Ravensbourne students collaborate with the Obama Foundation

Is it because film poster
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Article by: Ravaé Richardson

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Students from Ravensbourne University London collaborated with creative students from New York to create a poignant short film on microaggressions. The creative exchange was facilitated by an Obama Foundation initiative and gave students of colour a powerful opportunity to share their experiences. The short film premieres on Youtube on Friday 28 May 2021 at 7.00pm. 

Is it because film poster

In late 2017, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK) became an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Within the Obama Foundation, MBK Alliance focuses on building ‘safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of colour where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.’ MBK Alliance was made in memory of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was murdered as he walked through his neighbourhood.

Lawrence Lartey, the Creative Director of the CreativeLab Agency at Ravensbourne created a live brief alongside John Glasgow. John is the Founder and Executive Creative Director of brand agency Vault49, who ‘think like entrepreneurs and experiment like artists’, to create outstanding brand experiences.

Nuff Said Script excerpt

The MBK Alliance project celebrates students that are the first in their family to go to university and gives them the opportunity to work with exceptional students and professionals. The students enjoyed focus groups and guidance from a number of experts to realise their vision.

Nine students were asked to create a short film that would distil the impact of the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. They were asked to communicate how discrimination impacts their daily life, and permeates both the UK and the US. The Ravensbourne students all studied BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Design and formed the collective 'Nuff Said' in 2019. Last year, they were shortlisted for a prestigious D&AD award in the Side hustle category. 

Nuff Said Photo courtesy of Guap.co.uk

The students shared that they felt they were living through the second civil rights movement and wanted to play a part in genuine change. The students called their short film ‘Is it because’ and explored the microaggressions that people of colour encounter in daily life. The covid-secure shoot began in London with Ravensbourne students and was then handed over to students in New York to continue filming there. This was the first virtual exchange with meetings and brainstorms taking place online.

Lawrence Lartey commented, “It has been extraordinary to see our students collaborate and recognise similar experiences in both London and New York. We’re guiding the next generation of leaders who can use their creativity to transform society. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, the students were passionate and dedicated in creating something meaningful. We’re so proud of what they achieved. They perfectly captured the Obama Foundation call to meet anguish with action.”

The students were invited to share their short film at a virtual premiere. Michael D. Smith, Executive Director, MBK Alliance commented, “Allow me to extend greetings and gratitude on behalf of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Thank you for coming together as a collective, to not only make change in your neighbourhood, in your city, in your country but all across the world.”

You can join a virtual screening of 'Is it because' on Friday 28 May 2021 at 2.00pm EST/7.00pm GMT. 

You can follow 'Nuff Said' and keep up to date with their journey on instagram

‘Is it because’ Full credits

SPOKEN WORD
Written by Kemi Anna Adeeko and Adefela Olowoselu

Spoken by Kemi Anna Adeeko and David Armah

London Team
NUFF SAID
Director - Lisa Hooper
Co-Director - Kemi Anna Adeeko
Producer - Maisie Angela
DOP - Paul Ifeneziuche
Project Manager - Maureen Vasquez
BTS Camera Operator - Georgia Armstrong
Screenwriter - Isaac Izekor
Location Manager - Lisa Hooper
Casting Director - Maisie Angela
Stylist - Kemi Anna Adeeko
Editor - Paul Ifeneziuche
Colour Grade - Kemi Anna Adeeko

CAST
London lead female - Jae Lively
Pedestrian crossing the road - Carmen Tahtah
Pedestrian at bus stop - Lance Bautista
Worker Clutching bag in Elevator - Leyla Sitki
Co-worker 1 - Adila Nasrin
Co-worker 2 - Kristine Kokina
Co-worker 3 - Jak McKinley Good
Co-worker 4 - Sara Acheampong
Manager - Lucas Fali
Woman touching hair - Adila Nasrin
Security Guard - Daniel Wheatcroft

New York Team
NEO SOCIETY
Director - Matt Kenny
Co-Director - David Armah
Producer - Deandre Brown
Co-Producer - David Armah
Videographer - Matt Kenny
Camera Operator - Royston Phipps
BTS Camera Operator - Younis Alzubeiri 
Location Manager - Deandre Brown
Casting Director - David Armah
Stylist - Malik Yancey

CAST
New York lead male - David Armah 
Pedestrian crossing the road - Hayley York
Pedestrian on subway 1 - Michael Mitchell
Pedestrian on subway 2 - Nathaniel Ramirez
Pedestrian on subway 3 - Nayamelle Gomez
Pedestrian on subway 4 - Celeste Favors
Worker Clutching bag in Elevator - Kacey D’Ambrosio
Co-worker 1 - Helena Fisher
Co-worker 2 - Zaria Abernathy
Co-worker 3 - Mfalme Mashairi
Co-worker 3 - Deandre Brown
Manager - Younis Alzubeiri 
Man touching hair - Leonardo Generoso
Security Guard - Blake Sortino