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Sierra Leonean filmmaker strives to tell his experiences during the civil war in new short film

June 06, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Entertainment

Francis Akhalbey

Francis Akhalbey | Staff Writer

June 06, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Entertainment

Darrell Lake [Photo: Sheldon Botler/ courtesy of the subject]

Sierra Leonean Filmmaker Darrell Lake, who is best known for the Warner Bros. Stage 13 series The Incredible Life of Darrell, a show he created, wrote, directed, starred in and executive produced is back again with another interesting and very personal drama short film.

Titled Land of Dry Bones, the film was inspired by an experience he had during the 11-year civil war in his native country. The film tells the story of an unassuming single father, Emmanuel, who struggles desperately to keep his life together as it unravels around him when it is discovered that he was a child soldier who had committed heinous atrocities.

“It was inspired by an experience I had during the civil war in Sierra Leone,” Darrel said. “I remember looking out my window and seeing this child soldier when I was 9 and I was around the same age and it really stuck with me.”

Darrell has been writing, directing and producing his own projects over the years, while also playing bit parts in shows like Hawaii Five-0, NCIS: LA, Switched at Birth, Lie To Me, to name a few. His early short, A Silent Whisper, which he wrote, produced, directed and starred in was a semifinalist at the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival. His comedy series, The Incredible Life of Darrell, started off as an independent web series on YouTube and was a success in the film festival circuit before being picked up by the studio. The series won him best actor at the Independent Television Festival and was one of the selected pilots at the New York Television Festival.

“I had created The Incredible life of Darrell out of the need of wanting to play characters I deeply connected with and not waiting around for opportunities,” said Darrell. “Land of Dry Bones is a film that’s very personal to me and I feel it will resonate with people. It deals with trauma, family and the complexities of it all.”

A native of Sierra Leone, Darrell was born in England. At a very young age, he and his family were forced to flee Sierra Leone due to the devastating war. His family sought refuge in Guinea, Ghana, The Gambia, and Eritrea before moving back to Sierra Leone.

Darrell Lake [Photo: Sheldon Botler/ courtesy of the subject]

During his travels, Darrell became enthralled with the diverse cultures he was immersed in and came to the conclusion that he wanted to tell stories that capture the humanity he witnessed. After starting to write short stories and scripts, he quickly realized the limitations of a career in filmmaking in his country, so he pursued the American Dream and came to the United States.

Darrell has launched a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise US$ 18,375 to help fund Land of Dry Bones. The campaign ends July 11.

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