Everyone has a story. But most of them don’t reach a larger audience.
Comox filmmaker Chukwumuobi Obasi is showcasing the stories of local youth. Obasi has worked for over ten years for local support agency Milieu Children and Family Services.
Youth who pass through the agency’s doors navigate paths full of ups, downs, twists, and turns.
During those ten years, Obasi has heard a ton of stories. And with his new film, Lights, he’s drawn from the experiences of many youth he’s worked with.
“These individuals, almost all of them, are dealing with trauma which has led to mental and emotional challenges. Others have been dealing with issues since birth,” Obasi told Comox Valley Now.
While dealing with different challenges, they often have a similar desire. Primarily, to be seen and accepted.
“Many of them have goals in life and want to be part of the community, but the challenges they deal with can make it difficult to do that.”
Lights focus on the strength needed to deal with these challenges.
“If we can just take a step back and look at our own strengths and see what we can do to go through those hurdles, we can actually get through.”
This is the film’s message.
Actress Ana Carvalho plays Alina Jones, a teen living in a group home who craves to be noticed despite dealing with mental and emotional challenges.
The cast and crew for the film are local folks, and it was a collective labour of love for all who worked on it.
Obasi worked on the script for months before introducing it to other local creatives, and it took off from there.
“In the Comox Valley we have a lot of people who love to make films and collaborate,” he said.
“We have hairdressers, makeup artists, cinematographers…When all the people bring their own craft into it and make it better, and then the actors come along and bring the pages to life, it’s just amazing and it makes me want to do it again.”
Lights received $20,000 in funding from the Black Creators Edition from Telus Storyhive.
It’s available for viewing on Telus Optik TV channel 707 and Storyhive’s YouTube channel.
On Feb. 16, you can see it on the big screen at the Sid Williams Theatre, along with some of Obasi’s other work.
As for Obasi, he’s already telling his next story.
At the Feb. 16 event, you’ll get to watch Lights and Obasi’s other film Family Fortune – as well as part one of his newest project, Senior Mates, which he hopes will one day be a feature film.
Take advantage of this chance to support the local creative community. And you’ll be sure to learn something about the resilience of local youth, too.