Behind the Lens

Producer and entrepreneur Annette King’s journey into the world of filmmaking through her documentary “Finding Ubuntu”

Behind+the+Lens

Annette King, filmmaker and founder of Splicer Films, recently created the documentary “Finding Ubuntu.” In 2020, King decided to dip into her Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin and use it in conjunction with her Masters in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University to produce and co-direct her first film. 

“As a first-time filmmaker, I want to convey [that] whenever you decide [what] to do in your career, there may be times [where] you take a different direction,” King said. “You may be interested in something new or different, and it’s okay to pivot.”

Initially, King had planned on telling a story about how people of different cultures and backgrounds were dealing with the COVID pandemic. However, when she was introduced to Maick, she knew a different story needed to be covered.

As a first-time filmmaker, I want to convey [that] whenever you decide [what] to do in your career, there may be times [where] you take a different direction.”

— Annette King, Filmmaker

“We pivoted [the film] when we got introduced to people we never thought we would meet,” King said. “It became an opportunity to tell stories that we can bring to Western audiences.”

Because the film was executed fully remotely with the help of a film crew in Malawi, King and her team in the United States never met Maick in person or got involved during filming. 

“Our biggest concern was telling a story from a Westerner’s perspective without really understanding and respecting the cultures and the norms,” King said. “So, it worked out well that they closed the borders and we couldn’t be there for the shoot.”

Back in the U.S., King’s crew consisted of students from all over the country, who she collaborated with to create the film from start to finish.

“We leaned into interns, bringing them on board from NYU, Syracuse and Chapman, [some] of the top film schools in the country,” King said. “And we did this all remotely.”

We leaned into interns, bringing them on board from NYU, Syracuse and Chapman, [some] of the top film schools in the country.”

— Annette King, Filmmaker

While the film’s Malawi crew shot “Finding Ubuntu,” King and her U.S. crew worked together to edit the film, create all of the animations for it and outline the film.

“It was important to bring the subject matter experts in,” King said. “[Filmmaking] is very much like a business where you’re producing a product but bringing the right people who know how to edit, people who are all about screenwriting.”

As distribution for “Finding Ubuntu” continues, King already has her next project in the works: a five-part docuseries called “Unmasked,” which will highlight the untold stories of leaders working across Africa to face issues like poverty, hunger and barriers to healthcare and education. 

“We’re telling stories of leaders who have overcome issues and are leading social causes to address the very issues that they once overcame,” King said.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Hau