Jamil’s Mindset: There is no doubt that the Sierra Leone Movie Industry in recent years has failed to meet the expectations of fans. The drop in consistency and content has forced many anticipating fans to find comfort in foreign films, and those who stay find it difficult to wholeheartedly accept the movies, so this has led to a drastic decline in the economic value of the movie industry. It is no secret that the movie industry in Sierra Leone needs a meticulous rebranding to meet the demands of its fans across the world.
Salone Messenger got in touch with Jamil Sesay who is a writer and producer. He has written and produced numerous movies and a TV show host. Jamil Sesay is on the verge of changing the narrative of TV production in the movie industry in Sierra Leone.
Salone Messenger had an in depth chat with him about his plans and also his upcoming movie titled “Taxi”.
WHY DID YOU TITLE THE MOVIE “TAXI”?
Well, for a very long while, I have low key been into films. I have studied different characters and I study every environment I get to be in. When an opportunity presented itself to write a script I decided to focus on something that was very local. I chose taxi because everyone including rich, poor, young or old must have rode in a taxi at least once in a lifetime. One of the uniqueness of taxi drivers is that they are the most informed people because they get to meet with everybody. I was trying to pitch a story that will speak volumes in our society but in a very comical manner.
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND TAXI?
Taxi is a one-night movie, so hence the titled “Taxi a long night from home”. Something occurred on a particular night that circulated right across the movie. I don’t want there to be any spoiler but I want to assure everyone that the concept is unique and entertaining. We went beyond the limit to bring the best out of the story, as we all know how difficult it is to shoot a movie at night. The shooting crew lens studio and HD vision did amazingly well to get things done properly.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE CHARACTERS YOU PORTRAYED IN THE MOVIE?
Truly, this is the most exciting part of the interview. When a writer writes a script he always has this imaginative idea that he wants to see actors depict in real life. For me, I think I was extremely lucky to have people that really interpreted the characters that were in the script beyond my imagination. I have an amazing actor like Dominic Mansaray, this will be his very first lead in a film. I had Emma Dyfan , the name is very familiar in the industry she is a phenomenal wonderful woman and she nailed her character she made everything looks real. Marian Tabib is also an amazing actress from the International Theater Institute (ITI). We had James Fortune in the film, Henrietta Lenon the lady from Big Sister Salone Season One. We had Sward, Daniel from FTN, and Robert Charles from SLBC. Conclusively, the movie is full of people’s passion and diverse talents.
WHAT MESSAGE WILL YOU LIKE TO PASS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE SLOW TO ACCEPT SIERRA LEONEAN MOVIES?
To be honest with you, I do not cry those people down because I used to be one of those people so I can relate with those people who don’t appreciate Sierra Leone films. One thing that I realized is the fact that we are all trying to copy probably what Nigerians and Ghanaians are doing, one thing we failed to realize is the fact that we also have our own unique stories. We have stories that have not been told, we have stories that are very unique in Sierra Leone. The moment we start telling those stories, trust me Sierra Leoneans will appreciate and start to watch Sierra Leone movies.
I can honestly tell you that in my own film, one key thing that you can get that is very clear the fact that it is 70 percent local language which is Krio the 30 percent is English and it is for a reason I am doing the film, not for Sierra Leone alone I am doing it for the world to see our stories in our local language. I also got to find out that when these actors are given the opportunity to act in Krio, they tend to be exceptional because they don’t have to force the Queen’s Language. I think Sierra Leoneans will accept this movie with open hands, it may not be the perfect movie, it may not be the best movie neither the best production but trust me it is something we are all going to be proud of. Finally, everybody can connect to this movie the politicians, couples, the street guys, the displaced, the taxi drivers, the okada riders they all can connect to it.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR FINAL MESSAGE TO YOUR FANS AND THOSE PEOPLE THAT ARE YET TO BELIEVE IN YOUTHS LIKE YOU?
First things first, finally about the film Taxi will “shock you because it is unanimously made by young people with diverse minds people who think differently but have to work towards a single goal which is passion. We have a great wonderful director who is Ibrahim Hamid Koroma and the lens lords are phenomenal in what they do. We also worked with HD Vision owned by a young and talented young man F. Man The Next Legend. To be frank with you I don’t always give my all into what I do, this project took us a year to do so it something that is very original, the sound, music everything about the movie is original nothing borrowed from the internet. This gesture speaks volumes of the fact that Sierra Leoneans are ready for a change. Lest I forget the movie is also an advocacy movie because it talks a lot about teenage pregnancy, street kids, arm robbery, youth development, and what the teachers do need. Finally, it talks a lot about politicians. It is a movie that interconnects all walks of life and it is prepared for public and home viewing.