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Writer/director Mitch Kalisa joins COMPULSORY
COMPULSORY have announced that writer/director Mitch Kalisa has joined the director's roster, and that Kalisa's debut short film project Play It Safe, starring Jonathan Ajayi, will be premiered at this year's SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas.
Kalisa has been working with COMPULSORY since 2018, when his video for Dirty Danger's So Real caught the attention of company founding partner Chris Toumazou. They created a partnership focused on developing a slate of film projects, and the first result of the partnership is Play It Safe.
Written and directed by Kalisa (above right, on set of Play It Safe with lead actor Jonathan Ajayi), it is a parable on race, focusing on the micro-aggressions experienced by Black student attending an affluent London drama school. The lead, played by Ajayi (Noughts & Crosses, Wonder Woman 1984) is faced with the all too familiar decision of challenging prejudice placed against him by his peers or staying silent.
Produced and executively produced by COMPULSORY’s Toumazou and Kadri Mahmoud respectively, and completed just before the BLM protests of the summer took hold internationally, the film’s issues became even closer to the global social consciousness, making this release now even more poignant. Play It Safe will make its premiere at world
renowned Austin film festival SXSW this March. A festival COMPULSORY has premiered numerous short films and music videos since their origin.
“From the moment I read his writing it was clear that he was the voice of a new generation," says Toumazou. "He has a gift of underlining great stories with confident filmmaking, and this is only the start."
As well as the focus on narrative storytelling, Kalisa’s experience also spans creative consultancy in branded work, helping to shape creative voices for bespoke and large brands such as Hackett, Links of London and Beats by Dre.
Mitch Kalisa adds: “I am beyond excited to be joining the COMPULSORY team. Their output speaks for itself - they are amazing people with great taste, crafting some of the best work in the country. I was a fan before I met them and I'm an even bigger fan today having seen how they work.”
• Watch Mitch Kalisa showreel at COMPULSORY here
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