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Natasha Mwansa: Commercial that became a social experiment25.08.2020

We asked Natasha Mwansa—one of the finalists of Papaya Young Directors international contest —about attractiveness of the documentary form and about finding her interviewees.

Papaya Young Directors is the only competition for young film directors in Europe that facilitates direct access to the professional world of filmmaking. Up until now, there have been six editions of the competition, with 96 films made for 45 sponsors. HERE you'll find the information about the competition.

Premiere screening and the award gala of the 7th Papaya Young Directors edition will take place on September 5 in Warsaw and will be streamed online as well as broadcasted live in several venues around Poland. More info HERE.

And HERE you can find a Polish version of this article.

While submitting your script to Papaya Young Directors, you decided to tell your story through a documentary form. Do you feel comfortable in this genre?

Documentary is a genre I have a love/hate relationship with! Though I love the authenticity and often vulnerability that shows through in this medium, I'm also aware of just how personal it can be for a lot of people and how difficult it can be to gain the trust of contributors in sharing intimate details about their lives.

How did the idea develop throughout the last few months? Is it still a commercial or more like a social experiment?

It started off as a commercial and gradually turned into a social experiment. The couples we spoke to were really diverse in terms of cultural identity and relationship dynamics but they all shared similar values when it comes to sex in relation to mutual respect and what it means to be intimate. This was really interesting to watch unfold and also says a lot about how we (as a society) are continually working to purge ourselves of unhealthy sexual ideologies and practises. 

How did you come across your interviewees?

I spent a lot of time posting adverts in forums and Facebook groups and all over social media - this took up a lot of time and energy! My main agenda was to reach out to as diverse a pool of people as possible so getting in touch with online platforms that specifically advocate for LGBTQIA or POC communities for example, were instrumental in helping me source willing couples.

What stories do you wish to tell as a young filmmaker?

Though this film is documentary-style, I'm really interested in writing and directing scripted films and centring characters and themes that don't get represented often enough on-screen. My personal tastes lean more towards blurring the lines between drama and comedy, and I love narratives that are written from the perspective of unreliable or unlikeable protagonists. Most of the ideas I'm working on now align with those themes.


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