“In Between Worlds” is a Cinematic Poem Short Film In New York City Featuring Poet Lilian Mehrei Directed by Sheldon Chau.
Filmed, Edited and Directed by: Sheldon Chau
Music Composed by: John Corlis
Piano: John Corlis
Violin: Gustavo Eiriz
Actress: Achiaa Prempeh
Narrated by: Achiaa Prempeh
“A woman looks for her place in New York City as she contemplates the meaning of “home.”
The City Odes Project is a passion project in which my composer and I will collaborate with a poet and an actor to create a humanist, emotional, and visual story amidst the backdrop of a particularly city. “In Between Words” is the first of many to come, and kicks off this series in the city I currently reside in – New York City. The narrative was birthed out of an eagerness to collaborate with Achiaa, my actress, who now lives in New York and is originally from Ghana. In speaking with her, I decided to pursue a story about someone searching for home; a woman who is figuring out if NYC is the place for her, who is coming to terms that she is 5,000 miles away from her original home in West Africa, and thus easing out tensions with her mother, who of course wants her to return. The final result here features the work of Lilian Mehrel – a fellow filmmaker and classmate of mine back at NYU Grad Film school – who captures these feelings through her words, and my frequent collaborator John Corlis – an LA-based musician and composer – who complements the poetry with his mixture of piano and strings.”
“In Between Words” by Lilian Mehrei
Where am I?
Check the map. What’s a map, anyway?
Spelling out spaces
In between words.
When you carve lines in a concrete jungle,
The dust particles remain. They stain
The people with grit
Glittering their teeth.
When I was little, my mother told me
My great-grandfather was the head of our tribe.
What’s a tribe? I asked.
He was like the king of our village, she told me.
Are you the queen now? I asked.
Yes Queen, says a handsome woman walking by.
Excuse me, do you know which way is north?
I squint up at the scrapers of the sky.
They look down at their fireflies.
My eyes blink for a rest. I need to go
I enter the arteries
To flow with bodies as one.
Noon or midnight, there is no time here.
I balance, suspended halfway
Between North and South.
There is no fullness,
There is no stillness.
I cross the street. I cross my heart.
I cross my mother, one too many times.
Why don’t you come home? She says.
What is home? I say.
There are too many people there, she says.
There’s nobody to bother me, I say.
When it’s too much
I slip in the small spaces.
Can you find me on a map?
Look, there – that eyelash that fell,
Between 6th and 7th avenue, that’s me.
Where are you? My mother calls me.
I’m on 6th and a half avenue, I say.
You don’t believe me?
Look on the map. It’s really there.