We enjoy talking about and looking at history here at Urban Circle. So many untold stories need our attention so our shared history always energises us…
“History is not the past, but a map of the past drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveller.” –Henry Glassie
Urban Circle has used the medium of cinema and journeyed through Black history in Wales in a previous project called ‘Wales Untold: Black History Told through South Wales. It is a story of people, industry, and power. The film explores the African presence, products, and outcomes of Black labour at the heart of Welsh and British history. It shows how community and labour relations have defined and created a nation. The film was produced in 2016 and will soon be available to stream in 2024 for those who did not manage to get one of the many DVDs we printed! It’s also available to watch this month!
In 2022, a team of filmmakers, young and old, went on a journey to expand the lessons learnt from the original film and further the storytelling methods. The aim was to illuminate the path to a more inclusive tomorrow. Let’s dive into this emotional narrative, painted in the rich hues of Wales, Britain and the world and with all its inhabitants past, present, and future…
HUMANiTREE: Nurturing Roots, Celebrating Fruits.
The latest documentary, which was produced alongside Black Nine Films is at the heart of our Black history education. Here exists a story that transcends the boundaries of written storytelling. A mixture of sciences, lived experiences, and AI-generated imagery pulls together the story of all of us, all at once. The film has been nominated for 3 different film awards and won best documentary at the Hamilton Black Film Festival in Canada in 2023.
HUMANiTREE: From our Roots to our Fruits, this is the story of the human family tree. This captivating film takes us on a profound journey of understanding what it means to be a human, uncovering the shared heritage of the human family. From its humble beginnings to the abundant fruition of today, where there are more complexities politically but socially, we are still the same. Each frame weaves a rich emotional tapestry that shares the story of us as a family. Highlighting diversity and sharing a poetic exploration of our interconnected human journey as distant brothers and sisters that today, with the aid of technology, now know of each other’s existence and beautiful differences.
The Creative Minds Behind “HUMANiTREE”
The 10 young creative minds behind “HUMANiTREE” are the visionaries that enabled this motion picture. Their dedication to unearthing truths and storytelling shines through the film’s intricate narrative. At the heart of this cinematic work lies the transformative role of A.I. image-making tools. These tools breathe life into the story, painting it with vivid colours and mesmerising visuals of history that was once lost or left hidden.
Through A.I. image creation, “HUMANiTREE” transcends traditional documentary making, immersing viewers in an emotional journey that resonates deeply. It’s a testament to the boundless possibilities of technology and creativity to help connect us if we utilise it with kindness. The 10 young people across Newport were moved by a desire to bridge the past and present, celebrate diversity, and shine a light on often-overlooked narratives. The result is a cinematic work that touches hearts and sparks profound reflection on race.
Co-Produced: Diverse voices of Experience
Through co-production, “HUMANiTREE” echoes with diverse voices and experiences which were captured and utilised to propel the story. This method of filmmaking has begun shaping education here in Wales and inspiring future generations to take up storytelling and search for exciting ideas to put onto screens. The voices within the film speak of unity, resilience, and the shared human journey. As an educational tool, the film becomes a vessel for understanding and empathy, nurturing young minds with the wisdom of our collective past, the beauty of diversity, and all that it has to offer.
In this combination, “HUMANiTREE” becomes an invaluable asset in the Wales anti-racism action plan, contributing to a more inclusive and enlightened future for all.
The Power of Visual Storytelling
The power of visual storytelling in “HUMANiTREE” transcends the limitations of words. It delves deep into the film’s core topic, stirring feelings that remind us of our shared genetic code and the illusion of racial divisions. Through its visuals, the film helps dismantle the myth of race, emphasising our unity as one species and our essential need for kindness.
Although the film is narrated by Black Nine Films producer Nuakai Aru, “HUMANiTREE” carries us beyond verbal storytelling, painting a vivid tapestry of emotions and ancestral connections. In a world often divided by words, this cinematic work speaks a universal language, reminding us that, at our core, we are all part of the exact same nature and human story.
A Cinematic Exploration: A.I. and Artistry
“HUMANiTREE” is more than just a cinematic creation; it skillfully merges technology and artistry to shed light on Black history remarkably and excitingly. This film is a testament to the fusion of A.I. technology and artistic expression, setting it apart as a cinematic piece that redefines storytelling, especially for us at Urban Circle.
What distinguishes “HUMANiTREE” is its method of production and its commitment to exploring multiple scientific practices. It boldly ventures into genetics, anthropology, sociology, and human migration and uses these multi-disciplinary sciences as powerful tools to illuminate Black history’s often-hidden and complex narratives. Highlighting migration has existed since we have had the chance to use our legs the film offers fresh perspectives through a lens that combines creativity with deep research. It deepens our understanding of our shared human inheritance.
Celebrating Unity and Hope
Anti-racism work can seem challenging. Although “HUMANiTREE” is a powerful beacon of hope and unity, an essential catalyst for anti-racism work in Wales. It presents a narrative of longing, celebrating Black history with an optimistic lens that helps us all understand Cynefin. The film embodies a symbol of unity and hope, not only for the Black community but for all of us. Its contribution lies in fostering inclusivity and unity, transcending divisions and building bridges of understanding.
As we engage with “HUMANiTREE,” it has the potential to stir deep emotions and reflections within each of us. It encourages meaningful discussions that can lead to a less judgmental Wales. This cinematic piece invites us to share the hope for a brighter, more harmonious future where unity prevails over prejudice. It reminds us that, together, we can create a society where diversity is celebrated, understanding is cultivated, and hope is our guiding light.
You can watch this with the crew that made the film by booking on Eventbrite.