Pride on Film: Adomako Aman discusses PEACE {ful} journey

Photo Credit: movie still from PEACE.

In 2016 Adomako Aman’s first film, “DANCING IN THE DARK,” captivated audiences everywhere by exploring the African American and Latinx gay club scene. Since then, he has continued his quest to become a griot for queer people of color and LGBTQ+ narratives. 

His latest film, “PEACE,” follows the love story between music producer Daniel, and DJ/artist, Leon. It dives into the complexities of a down-low queer relationship and questions what it means to be at peace. The film was shot in October 2020 during the height of Covid-19 shutdown. Director/writer/actor Adomako Aman, the creative genius, pulled his poetic license to bring this project to life. The two-spirited artist talks about the film’s inspiration, how he brought his own experiences into the project and what’s next.  

PrideIndex (PI): Introduce yourself and give a brief synopsis of your life’s journey thus far. 

Adomako Aman (AA): My name is Adomako Aman. (Pronounced: uh-doh-much-KOH) I am a filmmaker, photographer and artist based in New York City. I first started off doing Fashion Week, working as a fashion photographer doing a lot of test shoots with different agencies in New York. It progressed into my documentary “DANCING IN THE DARK. The film explores the nightlife culture and the Latinx and black communities in New York City. You can find it on YouTube it has over half a million views. From there, I’ve gone off to do several different projects that led me to my recent project, “PEACE.”

PI: Speaking of “PEACE,” it is playing in the film festival circuit. Would you mind sharing the details regarding when and where it will screen? 

AA: We started with OutFest Fusion Film Festival in Los Angeles and was recently shown at New Fest. We will be screened at the Seattle Queer Film Festival (October 19) and the Tallgrass Film Fest in Wichita (October 22). I spoke with ABFF and they mentioned that “PEACE” is there third installment of the pride division. I’m excited to show it to a black audience. We will also show at the Indianapolis Queer Film Festival (November 12-23). The film will see about 20 film festivals by March 2022. The journey is fascinating.  

PI: Where did you find your muse for this project?

AA: I like to tap into my own experiences as a queer black man. I wanted to talk about the future of our experiences versus just living the trauma of our past. I believe that too many of our stories end up in trauma and horror. It’s my way of being an activist by telling other stories that I feel are necessary to discuss.

Pi: How did you become a filmmaker? 

AA: I’ve always wanted to enter the filmmaking arena but didn’t know how to get started; I’m still in the process of figuring that out right now. I’m passionate about my queer and black queer people, so I decided to start there. “DANCING IN THE DARK,” a project that I directed, created, produced, executive produced, and did the cinematography for, was the first project I devoted all of my energies into. It was a long, strenuous process. The film attracted the attention of folks from as far away as London. I thought maybe I was onto something. My first short film was called “FISH,” which was about three young men who live in the Bronx, and two of them were queer. You might question the identity in the third person, but that was not disclosed. My next project was a queer black love story based on Sade The Sweetest Taboo. After developing a creative partnership with my cinematographer, we went on a film festival journey to create the film “PEACE.” 

PI: What is the one thing you would like for audiences to retain from this film?

AA: I want black people to stand together in solidarity and show that we love each other no matter what. We must have a conversation with the black church about queer identity and concepts of masculinity. My allies and queer community like my films but, I want to be accepted by my black community.

PI: As artists, we sometimes take our real-life experiences and put them into our work. Did you do so with “PEACE?” 

AA: Of course I did. My experiences and hardships motivate me to be eager and always want to live life. I am a “two-spirited person.” I fully identify as a man, but I tell people that I’m half woman and half man because we all come from half woman and half man. I search for a community with all of my work. I answer questions like, “Am I alone in this experience? Is this something that we all have experienced together as queer people? As queer black people? There are parts of “PEACE” that were not part of my life but significant moments that hit it as well.

PI: Talk about some of the difficulties you encountered while making this film. What did you do to overcome those difficulties? 

AA: I wrote, directed, styled, did the scouting of locations, casting and starred in this film. In the future, I want to give more opportunities to other people to handle so that I’m not doing millions of jobs. I had the help of my best friend, Sofija Maria Kulikauskas. I have known her her for over ten years. I had a tremendous amount of trust in her. She understood my aesthetic and perspective and helped to bring that to life.  

PI: How does one direct oneself in a project?

AA: I’ve collaborated with others, and I relinquished trust to my team. I did a lot of vetting to ensure that the people I’m collaborating with are folks I can rely on and trust with my ideas.  

PI: Are you going to appear at any film festivals?

AA: I just made my last appearance yesterday at New Fest. I believe I could be going to a couple of international film fests. Right now, those two festivals have not been confirmed. 

PI: When can audiences expect to see a full-length version of “PEACE?

AA: We’re still in the beginning stages. It’s a matter of getting it financed, finding people who would help back it up. We’re currently building that team right now to help tell the story correctly and respectfully. It could come out in 2023. 

PI: Are you going to wear multiple hats again? 

AA: I pray that I’m not. As an independent artist and filmmaker, I’m very passionate about telling stories. I go through extreme lengths to make sure that things are told correctly through my experience and lens. I want to bring on stylists, a location scout, and assemble a stronger team. 

PI: What are your long-term goals as a filmmaker?

AA: The long-term goal for me is to continue telling stories of underserved people in popular cinema. I am West African, my father is from Ghana, and my mother is African American. I want to infuse more stories that focus on Ghanaian, Latinx, and people from the Caribbean. I want to executive produce those stories.

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