Adeyemi Michael is at “a massive moment”, he says. “Yesterday was a big day because I received the first set of notes on the first draft of my feature film. It’s very satisfying to know that what you’ve written is not bullshit.”

The Nigeria-born, London-based filmmaker is in the thick of honing his feature debut as a writer/director: “supernatural fantasy film” Ibeji, in development at B-Side Productions. “It essentially looks at Yoruba deity-ism,” he says. “It deals with a person whose twin dies, how his life is rocked by that traumatic event from his birth, and how he is unable to overcome it until he faces it.”

If this does not sound like typical fantasy fare, that is because Michael is not interested in covering well-trodden genre ground. Since graduating from the National Film and Television School a decade ago, he has garnered acclaim for his documentary work, including his first short Sodiq in 2013, Panorama episode ‘Murder On The Streets’, and 2018 “fantasy documentary” Entitled. He is, he says, driven by a desire to explore “a new landscape” that blends fiction and documentary, while guided by his “North Star — to humanise and bring value to African life, to Black life, to my life, in a very specific way.”

Ibeji promises to be his fullest realisation of that creative drive, but Michael has also been throwing himself into other high-profile projects. First, he shot second unit on Neil Gaiman’s Prime Video series Anansi Boys, working with the likes of Delroy Lindo and Whoopi Goldberg on an LED volume virtual-production wall in Edinburgh. “It was the first time I’d been on a production of a scale like that,” he says. Then he directed two episodes of BBC/Net­flix show Champion, about the Black music scene in south London. “That was thrilling because there were a lot of massive setpieces. We shot a car going off a bridge!”

Beyond Ibeji, Michael plans to continue applying his own distinct cultural texture to genre films with “a supernatural sci-fi” script, which he intends to be his second feature. He cites Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite and HBO TV hit Succession as the kinds of work he aspires to, but he is determined never to lose sight of that North Star. “It’s always been there, I just need to retain it in some way,” he says. “And that’s what I’m doing with the work I’m trying to put out.”

Contact: Jodi Shields, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates