I was excited to embark on the next stage of a third film together with my friend Mark Brecke. He’s been busy doing the research and gathering a number of elements together for the past couple of years. Until recently, he had been living in Nairobi, using it a his base camp (once again) and made a number of expeditions into Somalia, specifically into Mogadishu, to capture stills and footage to help tell the story. As one might imagine, this was a difficult task with many roadblocks and hazards along the way that saw him in direct danger on more than one occasion.

But this was certainly not Mark’s first time in the line of fire. The last feature film Stacey and I took on as a project for our production company saw Mark sneaking across the border from Chad into Darfur, Sudan, to bring back the first-hand accounts of the developing genocide. That film was quite impactful and captured not only the human toll of the conflict, but delved into the intricacies of why there was not an aggressive move to put a stop to it, and how the general public was grossly under informed by the government and press as to what was happening. Our film, They Turned Our Desert Into Fire captures all of this, and went on to win Best Documentary the the São Paulo International Film Festival and is now available through DER.

This time Mark and I set off to New York to capture the first of a number of interviews for the new film. This time was Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Professor of Italian History and Studies at NYU. She was the perfect person for this, so knowledgeable about the what we we after in the history of Somali cinema. Look for her new book out soon, Fascism’s Empire Cinema: Histories and Journeys of Conquest and Defeat. Next, we’re looking to capture interviews in the Bay Area, LA, Minnesota, and a few other places around the world.

New York was great, especially spending time catching up with my friend. And on this trip we had a little extra time to grab some meetings, catch a friend’s gallery opening (finally meeting a bunch of my NYC IG artist friends in person), and even went to the stunning Salgado show at the ICP. Good food and drink, and that’s one full list.