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Preview Olu Odebunmi's Kenya-Set Thriller 'Mzungu' ('White Man')

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 5, 2012 at 2:34PM

Another indie feature film to look out for in the next year or so...
1
Mzunghu

Another indie feature film to look out for in the next year or so...

Writer/director Olu Odebunmi and the rest of his production team successfully raised over $40,000 to go towards production of his feature film, a thriler titled Mzungu, which explores an American traveler’s unexpected nightmare while vacationing in Africa - specifically Kenya.

Of course, the American is white, hence the title, which is, in short, Swahili for "white man."

Olu will direct from a script penned by Tolu Awosika, with Olatunde Osunsanmi (director of genre fare like The Fourth Kind for Universal Pictures starring Milla Jovovich, and The Cavern) will exec produce. 

The production goal is to shoot the film in March 2013, with a December 2013 release (theatrical, DVD, and VOD) expected.

Here's a longer synop:

Mzungu is a scripted feature film that explores an American traveler’s unexpected nightmare while vacationing in Africa. Inspired by actual events, the story chronicles Jesse Bloom, a charming, young man who wakes up after a night of hard partying and is arrested for a grisly murder. Suddenly thrust into the underbelly of Kenyan society, he is forced to contend with the kinds of people that would normally go unseen by an outsider (a tourist). The film honestly examines our perceptions of good and evil while delivering an enthralling and taut thriller.

I'm especially curious about this one, because, unlike similar white man in Africa thrillers like this that we've seen in the past, this one is actually written, directed, and produced by black people - specifically black Africans - and I'd like to see how their POV informs a familiar story, often not told with them in control of the narrative and direction. And given that it's an independently financed film, they shouldn't face any Hollywood studio intrusions.

Director Odebunmi will be making his feature directorial debut with this film; his past credits include mostly work as a producer on a few TV series that I think indicate a filmmaker with a taste for the perilous, like Untamed & Uncut.

But it looks like we're in for a genre film, with some social commentary, to put it simply.

There's a lot more encouraging info on the project's Kickstarter page, so you can visit and read HERE; or watch the 6-minute sales pitch video below for a summary:


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