The People Behind The Film
I’m Christian Okoli is a film that lingers in your memory. It breaks pretty much every convention of filmmaking. There’s almost no action, the set is a stool and the story is delivered as a monologue with no histrionics. But, and this is something bigger productions often need to remember, there is a story. And the delivery by the real Christian Okoli (another convention broken here), while underplayed, is laden with a truth that kept us transfixed.
I’d just done it in rehearsal at one time and didn’t think too much of it to be honest.
I’m Christian Okoli has been on the festival circuit and won the Lab Film Festival and has been selected as one of the top 100 London works of art for 2013 by Forbes 500, Evening Standard & Metro. As such it will be exhibited at the Barge House (part of the world renowned London Southbank Centre) from 29th December. So it’s making an impact. But where did the idea originate?
Having these labels on people is just a form of segregation
The fact that Christian Okoli used his real name is both unusual and thought provoking. It blurs the line between real life and fiction and in this case reinforces the message of the film very effectively. However, it is tool to be used sparingly. Acting isn’t lying. The audience are ultimately aware that the actors are portraying a stylised truth. We wanted to know what the purpose was and the impact, if any, on Christian’s life.
There was so much of Christian in it.
Cyrus Trafford is an actor / director. His training was at the Actor’s Temple, London which uses the Meisner technique, whereby actors learn to be in the moment and concentrate on the emotion of the moment by responding to the circumstances, other actors etc through a range of progressive exercises. Christian trained at University in a broader range of styles but mostly focusing on Stanislavski from which most modern styles of acting derive.
I do feel like it is my duty as a film maker to make my audience conscious of these things.
Cyrus and Christian were both involved in the making of Tim Porter’s Joshua, a disturbing film about child abuse that was shown at the United Nations. Although in Joshua Cyrus was the main actor and Christian took mostly an executive producer role, it seems that these two are both drawn to making films that delve deeper into social issues than most of us would be comfortable with.
I think my world has been turned upside down with the work I’ve produced…
20th Century Fox: “Powerful Message and Great use of Cinematography. “
Film 4: “I’m Christian Okoli is really powerful.Congratulations on the well-deserved awards.”
With plaudits like this it seems likely that both Cyrus and Christian might want to continue in the industry. We’d like to wish both of these guys great success and hope to collaborate with them again.