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COMPULSORY's Mitch Kalisa wins Grand Jury Prize at SXSW for 'Play It Safe'

COMPULSORY's Mitch Kalisa wins Grand Jury Prize at SXSW for 'Play It Safe'

Promonews - 23rd Mar 2021

COMPULSORY-signed director Mitch Kalisa’s debut short film Play It Safe has won the prestigious Jury Narrative Short Award at this year's SXSW - held remotely this year.

Play It Safe is a parable on race, set in the ‘safe’ environment of a middle class, predominantly white drama school. An experience both Mitch the director and lead actor Jonathan Ajayi have shared in their own recent history. It the first British win of the prestigious SXSW award for a decade.

Kalisa developed with short with COMPULSORY for a couple of years, shooting the film just before the UK went into lockdown due to the coronavirus in March 2020.

Commenting on the SXSW Grand Jury Prize win for Play It Safe, Kalisa says: “A big thank you to SXSW and to the amazing cast and crew I was lucky enough to work with to bring this story to life. It’s been incredible to see how a personal story has touched so many. Hopefully the film has and will inspire some important conversations around the issues raised. Thank you all once again. So much love.”

Jonathan Ajayi is best known for his role in the award-winning BBC version of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses where he played Lekan, and also stars in Wonder Woman 1984. Ajayi said of the project: “Thank you to SXSW for championing this film in the way it deserves to be! It was a gift of a film as an actor and a deep responsibility as a black man. I’m honoured to have been a part of this.”

COMPULSORY have had a history of making award-winning short films and this year sees their move into feature development with a slate of projects, championing the work of new voices in cinema. Producer and EP Chris Toumazou, COMPULSORY co-founder, and producer and EP of Play It Safe, has added: “I am lost for words and eternally grateful for all of the support and win this year at SXSW 2021. Thank you to the incredible crew that helped make this happen.

"I would like to thank Mitch, Jonathan and everyone who gave us their incredible dedication on this project. SXSW has become a champion in encouraging creativity for new voices. I hope to keep opening many more doors for diversity in front and behind the camera as a producer.”

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Promonews - 23rd Mar 2021


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