Spike Island presents Nosferasta, a major new film commission by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer. Nosferasta is a Rastafarian vampire film starring and co-written by Oba, an artist and musician based in Brooklyn. Spanning 500 years of colonial destruction, human trafficking and blood-sucking, the film reimagines Oba’s origin story. In the late 15th century, Oba is shipped as cargo from West Africa to the Caribbean, where he is seduced by the vampire Christopher Columbus, ensuring his undying allegiance to the colonial project.
As the centuries blow by, Oba and Columbus work behind the scenes, pulling the strings of ‘new world’ geopolitics as they spread vampirism across the Western Hemisphere. Combining film forms and genre tropes, Nosferasta examines the guilt of being complicit in imperial conquest, while acknowledging the extreme difficulty of unlearning centuries of vampiric conditioning. Ultimately, the film tackles an uncomfortable question: How can you decolonize yourself, if it’s in your blood?
Adam Khalil is an artist and filmmaker from the Ojibway tribe born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; and Bayley Sweitzer is a filmmaker from Southern Vermont. Khalil and Sweitzer’s acclaimed debut feature film, Empty Metal (2018), is a science-fiction political thriller set against a backdrop of racialised police brutality and mass surveillance, delving into anti-colonial politics by weaving together indigenous histories and speculative imagination with a subcultural sensibility. Recent screenings include the Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Archives, and e-flux in New York; the Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis); LACMA, Los Angeles and Tate Modern, London. Their works have also featured at the Whitney Biennial, Toronto Biennial and Sundance Film Festival.
Oba ‘the Artist and Musician’ is a multi-disciplinary artist and chef born in Trinidad. His paintings, sculptures and t-shirts have been featured at Motel Gallery and Rumplestiltskin, Brooklyn. He was lead singer of the avant-noise supergroup Dead Companionship from 2016-2018. Oba’s world-class corn soup has been slurped at the legendary Club Temptation in Flatbush, as well as fine establishments across the world.
Nosferasta is presented in partnership with Gasworks, London where the film premieres in April 2021.
Nosferasta is commissioned and produced by Gasworks, London and Spike Island, Bristol, as part of the European Cooperation project 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture, co-funded by Creative Europe and the Royal College of Art. The film is also supported by Cinereach.