Shasha and I talk about her new film Take Light, the power crisis in Nigeria, poverty, corruption, Illegal electricians, suffering and smiling, hope and the legacy of colonialism.
Over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s nearly 200 million citizens don’t have access to electricity. For Africa’s largest energy producer and most populous nation, that number is shocking. Those dependent on the unreliable grid are limited to a few hours of power a day at best. Taking matters into their own hands, many households illegally and dangerously wire their homes by tampering with transformers.
While a bungling bureaucracy attempts to privatize the electrical system, an electrician risks his life on power poles, trying to provide for his daughter’s education. His colleague in customer service has the more difficult task of going door to door collecting fees from disgruntled customers.
The problems are complex and systemic, but director Shasha Nakhai delicately balances the big picture of a country trying to advance its development with the compelling stories of blue-collar workers attempting to make better lives for their families.
Shasha Nakhai is a filmmaker based out of Toronto with Compy Films and Storyline Entertainment. Her award-winning films have screened at festivals and aired on TV worldwide, been released on iTunes, gone viral and been awarded Vimeo Staff Pick and Short of the Week. Her last film with partner Rich Williamson, Frame 394, was shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short and was part of the CBC’s new Digital Doc Shorts initiative. It had its world premiere at the 2016 Hot Docs Film Festival, and went on to win Best Canadian Short at NorthwestFest, Best Documentary Short at the Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival, Best Documentary Short at the Sidewalk Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Documentary Short at the New Orleans Film Festival, and Best Documentary at the Charleston Film Festival. It was named one of TIFF’s Top 10 Films of 2016, and was nominated for 2 Canadian Screen Awards.
Shasha was 1 of 8 emerging producers selected for the DOC Institute’s Breakthrough Program in 2015, and was awarded Telefilm Canada’s Pay It Forward Prize as part of the Hot Docs Film Festival’s Don Haig Award.
Take Light is her first feature documentary. She also has a deep love for interactive storytelling, working as a brand ambassador for PlayStation for 8 years, and having been selected as the inaugural recipient of WIFT’s Ubisoft Toronto Producer Mentorship program. She recently collaborated with DimensionGate on her first virtual reality project, Take Light VR.
Having graduated from Ryerson University’s Broadcast Journalism program, Shasha was born in the Philippines, grew up in Nigeria and came to Canada as an international student in 2003
To learn more about the film visit the site here.
Image Copyright: Storyline and Shasha Nakhai. Used with permission.
For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.
With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.