M. Asli Dukan hopes her speculative fiction films help people ‘imagine how things can be different’ - Generocity Philly

People

Aug. 21, 2017 12:55 pm

M. Asli Dukan hopes her speculative fiction films help people ‘imagine how things can be different’

“For me, as an artist, it’s my way of contributing to the work of social transformation,” said the independent film producer, writer and director, who’s also nominated for Geek of the Year at this year’s Philly Geek Awards.

M. Asli Dukan.

(Courtesy photo)

Resistance: the battle of philadelphia” is the latest creative work from the mind of independent filmmaker M. Asli Dukan, and to her, it’s more than just a six-episode web series on what resistance could look like with in the future with tech and gadgets.

The series, which is currently crowdfunding online for help with a $15,000 goal, specifically addresses police brutality and stars a fictitious hacker fighting against the injustice in West Philly, where Dukan currently lives. The prologue for the series recently premiered at this month’s BlackStar Film Festival, where “resistance” was a common theme among many of the films shown there.

Check out the short, but tense prologue below:

The movement and protests against police brutality, as well as several other societal issues, are things Dukan participated in more once she moved to Philly from New York, where she was raised and eventually earned her MFA in media and communication arts from the City College of New York.

Now, Dukan, nominated for Geek of the Year at this year’s Philly Geek Awards and a recent recipient of Leeway Foundation’s prestigious Transformation Award, works to create short films that fall under the “speculative fiction” genres — horror, fantasy and science fiction — to tell stories that can help shed light on the problems she sees today in the world.

“I like to work in these genres not just for the creativity but because for me, it’s a way to talk about contemporary issues in a creative way,” she said.

From our Partners

For Dukan, movies and storytelling have been big passions in her life since she was a child, to the point her mother saw that enthusiasm and bought her a VHS camera so Dukan could start telling her own stories. And while Dukan now has experience in a wide variety of filmmaking, including her time in New York helping her friends shoot music videos, it was the speculative fiction genre where she really found her niche.

And it was that interest that sparked the idea for Dukan to start her work a decade ago on the yet-to-be released documentary “Invisible Universe,” which looks at how Black people have been represented and participated in the genres of speculative fiction.

That work brought her to the Philly area where Dukan said she saw a “rich, vibrant community” of Black people working in the industry, including the local podcast group Black Tribbles, the organizers of the annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention and, of course, Afrofuturism-inspired work behind housing attorney Rasheedah Phillips’ Black Quantum Futurism.

"If you want to change society, you have to have an imagination first."
M. Asli Dukan

Dukan said the documentary is in post-production and will hopefully be finished by the end of this year.

The documentary, as well as her other works of fiction, is also about an opportunity to address what she felt as a “bittersweetness” when it came to watching many of these kinds of films as a child — the lack of representation for both Black people and women.

Dukan also feels the need to dedicate more time and space to pondering the hope that “things can be different” — things like the particularly timely issue of white supremacy. It’s something she hopes her films will inspire people to do, in addition to entertaining them.

For Dukan personally, she would like to see an end to police brutality, a government that operates for the people, immigration policy that humanizes people and general inequalities wiped away.

“I’m creating these imaginative scenarios in the work I’m doing to help people understand that if you want to change society, you have to have an imagination first — you have to imagine how things can be different,” she said. “For me, as an artist, it’s my way of contributing to the work of social transformation.”

As for her work and position in Philly as an indie filmmaker, Dukan said the support she has seen from the community is encouraging, whether it’s through small financial contributions or the more unexpected Geek of the Year nomination.

“It really makes me feel like the work I’m trying to do here is a community effort, from beginning to end,” she said. “I feel like being in Philadelphia has offered me an opportunity to really be a part of a community that is trying to push the barriers of social transformation in our society.”

Want more richly researched and deeply sourced community reporting?  Become a Generocity member for $10 per month -30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

On the Market: 14 job openings across the nonprofit sector

Our 2020 holiday gift guide takes you on a jaunt around Philly

Power Moves: Jessica West will lead Neighborhood Bike Works

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

During Tech in Action Day, all the participants teach and learn

Philadelphia, PA

Healthcare Improvement Foundation

President

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Works

Grant Writer

Apply Now
1617 JFK Blvd., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Support Center for Child Advocates

CHILD ADVOCATE SOCIAL WORKER

Apply Now

Graphic explainer: A cartoonist unpacks the 2020 census

How we use participatory, community budgeting in our emergency shelter

Today is #GivingTuesday! Here are 60 local nonprofit campaigns for you to support

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

ECS has been tackling Philly’s social issues for nearly 150 years. Now, its new focus is intergenerational poverty

Philadelphia

Planned Parenthood Southeastern PA

Institutional Giving Coordinator

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Community Legal Services, Inc

STAFF ATTORNEY – LANGUAGE ACCESS AND IMMIGRANT ADVOCACY

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Eluna

Accounting & Grants Coordinator

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity