HBO Best Short Film Award Winning Writer and Director Al’Ikens Plancher talks about his short film ‘Konpa’ to play at this year’s TriBeCa Film Festival
Native to the Caribbean nation of Haiti, Konpa or Kompas is a modern méringue dance music genre popularised in the late 50s. Formed during and post the US occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934, the US music genre of jazz would take on an interpretation all of its own by the 60s – a reduced méringue compas (Konpa) band performing rhythms consisting of paired electric guitars, electric bass, drum set – conga – timbales, and cowbells, giving the form its distinct sound. Honouring the musical genre and bringing it to the masses at this year’s TriBeCa Film Festival, HBO Best Short Film award winning writer and director Al’Ikens Plancher presents his latest short Konpa, a film following protagonist Jean into a small family owned restaurant as he navigates dealing with a language barrier – unable to speak the native Haitian Creole language. His crush Minouche teaching him the beauty of Konpa. A tale placing Al’Ikens’ Haitian heritage at the centre, he tells us more about what to expect!
Hi Al’Ikens, your short film Konpawill premier at this year’s TriBeCa Film Festival on 11th, 14th and 17th June. How are you feeling ahead of the screenings?
I feel very grateful, and excited. I get to share our Haitian culture at one of the biggest film festivals in the world.
You’ve worked a varied career within entertainment, having interned at BET which led to an office PA role, a writer’s PA position on the critically acclaimed Showtime series ‘The CHI’ created by celebrated director Lena Waithe – where you also became show runner assistant and a show runner role on Paramount Network smash hit series Yellowstone created by Oscar nominated writer and director Taylor Sheridan. How have you found this journey so far? What are your hopes for the future?
Everything is a learning experience. Everything. You sponge it all, then do your best, then rinse and repeat.
I just want to keep creating and create more.
In between projects, you’ve written, directed and funded your own work which has resulted in you winning the HBO Best Short Film Award. What has this process of creating your own work involved? How does it feel to have been acknowledged by HBO in this way?
What can viewers expect from the film?