Filmmaker Adjani Salmon keeps dreaming with 'Dreaming Whilst Black'
Jamaica-born, London-based filmmaker Adjani Salmon has been enjoying an overwhelmingly positive response to the release of his web series, Dreaming whilst Black. "The response is good, better than I thought. You don't really think of the impact outside of your immediate environs," he told The Gleaner in a recent interview.
According to Salmon, the thought of international screenings for the show began as a whimsical idea. "All of a sudden, it's a reality - and yuh hear seh 400 and odd people did deh at The Cove (Jamaican premiere), and 300 people in London. People were in Amsterdam, Shanghai, Paris ...," the filmmaker said.
Though some audiences didn't get some of the jokes because of the language barriers, nonetheless, viewers gathered to be introduced to Kwabena (protagonist), and hopefully stayed along for the ride. "We even had a thing in Kampala, Uganda, - super last-minute," Salmon revealed.
The web series follows the young passionate filmmaker Kwabena as he struggles to navigate between his dreams and reality. It is a laughable analogy of what it takes for different races and genders to make it in the film industry.
The series has been engaging in those conversations. "We did a university tour around England - screening the show, then talking about children/young people finding their unfair advantage in a workplace, and how to progress. It's easy to have this oppression conversation, but we try to gear our screenings towards how do you overcome; how do you strive in this?" he said.
With Black History Month (as celebrated in England) coming in October, Salmon has been approached to screen the series, a call he welcomes.
"Even though it's a comedy - it's just a show; as a matter of fact, it's just a web series. But the fact that we've been able to expand from YouTube and have these conversations and have these talks - expanding beyond jokes or laughs and filmmaking - people want to have that political discourse; to talk about breaking some of these issues and boundaries, and learning how to get more representation on screen," he said.
Salmon visited Jamaica recently to check out the feasibility of carrying some of the production for the second season of the series to the island.
"We've been approached by a few TV channels. A couple African channels have approached us and we're kind of in talks to put it on their channels around the continent, which is great!" Salmon also had a TV channel conversation right here at home - "an informal one, to see what can happen," he said.
The Dreaming Whilst Black crew, 4 Quarter Films, have also been approached by two international producers, who want to take the show to broadcasters. "We're in talks with them to see how that can work. Ideally, I would have loved for season two, if we shoot part of it in Jamaica - Kwabena comes to Jamaica for whatever reason!"
His visit produced the conclusion that local producers are hesitant to take on the risk of investment. "But what we have found is that some people (local producers) are willing to match fund; which again, not much risk, but it's something. So I'm gonna take that back to the producers," Salmon told The Gleaner.
Therefore, if Salmon and his producers across the waters will come up with 50 per cent of the production cost, there are local parties who would then be willing to put up the remainder.
4 Quarter Films
4 Quarter Films is made up of four young film professionals who combined forces to produce the sensational, conversation-inducing web series.
Making up the team are Salmon, Natasha Jatania, Laura Seixas and Maximilian Evans - all dedicated to maintaining a sterling, professional and award-worthy reputation for 4 Quarters Films.
The four parts of 4 Quarters hope Dreaming Whilst Black will open doors to producing other projects, like feature films. "We came into this to make films, so we'll always make films. Hopefully, it gets to 10 years, when the corporate films that are being made I don't even know wah we ah mek. People just a mek tings - and that the four of us would work on the flagship shows," Salmon continued.
Salmon highlights: "Any film that's made is made for two reasons - to make money, like Fast and the Furious, or win awards, like Moonlight. Sometimes they are a hybrid. And that's the goal - that we tell powerful stories that everyone wants to watch. Those are personal goals of all of ours - hopefully, we can make hybrid versions - something makes money, but is accolade-worthy as well."