A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner Novo FilmsLindsay Branham, Founder at Novo Films
How did you decide on the subject matter for The Deep Place?
A human rights organized called International Justice Mission that works to eradicate slavery worldwide contacted us to make a film about their work. They had been working for a number of years with the Ghanian law enforcement to apprehend perpetrators of slavery and rescue and return children to their families. Lake Volta is host to one of the largest incidences of child slavery in the world. The Deep Place is based on the true story and life of a boy named Foli who became enslaved in the fishing industry on the lake as a 12 year old boy, and his journey to freedom.
What was the most challenging aspect of filming or editing this piece?
We worked with first-time actors, shooting most of the film on Lake Volta in very intense and unstable conditions. A combination of underwater and overwater scenes, child actors and the unpredictability of our shooting locations made this extremely challenging. However, beyond the logistical challenges, the most important challenge was adhering to, honoring and properly representing the story of Foli. This required hours and hours of pouring over his interviews and then writing scenes and shooting them in a way that best represented what happened in his life, and stayed true to the spirit of his journey. We took this very seriously.
What surprised you about the project outcome, or the technical elements of creating it, that you didn’t expect going into it?
This was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. The absolute honour to work with the talent we had in Ghana, both the actors and the Ghanaian casting director, Mawuko Kuadzi, brought a sense of family and community to this production that was so beautiful to be a part of. We did not expect to walk away from this shoot with friends for a lifetime and are so proud of the final film as it really is a labor of love from so many people who gave their all to this project.
The Deep Place won the Gold Telly this year. Congratulations! What does this win mean to you? How does it help your work?
We are so grateful to be recognized in this capacity! It is wonderful to be able to highlight the craft and excellence of the film but more importantly the content. The award is really helpful for our non-profit partner IJM to draw attention to the film and therefore their incredible work eradicating slavery. Thank you!