Filmmaker M Sayibu didn’t have much money to spend on his upcoming sci-fi feature The Batu Project: Adam the First, but he did have the sweeping vistas of Ghana at his disposal.
The film was largely shot over 30 days in Sayibu’s native country, with the small salt mining town of Sege serving as one of its key locations, standing in for an alien planet.
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“There was nothing there. You are not in Ghana or on Earth anymore,” Sayibu recalls of driving outside the village to the salt flats.
Adam the First takes place after nuclear war on Earth renders it largely uninhabitable. An African Federation known as the Council of 9 sends a man named Adam (played by Ghanan actor Bex), to an alien planet to find a new home for humanity.
Ahead of its Jan. 5 release in theaters in Ghana, Sayibu has released a teaser for Adam the First, billed as Ghana’s first sci-fi feature. The film is seeking distribution in North America.
Sayibu dreamed up the story in high school in the late 2000s, and developed it over the years as he joined the U.S. Air Force and later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. Then in 2017 he met his leading man, Bex, who helped put together financing from friends and acquaintances. The feature was shot by cinematographer Karl Macs Gbomitta using two Blackmagic cameras (plus a RED the production borrowed for a day), and was mostly filmed on location, with green screen shots used sparingly for the interior of a spaceship. The Hollywood Reporter contributor Richard Newby, credited as an executive producer, is among those who worked on the project.
Says Sayibu: “I’ve always loved the grand scale. I shot it that way. I communicated with my director of photography, ‘We don’t have money, but what we can do is make this feel like we do.”
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