film, ‘The New Boats’, shed light on the illicit activities of foreign vessels or pirates in the Sierra Leonean waters and their impact on local fishermen and authorities. The film’s environmental insights earned it global attention and success, including winning the Coastal and Island Culture Award at the International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco.
Barmmy Boy’s story as a leading changemaker in the film and storytelling field in Africa has given Sierra Leone a positive spotlight across the world, thanks to the CNN coverage.