Crumbs first premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2015, starring actors Daniel Tadesse and Selam Tesfaye. While it had been screened locally, audiences from across the globe were eager to see the unusual feature-length thriller. Crumbs has also been described as a ‘romantic, whimsical science-fiction’ film.
The film is set in a deserted Ethiopian landscape following a “massive war” where audiences are introduced to Gagano, who is consumed by daydreams while facing constant fears, and has had enough of collecting the valuable crumbs of decayed civilisation. When a spaceship that has been hovering high in the sky for years starts showing signs of activity, Gagano, has to overcome his fears and discovers that things aren’t quite the way they seemed.
It’s not every day that African directors produce post-apocalyptic, science-fiction films, so we asked Miguel what inspired him to make Crumbs.
“I studied philosophy and I like sci-fi writers like Philip K.Dick or Kurt Vonnegut. I become fascinated with Ethiopia’s landscape which made me dream, it inspired me. And that’s what sci-fi does; it allows you to envision the world you live in from a different perspective.
“I could be creative and create my own imaginary space with this grotesque environment, based on projections of our own history and current processes,” he says.
Releasing Crumbs online
Since its release last year, the film has been screened at more than 100 film festivals around the world. Miguel says the film has received positive feedback from a number of international publications as well as die-hard Afrofuturism fans.
Crumbs is a niche movie with a target market spread around the world. There are people interested in United States, Canada, Brazil and South Africa, but also in Spain, UK or Germany. We were approached by Video on Demand (Online) in a bid to reach our target market,” he says.
Sci-fi film industry in Africa
A niche genre like sci-fi is yet to appeal to a larger African audience. Miguel says with the exceptions of Ethiopia and South Africa, the film did not do as well as expected in other African countries.
“There were singular screenings in Kenya and Uganda. I think the African market is growing fast, but it´s very atomized. South Africa is leading in this market, so we’ve capitalised on this by selling copies at their airports. We’ve also had several screenings in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban,” he says.
“The film, District 9, was a big hit and you can also find some movies by Jean Piere Bekolo. I recently watched an interesting film by the Kenyan director Mbith Msaya, Katikati, that premiered in Toronto. Genre movies are also becoming more popular in Nollywood. All this is good news. My hope is for sci-fi to become more popular on the continent. It’s a great way to reflect our often convoluted political and social processes in a surreal setting,” he says.
“The world wants to see how people in Africa dream and how we’d imagine a futuristic earth or universe will be. People are tired of monopolised publications on famine, wars and failures.”
Miguel says it’s important for any inspiring sci-fi film maker to engulf themselves in the industry and to get involved in the international industry.
“If you start belonging to these communities, the love will be reciprocal and you will find your opportunities here and there,” he says.
Watch Crumbs here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/crumbsbymiguellanso