JUS SOLI – Directed by Somebody Nobody (Simon Jenkins, Michael McLeod and Joshua Llewellyn)

JUS SOLI: the principle that a person’s nationality at birth is determined by the place of birth

One of the Raindance events from this year that we most looked forward to was the premier of JUS SOLI, a sixteen minute film credited to Somebody Nobody, the directorial collective consisting of Simon Jenkins, Michael McLeod and Joshua Llewellyn.

The concept of jus soli (as stated above) is an interesting one that’s often mentioned with the heavy-handed approach of the Americas, and increasingly frequently as immigration continues to be a talking point around the world.

Touted as examining “the black British experience” it was the unusual trailer for JUS SOLI and use of archive that grabbed our attention, and the fact that it was shot on 16mm film. Archive and film, two things we’re fiends for.

Despite the temptation for films of this length to rush through their time with the message (often too far) on the nose, JUS SOLI takes the opposite approach with longer shots establishing you in a place to delve in to and properly consider what’s happening on the screen.

We don’t want to give too much away, as a lot of the impact for us happened on first viewing, but we will say that JUS SOLI masterfully puts together multiple elements to deliver it’s message effectively, including live group performance, set-only scenes, field recordings with no visual attached, and audio free solo performances (seriously, Nicholas Pinnock is just incredible) that sit along the use of historical footage.

It really is a powerful piece. JUS SOLI rightfully earns your undivided attention and subsequently becomes the probing piece it set out to be.

Check the trailer below and keep an eye out for screenings across the next few months. Also, be sure to read the producer’s notes that we’ve posted underneath that again, some of the best we’ve read.

via Somebody Nobody

JUS SOLI examines the Black British experience, interrupting key events in Britain’s recent history to question and probe the British psyche/attitude towards it’s Black population, placing it in a wider context of what it means to be British.

An experimental film that charts the changing emotions of Britain’s Black population, from a Caribbean on the SS Windrush: full of hope and love for the “motherland” to a disaffected Black British youth angry, alienated and marginalised in British society. The imagery reflects the emotional transition between generations, scenes vary from the green “post-card” countryside image of Britain, through archive footage of the “Festival of Britain” (1951) celebrating all things “Great” Britain and eventually to more darker, foreboding scenes reflecting the isolation of Black Brits, and poignantly a scene representing the wasted lives of 13 British youths killed in The New Cross House Fire (18th January 1981). Splicing together archive footage, filmed scenes, sounds and images to build an image of Britain struggling to relinquishe it’s colonial powers.

Drawing on feelings and emotions of the time the film opens up a discussion on race and immigration which is still relevant today, making a powerful statement about identity and belonging. Shot on 16mm to capture the timeless nature of these themes.

The film features a powerful performance from Nicholas Pinnock (Foritude, Ice Cream Girls and Top Boy) and narration from acclaimed dub-poet Linton Kwesi Johnson; a driving force behind of the Black power movement in Britain and the only black poet to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

Written, produced and directed by south London film collective Somebody Nobody, (Simon Jenkins, Michael McLeod and Joshua Llewellyn ) winners of Ideas Tap 2014 short film fund from over 600 scripts. Executive produced by renowned theatre director and associate director of the Olympic opening ceremony Paulette Randall MBE aswell as award winning writer, producer , director James Rogan (Monty Python – Meaning of Live, BBC Storyville).