“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya is having what we can call a *moment* thanks in large part to the immense success of that film, which is still very much on the minds and mouths of the many people who’ve seen it since its premiere 2 weeks ago, as it pushes closer to the $100 million box office gross mark (it’s at just under $80 million as of the time of this post).
Just a few days after the strong box office opening weekend for Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” Kaluuya joined Andre Holland the growing stellar cast of director Steve McQueen’s New Regency big screen adaptation of the British TV series “Widows.” Viola Davis and “Color Purple” star Cynthia Erivo were previously booked for the film; and “Moonlight” co-star Andre Holland was in talks to join the cast as well.
In addition, Kaluuya is a member of the Black Panther movie starring cast, that Ryan Coogler is directing, which is currently filming; another high profile big screen project also surrounded by some top talent.
But while USA audiences are only just now getting to know the 28-year-old British actor, Kaluuya has been in the business for about a decade, appearing in mostly UK movies and TV series; “Black Mirror” fans will know him from the 2011 season of the series.
He also appeared in a few short films by fellow British filmmakers; one of those short film, which was highlighted on this blog 5 years ago, is now enjoying a bit of a rebirth thanks to the attention Kaluuya is currently getting because of the success if “Get Out.”
It’s a wonderful short film that wasn’t seen as widely as it could’ve been here in the USA; although some long-time readers of this blog might remember it.
The short film is titled “Jonah.” Kibwe Tavares is the director’s name. He also directed a short animation titled “Robots From Brixton” (also featured on this blog) which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012; “Jonah” would screen at Sundance as well.
A delightful mix of live-action and CG work titled “Jonah” is a treat.
The story: Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. These dreams become reality when they photograph a gigantic fish leaping out of the sea and their small town blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn’t what he dreamed – and when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive.
“Jonah” is a visual feast, shot though with humor and warmth, telling an old story in a completely new way.
The film stars Kaluuya and another young British actor you’ll be familiar with in Malachi Kirby, who played Kunta Kinte in last year’s reboot of “Roots.” He also appeared in an episode of the most recent “Black Mirror” season.
Also, veteran thespian Louis Mahoney co-stars in “Jonah.”
All 3 young men – Kaluuya, Kirby and writer/director Tavares – are certainly talents to watch (Tavares was an S&A Filmmaker to Watch years ago).
Watch “Jonah” in full below; and underneath, for those of you who love to peek behind the curtain – especially if you’re into visual effects – you’ll find a second video which provides a look at how the short film came together, highlighting the story-boarding and previsualizing, as well as the visual effects. At a time when many of us are calling for more varied work from black filmmakers (compared to what the Hollywood studios churn out), work like this, as well as “Get Out” and others to come, should be highlighted.
Here’s the “Making Of…” feature: