“The story of Carmen & Bolude, as well as the project itself, brings together all cultures and all races into one umbrella of humanity,” says the film’s producer Yolandi Franken. “It sets an example of equality and unity among us all. It is a story about what could and should happen in the middle, where all cultures come together.” Mixing humour with serious character drama, the film follows best friends Carmen (Latin American-Australian Michela Carattini) and Bolude (Nigerian-Australian Bolude Watson), who travel from Harlem in New York City to Sydney, Australia, where they have ten days to collect 100 “welcomes” so that Bolude’s traditional Nigerian father will agree to let her marry an Australian.
The screenplay for Carmen & Bolude was born when friends Carattini and Watson, an AACTA Award candidate and nominee respectively, teamed up to write their story which, shortly after, won the Mango Tree Story/Hubscript Live Read Session. Now having received Generate Development Funding from Screen Australia for the 2020/2021 round, the film is expected to go into production next year, with Penelope Berkemeier directing and Yolandi Franken and Michela Carattini on producing duties. “We’re excited because we know of no feature film which similarly represents mixed-race experiences, despite people with multiracial backgrounds making up a significant portion of the world’s population,” says Carattini. “To our knowledge, neither have the African female or Latina experiences been represented in an Australian feature.”
As well as sharing much laughter, the two protagonists also learn to successfully integrate multiple cultural and race identities within themselves, their relationships, and their intergenerational and international communities. Carmen & Bolude is very much a film of modern Australia, with its broad range of ethnically diverse communities. “Not since Bend It Like Beckham has there been a film which normalises close, contemporary relationships between women of different races on equal footing,” says the film’s producer, Yolandi Franken,” and not since Crocodile Dundee has there been a film that geographically plays into the highly influential cultural relationship between America and Australia – but this time the experience is turned on its head through the perspectives of multicultural women.”
Stay tuned for more on Carmen & Bolude.