In this edition of TAKE 5! We speak to Dancurf Brown, an Award winning Film Director based in Nairobi Kenya whose films have been screened and won awards in NewYork, Miami, Atlanta, Toronto and across Africa.
Q: What do you like most about your job as a producer / director/screenwriter?
A:I love the joys of weaving tales and orchestrating the symphony of storytelling!
As a screenwriter, I revel in the dance of words, the power to create worlds with the stroke of a pen or rather, the tap of a keyboard. It’s like playing with reality, molding it into something that can captivate hearts and minds across the globe. As a film director I consider myself as a puppeteer; pulling the strings that tie the entire idea together. I like the fact that with my creative ability I have the chance to bring imaginations to life. As a painter, every shot is a stroke on the canvas of emotion, every scene a brushstroke in the grand masterpiece of cinema. The ability to breathe life into words and turn them into vivid images is a high that few experiences can match.
Being a film producer is like being the architect of dreams! Bringing together the puzzle pieces of finance, creativity, and logistics is a challenge that keeps my adrenaline pumping. I get immense satisfaction in seeing a project evolve from a mere concept to a tangible, larger-than-life creation on the silver screen. In this world of storytelling, where imagination knows no bounds, I take each role as a different instrument in the grand symphony of filmmaking. It’s not just a job; it’s an odyssey through the realms of creativity, a journey where the destination is as exciting as the path itself. The ability to craft dreams, evoke emotions, and transport audiences to new dimensions – that’s what for me makes being a screenwriter, film director, and producer an exhilarating rollercoaster of boundless possibilities.
Q: What do you consider your artistic process when it comes to making a film?
A: For me It all starts with a spark of inspiration – maybe a fleeting image, a whispered conversation, or the way sunlight kisses the earth during a golden hour. In the sanctum of solitude, I let these fragments ferment, each thought brewing like a potion of potential narratives. I’m a mad scientist, concocting a story elixir that will intoxicate minds and stir the soul. I try to create a delicate balance between structure and chaos, a dance of words and images that, when mastered, becomes the choreography of emotion.
Next is the script, the magnum opus of my imagination. I don’t consider it to be just words on paper; for me the script is the blueprint of a universe waiting to be born. Characters emerge like old friends, their voices echoing in the chambers of my mind. I use dialogue as a symphony to set the rhythm for my narrative.
Then there’s the production phase which I treat as a playground of creativity. The camera is to me what a brush is to an artist and the actors, my palette. Every frame is a stroke, every movement a dance. It’s about capturing emotions in a bottle, making sure the audience feels the heartbeat of the story. And being a producer helps me juggle the practical with the fantastical. It’s the art of turning dreams into reality, without losing the magic in the transaction.
Post-production is the final act in my process and the editing room, my sanctuary. Here, I sculpt the raw footage into a polished gem, refining the narrative until it gleams with cinematic brilliance. Here I also use music and sound design to become the heartbeat, breathing life into the visuals. In the end, my artistic process is a tapestry of chaos and control, a dance of inspiration and pragmatism. It’s about channeling the intangible into something tangible, creating a piece of art that knows no bounds and resonates with the souls of those who experience it. I think the process of filmmaking is a pilgrimage where every step is a revelation, and every frame a testament to the limitless power of imagination.
Q: Why did you start making films?
A: The genesis of my cinematic escapade is a tale woven from the threads of passion and a relentless itch for storytelling. Picture a young dreamer, fueled by a kaleidoscope of emotions and an insatiable appetite for the extraordinary. It all began when I first stepped into a movie cinema and the silver screen cast its spell on me. I found solace in the darkened theater and its allure of transporting minds to uncharted territories and the eliciting visceral reactions became my siren call.
So, armed with a head full of dreams and a heart pulsating with the rhythm of untold narratives, I embarked on this cinematic odyssey. I yearned to be the conjurer of emotions, the puppeteer of empathy, and the architect of fantastical realms. As I said earlier, film for me, isn’t just a medium; it is a language, a symphony, a canvas that could capture the ineffable and distill it into an emotional elixir.
So the desire to make films was for me a rebellion against the mundane, a protest against the ordinary. I started making films so that I could shout into the abyss, saying, “There’s magic in this world, and I’m here to capture it, frame by frame. I considered films to be the vessel for untold stories, the alchemical crucible where ideas would transmute into celluloid gold.
I knew that by being a filmmaker, I would freeze the poetry of life – the laughter, the tears, the quiet moments pregnant with meaning. I craved the challenge of translating the cacophony of emotions in my mind into a visual symphony that could resonate with hearts far and wide. So, I started making films not just to entertain but to enrapture, not just to narrate but to provoke thought. It was my way of participating in the grand tradition of storytelling, an ancient dance passed down through generations – a dance that I couldn’t resist joining.
Now, I make films because it’s not just what I do; it’s an extension of who I am. It’s a love affair with the intangible, a pursuit of the sublime, and a relentless quest to capture the fleeting magic of existence on the silver screen.
Q: What are you currently watching?
A: Recently, I’ve found myself captivated by the realms of science fiction, adventure, and fantasy. It’s the cinematic space I aspire to inhabit as a filmmaker, with a vision to infuse the enchantment of magic into African cinema. Currently, I’m immersed in studying and drawing inspiration from the trailblazers who paved the way before me, such as Zack Snyder and his “Rebel Moon,” Gareth Edwards with “The Creator,” and Takashi Yamazaki’s “Godzilla Minus One.”
Q: Any advice to those starting out in the film industry ? A: To those embarking on the rollercoaster ride of the film industry, let passion be your North Star. This industry is a tempestuous sea, and passion is your compass. When the waves of uncertainty crash, let your love for storytelling steer you through the storm. Embrace failure as your most candid mentor. Each misstep is a brushstroke on the canvas of experience. Don’t fear it; dance with it. Failure is not a stumbling block; it’s a cha-cha in the grand ballroom of success.
Build bridges, not just sets. The film industry is a collective dance, a symphony of collaboration. Network with fellow dreamers, from cinematographers to craft services. Your connections may not just open doors; they might lead you to entirely new worlds. Learn voraciously, not just from film school but from the school of life. Watch films, read books, absorb art, and let these influences seep into your creative DNA. The more diverse your influences, the richer your tapestry of storytelling. Dare to be different. The industry has its trends, but innovation often emerges from the fringes. Be a maverick, a rebel with a camera. Your uniqueness is your superpower in a world saturated with the mundane. Resilience, oh resilient souls! This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll face rejection, criticism, and moments of despair. But remember, every sunrise follows the darkest night. Persevere, for your breakthrough might be one more sunrise away. Lastly, wield your authenticity like a filmmaker’s sword. In an industry sometimes enamored with imitation, your authentic voice is your signature. Don’t be a photocopy; be an original print in the gallery of cinema. So, to the fledgling filmmakers, go forth with passion, learn from stumbles, build bridges, absorb the world,
be a maverick, endure, and above all, be unapologetically you! The silver screen awaits your unique story; go, weave the magic only you can conjure!