"Afronauts" tells an alternative history of the 1960s Space Race. It’s the night of July 16th 1969 and, as America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first. They train by rolling their astronaut, 17-year-old Matha Mwamba, down hills in barrels to simulate weightlessness. As the clock counts down to blast off, as the Bantu-7 Rocket looks more and more lopsided, Matha must decide if she’s willing to die to keep her family’s myths alive.
Frances Bodomo is an award-winning Ghanaian filmmaker. She grew up in Ghana, Norway, California, and Hong Kong before moving to New York to study film at Columbia University (BA) and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (MFA). Her short films "Boneshaker" (2013) and "Afronauts" (2014) both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to play at various festivals including the Berlinale, Telluride, SXSW, and New Directors/New Films. "Afronauts" received 5 Grand Jury Prizes and will play at the Whitney Museum as part of the group show "Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016." She most recently directed the short segment "Everybody Dies!" for the omnibus feature Collective:Unconscious (2016) which won Best Experimental Short at the 2016 BlackStar Film Festival. Frances is currently developing the feature version of "Afronauts", which is supported by the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, IFP's Emerging Storytellers program, and the Alfred P Sloan Foundation.
Image: Frances Bodomo