Jabu Nadia Newman directs ‘The Dream That Refused Me’.

An Afrofuturist cipher reframes black cultures through poetry, internet iconography, and dance.

Woven together by Xhosa poet Siyabonga Jim, CGI avatars (played by South Africa’s first CGI model Kim Zulu), and incandescent landscapes created by collage artist Zas Ieluhee.

Words from Jabu below:

Can you share an insight into your choice of structure for this film?

JABU: At the beginning, the structure was supposed to feel like a dream or a stream of consciousness but slowly it became more representative of a three-act structure.

With a clear beginning, middle and end, each section should feel as if they are worlds or lightyears apart yet still all born from one singular atom or big bang. As if we were moving through time and evolution we had two different editors edit the sections to really create that separation. The pacing, amount of cuts, and even aspect ratio changed with each piece.

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If you had to name a guiding influence in making this film, could you tell what comes to mind?

JABU: Intuition. The guiding Influence was also the poem Ubizo written and performed by Siyabonga Jim. The intuition and interpretation that came from me and many of the crew members of the poem and all its meanings created the overall style and aesthetic of the film. Collaboration was also a huge driving force, oh, and trust.

What attracted you to the work of Zas, and why collage?

JABU: I had always followed Zas and absolutely loved their work. I saw that they were also playing around with video and figuring out how to bring their 2D collages to life. Collage is an interesting medium because it speaks to the multiplicity of themes, ideas, references, and meaning. Zas also borrows a lot from old text and images like National Geographic I think spoke directly to the themes of the entire piece.

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What are you reading at the moment?

JABU: ‘Grand Union’ by Zadie Smith.

Zas Ieluhee
Kelvin Takudzwa, Didi Exelby, Rozanne Rocha-Gray
Director of Photography
Wendy Fredriksson
Production Design
Unathi Mkonto
Rusty Ruthven
Romance Films
Production Company

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