Q&A: Josza Anjembe, writer/director of short film ‘French’

By Josh Morris

French is a short film about Seyna, a young woman who must navigate multiple challenges to her identity. Writer/director Josza Anjembe was kind enough to answer some question about the film.

Informer Media Group: Seyna is such a rich character and Grace Seri portrays her magically; what inspired her story?

Josza Anjembe: It’s about something that happened to me a few years ago when I had to make a new passport. I had afro hair at the time and the person at the city hall told me that I was “out of frame” when I took my ID picture.

Informer Media Group: Why was Seyna’s hair important to explore?

Josza Anjembe: It’s linked to being “out of frame”. Right from the start, I knew that I would write a scene in which she would cut her hair. So, I tried to keep using the hair metaphor.

Informer Media Group:  Did Grace Seri have her hair actually shaved off for the film?

Josza Anjembe: Yes.

Informer Media Group: The French title of your film translates in English to The Red-White of My Hair (according to Google Translate). Is there anything lost in translation?

Josza Anjembe: No. The expression “blue white red” reminds a lot of things to French people. When you hear it you know it’s used to talk about the French flag and the country. It’s a gimmick used by many. It couldn’t work in English so “French” was much more direct and striking for the international audience.

Informer Media Group: What exactly is Seyna’s father’s occupation? He is shown scrapping the thorns off flowers.

Josza Anjembe: He prepares flowers and bouquets. You can call this floral composition too.

Informer Media Group: Interesting. You can’t choose your parents, you can’t choose your skin color, but (sometimes) you can choose your nationality…. Why do you want to explore that choice cinematically?

Josza Anjembe:  Precisely because one shouldn’t have to choose between two citizenships when one has two or three cultures. It should be an advantage rather than a choice that people want to make. Moreover, it’s problems and questionings that often belong to others and which become ours, despite ourselves. For my part, I don’t know why I should choose between the two since I love both!

Informer Media Group:  Seyna’s younger brother asks, “Why can’t I be both?” A simple question, yet quite difficult to answer it seems.

Josza Anjembe: In multiple countries, it’s technically impossible to have a dual citizenship. Here lies the question of the choice. The one we impose on people who have no desire to choose.

Informer Media Group: This is your first film project; what was the experience like for you?

Josza Anjembe: A short film about homosexuality.

Informer Media Group: I’m sure that’ll be powerful as well. Where can people find out more about you and your projects?

Josza Anjembe: On Facebook (click here) and my website (click here)

 

 

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