Creative aims to challenge stereotypes with short film

Akwasi Tawia Poku wants to help black people tell their own stories

ON A MISSION: Akwasi Tawia Poku

A YOUNG creative on a mission to challenge stereotypical narratives of black people in film has launched a fundraising campaign to make a film that breaks the mould.

Akwasi Tawia Poku launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign during Black History Month in a bid to raise enough money to create a short film telling the story of how misplaced biases can create havoc in the lives of ethnic minority groups.

Lock Off, an action comedy, will be written and directed by Akwasi and produced by a predominantly black-British film crew which includes producer Ade Mogaji and award-winning cinematographer Adam Barnett. 

“I’ve found myself frequently frustrated by the stories that are told about the black experience, as they are too rarely written by people of colour, making them inauthentic and often feeding into stereotypical characterisations and situations,” said Akwasi. “With Lock Off, we want to help create a world where we are the storytellers, telling our own stories, with our own voices.”  

The story follows a police unit as they attempt to crack down on a suspicious criminal operation. Commanding sergeant Robert blindly leads his unit misinformed and underprepared into a raid without realising the chaos that is about to ensue in a small south London flat. 

Film still has a long way to go in terms of diversity – according to 2019’s BFI’s Diversity Report, “underrepresented ethnicities” made up only 21 per cent of writer and directors and only 5 per cent of producers.

The Lock Off team is trying to raise £14,000 to bring this project to life and six days left to raise the money. Supporters can contribute to the project by donating at the Kickstarter page.

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