Today, WePresent, the digital arts platform of WeTransfer, shares details about two films by two of music’s most important voices that they will be releasing over the next month.
The first is the debut film of acclaimed British artist and actor Simbiatu Ajikawo aka Little Simz -- an original narrative short film called I Love You, I Hate You, which is out today. In addition to starring in the film herself, I Love You, I Hate You’s story was created by Little Simz and is directed by Sam Pilling and written by Caroline Adeyemi. Little Simz’s co-stars include Shaniqua Okwok (It’s A Sin, Small Axe), C.J. Beckford (Big Age, National Theatre’s Small Island) and newcomer Sonia Ajuwa. The film is a deep dive into a song of the same title from Little Simz’s critically-lauded recently released album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. The film’s director Sam Pilling has previously helmed visuals for The Weeknd, David Lynch, J. Cole, and more.
The film I Love You, I Hate You focuses on repressed memories, interpreting the relationship between Little Simz’s father and herself. The film takes its cues from her song of the same title, which covers such difficult material that Little Simz at first refused to write it. The specter she didn’t want to talk about? Her absent father. “Is you a sperm donor or a Dad to me?” she asks. “My ego won’t fully allow me to say that I miss you” she confesses. “A woman who hasn’t confronted all her Daddy issues.” The I Love You, I Hate You film threads out this fraught relationship into all of its possibilities.
Says Little Simz about the project, “I Love You, I Hate You is the story of abandonment. How trauma can affect us in our adult lives if never confronted. I wanted to make this film because I feel it’s a universal story that many people can relate to. It’s been incredible to work with a partner like WePresent (the digital arts platform of WeTransfer) who are so invested in telling stories like this. They understood and trusted my vision from the jump and had my back to create the film I set out to make.”
Click HERE to watch I Love You, I Hate You. Full credits for the film are listed below.
The second project is a 67 minute live performance film starring and directed by critically-acclaimed artist Moses Sumney set for release on December 8, 2021. Entitled Blackalachia, the film was created over two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, and features songs from Sumney’s albums Græ and Aromanticism.
Says Sumney, “Over the course of two days, we filmed 14 songs, totally live, the trees as our audience, the grasshoppers our background singers. The film is a wild imagining of what can happen when we seek not just to reclaim nature, but to reintegrate with it.”
Click HERE to watch a trailer of Blackalachia. Full credits for the film are listed below.
Both films are further additions to WePresent’s impressive film pillar, with the platform acting as executive producers, as well as commissioners of each project.
WePresent Editor-In-Chief and Executive Producer Holly Fraser says, "To date WePresent has released a number of impactful short film and documentary commissions, and following on from the success of ‘The Long Goodbye’ - an award-winning collaboration with artist Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia - we wanted to ensure that we were continuing to tell powerful and affecting stories. After speaking with Little Simz about the very personal concept at the heart of 'I Love You, I Hate You' we knew that this was a story that would resonate with people all over the world. Marking Little Simz’s first foray into narrative film we see this revealing even more depth to an already multilayered artist.”
Ahead of the digital arts platform’s release of Blackalachia by Moses Sumney, Fraser continues, “After months of planning, 'Blackalachia' was filmed in the autumn of 2020 during the pandemic when musicians were unable to perform to live crowds. Working with an artist like Moses Sumney, who has such a strong vision and sense of artistry, was hugely inspiring, and we hope that 'Blackalachia' inspires other artists to see the many possibilities of layered storytelling through music. WePresent was able to collaborate with Moses to bring this stunning and nuanced film to life and now we are able to finally share it with the world on our platform. We look forward to continuing to work with this important artist and watch him break the boundaries between artistic disciplines.”
WeTransfer launched WePresent in 2018, giving global visionaries – from Solange Knowles, Bon Iver and John Legend to IDLES, FKA twigs and Riz Ahmed – a space to make new work without limits and reach WeTransfer’s 87 million monthly active users. WePresent commissions more than 10 major projects every year, uniting art, film, music and great writing, enabling creatives to bring their ideas to life. WePresent has featured stories about 1000 creatives from over 100 countries, creating some of the most diverse content on the internet.
WePresent’s projects are conversation starters and cultural game-changers that have lit a match under the potential of artistic collaboration, expanding beyond the traditional confines of the online sphere. Their partnership with FKA twigs has lasted three years, memorably with an intimate film project that showed her in training for the “Cellophane” video. Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye, which was executive produced by WePresent, was hugely successful too, winning Best Short Film at the British Independent Film Awards, a Gold and two Silver Lions at Cannes Lions, and the Grand Prix at the Odense International Film Festival, in addition to qualifying for the Oscars.
Image sheet with link to download hi-res stills HERE.
Starring: Simbiatu Ajikawo (Sage), Sonia Ajuwa (Young Sage), Shaniqua Okwok (Annie), C.J. Beckford (Omar)
Executive Producers: James Sorton, Davud Karbassioun, Bianca Bhagat, Simbiatu Ajikawo, Holly Fraser, Tiffany Yu & Phil van der Krogt
Executive Producers: Moses Sumney, Holly Fraser, Tiffany Yu, Phil van der Krogt, Danielle Boelling, Liv Siddall, Suzanne Tromp, Alex Kahl
Of the many voices in music today, Little Simz’s is among the most commanding, writing at a pitch of intensity and urgency that few can match. Her most recent record, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, is an intensely alive hybrid, a work of radical honesty that uses personal history as a means of magnifying and challenging the paradoxes we find ourselves in, both social and personal, macro and micro. Like some of the legendary musicians that came before her, Simz is looking at the chaos and disorder in the world right now with resourceful, refined eyes, and she sees the glorious opportunity and enormous responsibility that affords.
Moses Sumney evades definition as an act of duty: technicolor videos and monochrome clothes; Art Rock and Black Classical; blowing into Fashion Week from a small town in North Carolina; seemingly infinite collaborators, but only one staggering voice. A young life spent betwixt Southern California and Accra, Ghana - not so much rootless as an epiphyte, an air plant. The scale is cinematic but the moves are precise deeds of art and stewardship. Sumney's most recent effort, the generous double album, græ, is an assertion that the undefinable still exists and dwelling in it is an act of resistance.
There's probably a biblical analogy to be made about a person who just happens to be named Moses, who flees the binary, splits a massive body into two pieces, and leads us through the in-between - holy and wholly rebellious. By breaking up græ into two multifaceted, dynamic pieces, Sumney quite literally created a "grey" in-between space for listeners to absorb and consider the art. Not strictly singles, not strictly albums, never altogether songs or spoken word segments on their own. It's neither here nor there. "Neither/Nor," if you will.
WePresent is WeTransfer’s digital arts platform, acting as the company’s cultural torchbearer to a monthly audience of 3 million in 190 countries. Collaborating with emerging young talent to renowned artists such as Marina Abramovic, Riz Ahmed, FKA twigs or David Sedaris, WePresent showcases the best in art, photography, film, music, literature and more, championing diversity in everything it does. The platform’s commissions range from editorial features to films, illustrations, photography series, events, exhibitions and social media activations, with an aim to offer a fresh take on the magic and mystery of creative ideas.
WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its suite of creative productivity tools make it easy to collaborate, share and deliver work. WeTransfer has more than 87 million monthly active users in 190 countries.