The Spotlight: Leah R. Brown and Omari Jazz

FREE THE WORK creators Leah R.Brown and Omari Jazz talk to us about their latest short Dream Child.

Composer Omari Jazz and Director Leah R. Brown — “Dream Child”

The Spotlight is a column in which we follow under-the-radar contenders as they break ground in the festival and awards space.

Leah R. Brown is a video director, creative writer, and editor. With projects spanning across fashion, branded content, and film, Leah Brown has amassed an impressive portfolio with a real penchant for magical realism. She teamed up with musician Omari Jazz to create a short inspired by his composition ‘Dreamchild.’ Omari Jazz is an experimental musician, composer, and visual artist whose work has covered both branded content and film. We caught up with both creators as they began their journey planning their film festival takeover with their short film Dream Child.

Clip from ‘Dream Child’

What was special about the making of this preview?

Leah: In this short preview — the film and Omari Jazz’s music track, Dream Child are almost at an end. The protagonist has been on the run through a maze of dark abstract spaces trying to find a way out, but to her dismay goes deeper and deeper into an underworld of creatures.

We start this clip on one of the creatures, the Demon God, chasing her through the dark caverns in the underworld. She finally runs into a smaller tunnel and loses the Demon God. But as she starts to catch her breath, she suddenly wakes up and finds herself suspended by some unseen force in a dark abyss. She then realizes that the underworld was only a dream and her awakened conscience is far worse.

The switch from the dream world, into her actually horrific reality was to us the most important part of the film. What the audience initially sees as fantasy, all of a sudden becomes horror — the protagonist’s true reality being more of the mystery. Creatively, we both resonate with the search for what is cryptically real — what is unseen — what is out there…you know, all the big questions.

What has the festival process been like?

Leah: We’re still in the beginning stages of the festival circuit. Aside from festivals being swamped with double the submissions this year — specifically the exploding of the sci-fi genre, we’re stoked to find out where we will land in 2022!

What are you most excited for audiences to experience in your film?

Leah: The last scene — the way it all ties together. We spent a lot of time finessing the ending in both the writing process and in post — we really wanted it to feel like an eerie sci-fi that took our audience to that place.

Actress Tiana Dunn in “Dream Child”

For you Omari, what inspired you to gravitate to the music space?

Omari: I thought I was just going to be a painter actually. I studied studio art/ painting but working with mixed media ignited something in me - sound collage and digital media took a grip not long after. The music part really stuck with me once I started sharing my works on SoundCloud though. The producer community there kept me feeling challenged but also appreciated — which was really helpful when I was just starting.

The experience of Dream Child feels like you are dreaming in real-time as an audience member. What was your process behind developing this song?

Omari: With Dream Child the drums came first. That organic (kind of galloping) backbeat is a drum kit made of sampled sticks and stones. I wanted each additional element to enhance the ‘floatiness’ or make it more ‘ethereal’. At the time, I had just recorded these beautiful harp takes from my friend Sage (Dolphin Midwives) and started peppering them on a couple of ideas. Those bits started to add clarity to the growing ambiance of the track. The descending harp, in the beginning, was one of the last additions but really cemented this “Alice In Wonderland” feeling that manifested.

The “Hand Creature” — “Dream Child”

The project isn’t defined by genre. In fact, it walks in and out of different elements quite seamlessly. What are you hoping viewers come away with after experiencing Dream Child?

Omari: The music and visuals have this engaging back and forth- you don’t really know where it’s about to take you or why. There’s definitely some trust involved there. I’m hoping people are down to be vaulted into this lush world we constructed and walk away having seen something new.

What’s next for you?

Omari: A few things! I have an ambient record coming later this year with an amazing artist named Contour. I’ll also be working on my follow-up to Dream Child and sketching out the next collabs with Leah — should be a busy year.

Visit Leah R. Brown and Omari Jazz’s creator profile on FREE THE WORK and add them to your creator playlist.

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FREE THE WORK

FREE THE WORK

FREE THE WORK is a non-profit organization committed to making equity actionable in media and to creating opportunities for a global workforce of talent.