INSPIRATIONAL: Award-winning playwright Bola Agbaje
WHAT DO you get if you cross a sex tape with Snapchat? The ingredients for a new film penned by award-winning playwright Bola Agbaje.
Snapped The Movie spins the traditional filmmaking formula on its head by utilising the popular social networking site to tell a story “that truly reflects modern life”.
The six-minute short, filmed and directed by popular Instagram user Tom Moutchi – more commonly known as Tommy Xpensive – on his iPhone will premiere on Snapchat tonight (Aug 26) at 9pm and will be available to view for 24 hours.
Snapped The Movie centres around a young boy who films himself sleeping with a girl he met on the Internet.
The video is leaked online and both he and the girl have to face the consequences of over-sharing on social media.
“In 2014, it was noted that 70 per of young people using Snapchat had sent naked pictures to each other and were unaware of the dangers in doing so,” Agbaje, who won a Laurence Olivier award for her 2007 play Gone Too Far!, told The Voice. “It challenges them to think twice about what they upload online.”
The writer, of Nigerian heritage, said she is really concerned about how social media will affect young people in the future.
“When I think back to myself as a young person and the mistakes I had made there is no evidence online but in today's society we live out our lives online and everything is documented.
“I wanted to create a film for young people that highlighted the dangers but also spoke to them in their language,” she said.
The project was brought to life during one of her regular meetings with Moutchi, whom she mentors.
SNAP HAPPY: Agbaje teamed up with popular Instagram user Tom Moutchi to create Snapped The Movie
Moutchi, who boasts 55,000 followers on Instagram, has risen to prominence with his comedic skits on the social network. His work has been featured on SB.TV, New York-based radio station Power 105 and WorldStarHipHop.
“Each time we would have a meeting, [Tom] would always be on his Snapchat. It was during one of our meetings that we came up with the idea to create a film for Snapchat that explored the themes of leaked nudes,” Agbaje explained.
“Bola is an excellent writer and I have an eye for what will work in terms of comedy in short forms,” Moutchi added. “She explained to me what works and what doesn't work in the world of storytelling and I tried my best to show her what is current in youth culture. It was very collaborative.”
Agbaje is one of the UK’s most promising young screenwriters. In 2014 she celebrated the release of her debut film, Gone Too Far!, an adaptation of her award-winning play of the same name and is currently developing a short web series called Hot Pepper Soup with Gone Too Far! director Destiny Ekaragha, under her production company 2Far Media.
FRESH IDEA: Film speaks to young people about the dangers of social media
“It is so important for inspiring filmmakers to inspire and work with young people on the come up,” Agbaje said of mentee Moutchi.
“Tom is a young actor who is fearless. He reminds me so much of myself when I first started out. He is a go getter who gets things done without thinking about the red tape and doesn't ask for permission to create.”
Moutchi, 22, began making his popular videos on the social media network as a pathway into acting because he didn’t have an agent and has created a sizeable following in doing so. Each post gains an average of 3,000 likes.
Agbaje says it’s important, just as Moutchi did, for black creatives to make roles for themselves as opposed to waiting for them “to fall into our laps”.
“At the end of the day we live in England,” she said. “I'm a black creative who has had to prove myself time and time again. I don't want to sit around and wait for people to give me work or tell me that my work has an audience.”
For more information, follow @SnappedTheMovie on Twitter