Q&A with New Cinema Days artist, Grace Ndiritu

Mon 13 Mar 2023

Earlier this month, we sat down with New Cinema Days selected artist Grace Ndiritu to find out more about her creative processes, her hopes for New Cinema Days and her latest projects.

What is the creative ethos that underpins your work?

Thinking about what a type of ‘shamanic cinema’ can be.
Meaning, I’m thinking about non-linear time but with great storytelling.

What are you hoping to get out of New Cinema Days?

I am hoping to challenge myself to learn more about working technically with SFX and VFX, as well  meeting potential creative and financial partners for the project.

Will you be working in formats that are new to you during this process?

Yes. I am aiming to work in longform fiction that has a traditional thriller narrative story arc, within a visually compelling, meta narrative of a ‘film within a film’.

Tell us more about your collaboration with Pinky Ghundale and Natasha Dack Ojumu. Have you worked together before or is this your first project together?  

This is the first time I will be working with them, but I am a long-term admirer of  both of their work. Natasha Dack Ojumu is a co-founder of the multi award winning Tigerlily Productions, along with Nikki Parrot.  Natasha is the producer of the hit documentaries Kanaval, a people’s history of Haiti and Blue Bag Life which both screened at BFI Film Festival in 2022 alongside the premiere of my experimental feature documentary Becoming Plant (2023). That’s how we first met.

Pinky Ghundale is the long term producer of Steve McQueen, who coincidentally was my tutor in Amsterdam when I was doing my postgraduate residency. She recently produced the McQueen video installation Sunshine State for IFFR 2023. I met her when I won the Jarman Film Award in 2022.

As a practicing artist, what’s the most important thing an organisation can do to support you?

I think an organisation being structured, having good resources and a capable team who can deliver a project on time is very important. But, it’s also important to be open minded and take creative risks.

Sometimes, artists think outside of the box. For those who are used to working on more commercial projects, it can be confronting to have to rethink their creative viewpoints, but usually they discover it works.

What’s next for you? 

I will be having a mid-career survey entitled Healing The Museum at S.M.A.K., Ghent from 1 April to 10 September 2023.

It will include performance, videos, shamanism, social actions, publications, textile work, collection research and a two channel film installation Black Beauty: For A Shamanic Cinema which was shown at Berlinale in 2022.  The S.M.A.K exhibition will include a new monographic publication published by Motto Books for the special occasion.

Catch Grace at New Cinema Days 17 – 21 April, at SODA in Manchester.

Tickets are now onsale for the public event on Thursday 20 April and feature a day of seminars, a keynote from film programmer, writer and researcher Jemma Desai plus a screening of three short films by Lawrence Lek, DIS and Rebecca Merlic.

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