Bournemouth University Master's students from the Media Production Department collaborated with industry professionals with support from Mister Tibbs to produce a short film titled ‘KOKO’ which premiered at the ‘Up Close And Personal With Mister Tibbs’ film evenings in London and Manchester. The film was a group project supported by students and staff from the Faculty of Media & Communication.
Mister Tibbs runs The Pheobe Frances Brown Film Fund for emerging female talent in the comedy genre. In 2023, their first year running the fund, they awarded Freelance Producer, Sychelle Kristina Yanda £1000 to support the film production of KOKO.
Sychelle-Kristina Yanda, Writer and Producer of KOKO said: “My British-Congolese comedy short KOKO (means grandma in Lingala; the Congolese dialect) was written at a time I was grieving the loss of my grandmother.
“Jia Lang (cinematographer) from Bournemouth University and I met when my family were after a photographer for my grandma's funeral. We had a long chat about career goals after the funeral and then realised that our paths were somewhat aligned. I wanted to write, he wanted to shoot. We knocked heads and started making music videos together before making our short film TIME WON'T HEAL together at the beginning of 2023.
“Jia came on board as a cinematographer and kindly brought on other Bournemouth University students to support the film. Names include Hexiang Song, Yikun Li, Jiajun Pan and Shreyas Bhat.
“The benefits of collaborations like this are that we can all bring our experiences together to make a project we all care about. We were able to share skills, learn from each other and form friendships. We already have future film projects in mind to work on together.”
Jia Lang, who is currently studying MA Cinematography for Film and Television said: “I'm really proud to have had the privilege of applying what I've learnt at BU to this project which we shot in London. I have developed great connections and friendships from this experience. I was able to utilise my colour-correcting skills, using professional grading (Da Vinci Resolve) to enhance the video quality. I’m happy with the project outcome and what we’ve achieved.”
In January Mister Tibbs hosted two film nights in London and Manchester in which KOKO was screened live to an audience. Sami Abusamra, Founder of Mister Tibbs and former BU film graduate said: “Our aim is to share great work and connect the creatives who make funny stuff with the brands, agencies and broadcasters who commission it. KOKO screened (as a work in progress) at our January night and went down really well. The jokes landed and the characters came across vividly.”
The project team for this comedy short are currently refining KOKO to pitch for the BAFTA qualifying festival and the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards.
BU staff/students who supported the making of KOKO:
Jia Lang - MA Cinematography for Film and Television
Hexiang Song - MA Cinematography for Film and Television
Shreyas Bhat - MA Sound Design for Screen
Yikun Li - MA Producing for Film and Television
Jiajun Pan – International college
Mark Bond – Senior Lecturer in Cinematography
Dr Philip Mathews - Principal Academic and Deputy Head of Department in Media Production