In their initiative to bolster the works of underrepresented filmmakers, BIPOC-centered distributor Dedza Films has released Who Will Start Another Fire, an anthology of nine short films from directors of various backgrounds. Amidst the film industry’s pressing discussions of representation in films, the anthology emphasizes the prominence of diversity behind the camera and what narratives such creators can highlight when they remain unconstrained by corporate demand for marketability.
The films are quite striking in their vastly different subject matters—the legacies of war, broken families, gentrification, restlessness, and division between communities weigh heavily on the viewer. Yet the methods by which the directors present the films feel eerily similar and make clear why they tie together as an anthology. In a span of fifteen minutes each, the directors reveal to the audience snippets of people’s lives and make sparse, if any, use of non-diegetic soundtracks. Nothing about the presentations are particularly ostentatious or grandiose; rather, they open a small window into the events that take place, evoking a sense of intimacy with the subjects. It is this kind of experimental filmmaking that strikes a chord with viewers, providing the experience of unconventional aesthetic choices and unique perspectives.
By unearthing stories neglected by mainstream Western media, the filmmakers of Who Will Start Another Fire explore new narratives in a collection that is sobering yet profound.