While he preps his second feature – the Paramount and J.J. Abrams-produced sci-fi thriller titled God Particle, watch Julius Onah’s Focus Features Africa First program short film, titled Big Man.
This is a film whose fundraising campaign we featured on this site in 2011, I believe it was, after Onah had been selected for that year’s Africa First program class.
The film was eventually completed in 2012, and toured the international film festival circuit. I never did see it actually, so I’m glad that it’s finally made its way online, where we can all now check it out!
First, here’s a synopsis for Big Man:
BIG MAN is a little story about two young boys growing up on Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. Owoga is a mischievous, energetic kid always eager to play and Owoko is his sweet little brother who’s just trying to keep up. It’s summer vacation and all they want to do is adventure, just like their hero — Indiana Jones. But when one of Owoga’s games goes to far, both brothers must confront the fact that childhood isn’t always fun and games.
As I recall, Julius was able to raise $4,000 to add to the funds Focus Features provides to program fellows. The money was used, in part, to help pay to transport the film’s crew and equipment safely from New York to Nigeria (where the film was shot, on location) and back to New York.
Long-time readers of this blog, going way back to its early days 4 1/2 years ago, will remember Julius Onah’s name on the very first S&A’s Black Filmmakers to watch list in mid-2009.
At the time, the Nigerian-born filmmaker was pursuing an MFA in film at NYU’s Tisch School, and had been selected as a Dean’s Fellow; his short film, The Boundary, which starred Alexander Siddig (Syriana, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) was designated by Amnesty International as one of its “Movies That Matter,“ and was acquired by HBO; also at the time, he was working on his feature film debut titled, The Girl Is In Trouble (starring Columbus Short), which was executive produced by Spike Lee.
Earlier this year, Onah was been tapped by Paramount and J.J. Abrams (via his Bad Robot production company), to direct the sci-fi thriller God Particle, from a script that was penned by Oren Uziel, with Abrams supervising.
The script, which was said to have been one of Hollywood’s most buzzed-about “open directing assignments” (partly because there had been lots of secrecy around it, and J.J. Abrams had been attached to produce), follows an American space station crew that’s abandoned after a problem with a Hadron accelerator causes Earth to completely vanish.
While we wait for that intriguing feature film to become a reality, watch Julius’ latest work, the 15-minute Big Man below: