BLVCK GOLD is a short film and fictional story of amateur athlete, Tino, who uses running as a way to escape from old wounds but they come back and haunt him after a childhood friend gives him a mystery object.
The film is a young adult, coming of age drama that explores the themes of access, discrimination, self-determination, self-empowerment and resilience. The choice of visuals is stylistically portrayed in an experimental way throughout the film to demonstrate the complexity of the themes, and for those subjected to them on a daily basis it reflects on the struggle of being torn and not knowing how to call out or name such experiences, especially for young people.
Filmmaker Ez Eldin Deng brings together a poetic visual exploration of a story written by Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi and produced by Geskeva Komba, in a provocative film that focuses on the journey of self-determination and education. Deng’s telling of story is always equally focused on the process as much as the outcome and this film has enabled him to create a strong response, and deliver a product that speaks to self-determination in a multitude of ways.
For Ez Eldin “Black Gold is a story allowing us to present different faces of African Australians, young men, old, as well as women, and children.”
Black Gold as a production was developed during major global issues such as COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter protests and followed by the hard lockdown in the North Melbourne and Flemington flats in 2020.
“Through the film, I want to challenge perceptions and how the rest of the wider community look at African Australians due to lack of cultural knowledge. For me Black Gold is a small window of hope to see change.
Throughout the production of the film I was living in the moment because the story was so close to my heart and I had to focus and get it right.
Everybody did such amazing work by taking direction that was needed from me, and it was beautiful to see all the cast and crew members working tirelessly, as well as seeing elders, children, women, and young people come together. We were the most multicultural cast and crew that I have seen since working in Film, and I feel like I’ve done justice to the film regardless of what happens next.” Says Ez Eldin.
As an independent filmmaker, Ez Eldin is known for the short film Road.Dogs and his significant contributions as a creative to the mini-TV drama series Sunshine, as well as the feature film Hearts and Bones. The directorial talent and creativity by Deng is also matched with an exceptional ensemble of creatives that consists of Cinematographer Victor Ng, Production Designer Monica Kabissios, Editor Sean Lewis as well as Hyperdynamic for composition and sound design.
Set in the high-rise buildings at the Flemington Public Housing Estates, the desire for the project was to work with and support community in a self-determined way. The choice of setting was inspired by the work that Ez Eldin, Geskeva and Ras-Samuel do and the communities they come from, all growing up and/or living within public housing high-rises.
“I wanted to represent the Black African experience in Australia and bring some tradition, culture and beauty to the screen and within Australian cinema. There’s power in creating work that matters, and it takes on a life of its own. I hope Black Gold becomes a template for many up-and-coming filmmakers to be inspired and create their own stories.” Ras-Samuel says.
The Flemington Public Housing Estates as a physical space, has a strong sense of connection and community for residents as well as it being a home, a place of refuge, and place of intergenerational celebration. However, it is also a trigger-induced breeding ground comprised of discrimination, structural violence, intergenerational trauma and police profiling. In July 2020, residents of the Flemington Estates were subjected to a 14 day hard lockdown with minimal warning and over policing due to the current global pandemic, and only community organisations and groups being the first on the ground to provide support. The buildings alone and its infrastructure serves as a strong metaphor to the themes and social issues weaved throughout the film and that impact the character’s lives, which demonstrates and connects to the stories and experiences of the residents who live within the estate.
BLVCK GOLD as a film speaks directly to its audience and most importantly the community that the creatives come from and serve. At its core, it addresses real and common issues that have happened and continue to happen in places like the Flemington and North Melbourne Estates.
“As a team we worked hard, and we were all learning, reimagining and creating a different way of working that represents who we are and where we want to go being creatives within Australia.
As the producer, my role was to bring all the resources and people together to support the creative vision of this film. I hope that it is able to demonstrate one of the many aspects of authentic representation, as well as the creativity and beauty of our community.” Geskeva says.
Ez Eldin, Geskeva and Ras-Samuel hope that making this film within the African community will mean something and that others will recognize themselves in it.
For more announcements about the film, please follow BLVCK GOLD on Instagram to stay updated.
ABOUT GESKEVA KOMBA
Geskeva Komba is a trans-disciplinary creative of Comorian and Tanzanian heritage. Raised in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, she has 14 years’ experience combined in community development, theatre, spoken word and music.
Geskeva is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts’ Master of Producing, and alumni of the Cinespace Story Lab and Story Lab 2.0, as well as the Compton School 3-2-1 Workshop taught by Andrea Buck and David Court. Awards include Australian Human Rights ‘Racism. It Stops With Me Award’ (2017) and the VicHealth award for Improving Mental Wellbeing (2015) for the Sisters and Brothers program produced in collaboration with cohealth Arts Generator.
Geskeva is currently working with Cathartic Pictures on a Producer Placement supported by Film Victoria, and she is passionate about combining her skills of working with community, and writing stories that build platforms of multiplicity and authentic representation.
Image credit: Geskeva Komba. Courtesy Geskeva Komba.
ABOUT EZ ELDIN DENG
Ez Eldin Deng is an independent filmmaker from South Sudan. He came from a place where stories are untold on a big screen. His family migrated to Australia for a brighter future and Ez found filmmaking as a language to speak to his community.
As a South Sudanese Australian Film Maker, Ez wants to create films that have something positive to say. One of his last directed video clips titled Breaking News was accepted into Sunshine Girls Film Festival 2016, and the 3-part short film (Be A Brother) was highly commended at the VicHealth Award 2016. Ez has worked as a cultural consultant/liaison and director’s attachment on the AACTA award winning mini-TV drama series Sunshine broadcasted on SBS in 2017. Ez has also worked on season 2 of the tv series Jack Irish broadcasted on the ABC doing behind the scenes for online marketing contents and in 2018 Ez was the director attachment and casting consultant on the feature film Hearts and Bones, starring Hugo Weaving.
Image credit: Ez Eldin Deng. Courtesy Ez Eldin Deng.
ABOUT RAS-SAMUEL WELDA’ABZGI
Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi is a vessel for telling stories that are gifted to him, and he is on a mission to share those gifts with the world. He became a writer to tell BIPOC stories in a creative landscape and on screen because as a young African creative he always noticed the great inequality in terms of representation.
Ras-Samuel writes universal, relatable and complex characters dabbling in the genre of drama and comedy. His writing style is highly influenced by Spike Lee and the magical surrealism of Childish Gambino (Atlanta). Recent screen works include The Last Supper, BLVCK GOLD, Jebena Genie all of which he also wrote and produced.
Ras-Samuel hopes to diversify Australia’s artistic landscape by inspiring the next generation who might not see many culturally diverse artists like him on stage and on screen.
Image credit: Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi. Courtesy Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi.