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A Conversation with Filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu and her award winning film, “In the Morning”

I love a good rom-com or dramedie just as much as the next girl. Everything from Love Actually to He’s Just not that Into You, will forever hold a place in my heart. These movies maybe fan favorites, but one thing is always missing….women who look like me. Stories about the relationships and complex lives of people of color are rarely the focus of beloved dramedies.

Independent filmmaker,  Nefertite Nguvu also noticed that lack of diversity is a common theme. For this reason, Nefertite is dedicating her works to create narratives that people of color will be able to see themselves reflected. Through the Production Company, Hollywood Africans, Nefertite, has released her award winning debut feature film, In the Morning, which she wrote, produced, and directed.

Nefertite has described the film to be “about relationships (it’s only almost about love), so it’s not a romantic film. It’s more of a look inside the perfectly imperfect decisions women make surrounding life and love, all depicted by amazing, clever, creative and everyday people that live, work and play in Brooklyn”.

LoudGenius recently caught up with Nefertite to chat about In the Morning and here’s what we learned:

In the Morning was filmed in eight days in Brooklyn….

“Shooting in eight days was ambitious and it was an adventure. There were little challenges with the time crunch, like the generator going out and having to slow down production to fix that problem. Luckily, there were no major challenges. We wanted the time to be ever present being that the entire movie takes place in one day. There are scenes of the characters walking down the street in Brooklyn and the people you see behind them are just regular folk walking in Brooklyn. There are scenes shot in homes and restaurants in Brooklyn. The community really came together to make this film possible….it’s like the community’s baby, which adds authenticity and I hope resonates with the audience.”

On the casting and writing process:

“The cast was amazing….not only talented, but everyone got along so well. I didn’t necessarily search for people who looked like what I had in mind when writing, but the process was character driven. The audience has to sit with these characters for over an hour and theres no explosions or car chases to keep their attention. I needed actors that were charismatic. In the scenes where they are having brunch, we wanted the audience to feel like they are your friends. Characters who gave a vibe that felt familiar.  The actors even helped with the editing process. Some of their feedback was helpful with edits that made the final script. As a director, I don’t believe I am always right….I’m open to feedback and know the writing process is never finished until it’s finished. The final copy of the script was actually the 9th draft.”

On working with award-winning cinematographer Arthur Jafa (Crooklyn, Daughters of the Dust):

“When I first met AJ, we instantly connected. We bonded over Marvin Gaye’s “Vulnerable” and talked for hours. Initially, he first came to the project as a producer for the film, but when I worked up the courage to ask him to be the cinematographer and he agreed…it was deeply and truly an honor. Films like “Daughters of the Dust” are what inspired me early on to become a filmmaker. AJ has since become a great friend of mine and I am still always learning so much from him.”

On black sitcoms:  

“There is something incredibly, innovative, happening in television right now. Donald Glover’s, Atlanta, was amazing and I was so inspired by it. There’s a realness in black cinema….we are finally moving in a direction that’s different from reality television. You can always tell when scripts for black characters aren’t created by black writers. You can always tell. With the direction that black television is moving in, it is definitely something I would be open to in the future.”

What she hopes for In the Morning

“ I felt that what is so often missing in so many films are the everyday stories of people of color, So I wanted to tell our story. My friends and the women in my life were the inspiration behind the characters. I wanted there to be a different dynamic. Not necessarily about “love”, because there are all these shades of gray. There are all these circumstances and I wanted to show a different side. My hope is that they will see themselves in the film and feel a connection to it. Since the movie has been released, the positive responses have been overwhelming. I sat and ugly cried the other day reading what some women had to say after seeing it. As a director, that’s all you could ever want…is for your project to impact someone….that’s what makes it all worth it.”

Check out the trailer below:

In the Morning originally debuted in 2014 at the UrbanWorld Film Festival and has won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at UrbanWorld. Now the film, is just wrapping up a screening tour from New York City,  Atlanta, DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Newark, N.J.

Check out the film’s website www.inthemorning-thefilm.com and follow Nefertite Nguvu on Instagram, @hollywdafricans, for more updates.

In The Morning is now available via Video On Demand on Amazon, Vimeo on Demand, Xfinity Streampix and VHX. 

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