No Direct Flight

  • Liz Chege
  • Tega Okiti

No Direct Flight is a global partnership project linking East Africa, the UK and the US supported by the BFI and the British Council. Through exhibition, discussion, commissioning and publishing, the project explored the impact of internet culture on African and African diaspora moving image practices from aesthetics to new forms of collaboration. I programme produced a wide number of aspects on the project including film clearance rights, film transport management, talent schedules and travel and helped deliver an effective comms strategy. #NoDirectFlightLDN

No Direct Flight
Through film, art, VR and music, we explored how the digital world is helping to create a new generation of African global influencers. Curated by Gaylene Gould and Tega Okiti.
The global Pan-Africanism movement was nearly a century old by the time the internet arrived. No surprise then that diasporic African filmmakers, visual artists and music-video directors annexed the virtual space early on. This season explores the themes and visual motifs virally traded between Africa, the US and Europe that gave rise to a bold, black, globally influential aesthetic. We might be seduced by the style but do we know the influencers? Touching down in the UK, then Kenya and the US, we’ll reveal who’s trending. Classic pan-African features paired with their daring short-form offspring, new commissions, virtual discussions and a get-down party IRL will connect artists and audiences around the world in a way that transport links cannot.
Global Meet Up
In partnership with the BlackStar Festival in Philadelphia, we beaming speakers in from around the world in a live event of talks, visuals, VR and testimony linking the past with film culture’s future. Technologists and platform creators discussed how the digital world has helped connect artists with each other and their audiences from the beginnings of the internet to today. Speakers included
  • Teddy Goitam, founder of
  • Jamal Edwards, founder of SBTV
  • Derek Richards, creative and digital polymath
  • Cecile Emeke, filmmaker including docu-series Strolling

We also discussed how technology offers new possibilities, but also threatens to limit the civil rights and liberties of people of colour around the globe. Dare to be awakened by:
  • Part One: Discussion with Karen Palmer, Storyteller from the Future and explorer of the darker side of AI, and Marcus Gilroy Ware, writer, researcher, concerned human being and author of Filling The Void, Emotion, Capitalism and Social Media.
  • Part Two: Conversation with Nanjala Nyabola, political strategist and author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet is Transforming Politics in Kenya.

Selected filmmakers in London and Philadelphia discussed the way the internet has allowed them to virally trade motifs across the world giving rise to a bold, black, globally influential aesthetic. Including:
  • Nuotoma Frances Bodoma: NDF Screenings Afronauts and Boneshaker
  • Cauleen Smith, interdisciplinary filmmaker
  • Ja'Tovia Gary: NDF Screening Giverny
  • Jenn Nkiru: NDF Screening As Told to G/d Thyself
  • Shola Amoo: NDF Screening The Last Tree
  • Amirah Tajdin: NDF Screening Embroidery for a Long Song
The Swimming in Your Skin Again strand offered studies of black beauty on screen, from a set of transatlantic audio-visual auteurs who discard the rulebook altogether.
The Homegoing strand presented the work of filmmakers who, with artistic flare, precision and playfulness, reflected the bittersweet diasporic condition.
The Timecircles strand explored the connection between the past, present and the future as a deeply-mined seam that offers up visual and sonic experimentations.
Sonic shorts strand
Music is the baseline of the black aesthetic – so no surprise that some of the leading visual creators are musicians themselves, or work closely with music artists.
Past and Future Spirits strand
The close link between the human and the spirit world grounds the work of African diaspora makers. This strand explored folklore, tradition and the ancestral realm.


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