A short film for Africa's premiere film festival, shot entirely in the San Francisco Bay Area.
WORKING TITLE: The Music Factory
SYNOPSIS: 100 years in the future, the West African country of Burkina Faso is unrecognizable. Development has come at a cost. Sea level rise has given Burkina Faso, once a landlocked country, a coastline. People have become so enamored with their smart phones that they have lost the ability to make music, or at least recognize good music. So the music sucks. In a chance encounter, HASAMI, the main character, hears great music for the first time. This leads him on an odyssey to California, where he falls in love with an abusive American woman, ANA MAE. Sidetracked at first, he is eventually led to the secret Music Factory by SAMIRA, a beautiful African girl. This film looks at the question of "what is Africa?" and does it need to fit into the world, or does the world need to fit into Africa?
WHO WE ARE: We are an eclectic group of Bay Area filmmakers led by Fulbright Scholar and director Daouda Zalle getting ready to make a unique, decidedly different short film about Africa and Africans, but filmed almost entirely in the San Francisco Bay Area.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU: We only need $850 so we can entice great actors to participate, and so we can pay a professional editor/colorist or sound person, as well as for misc. music rights purchases.
Yes. The following is our working script:
EXT. DAY. BURKINA FASO
Slow pans across creative commons stills of Burkina Faso today.
We hear beautiful West African music playing in the background.
[in French with English subtitles]
Music. It gives life meaning. It is almost divine.
The music stops abruptly.
EXT. DAY. CITY SCENES.
We see people listening to music on their devices, mostly head-
phones. People checking their smart phones. People with head-
phones on. People walking and listening. And we hear awful mu-
sic. Simple, off-key, out-of pitch, worse than Muzak.
NARRATOR VO [in French with English subtitles]
But the world changes. New technologies. People forget. All
the music was put on cell phones. Then the cell phones stole
the music and started selling it. And one day, the good music
disappeared, and there was only bad music.
EXT. DAY. BURKINA FASO
CG: Burkina Faso, 2113
[In French with English subtitles]
Even in Burkina Faso, the music was bad. Yes, even in Burkina
Faso. Seriously, even in Burkina Faso- West Africa. In just
one hundred years, the sea levels rose and Burkina Faso was no
longer a landlocked country. Burkina Faso now had a beach, but
the music was really bad. Yes, in Africa, the music was bad.
EXT. BERKELEY PIER. DAY.
HASAMI walks along the pier, listening to the music on his head-
phones. When HASAMI puts his headphones on, we hear what he
hears: really terrible music, which he shows neither love or
hate for, but listens to nonetheless. As HASAMI gets closer to
the end of the pier, he spots a set of really nice pimped-out
headphones. He picks them up, puts them on, and starts listen-
ing. We hear some amazing African music, and the camera pushes
to HASAMI’s face, which is filled with wonder and amazement.
Just then, HASAMI looks up and spots MYSTERY. MYSTERY ap-
proaches him, feigning nonchalance.
I’m sorry, I must have left these here by mistake.
My god, where did you get this music?
MYSTERY, now obviously frightened, looks around, hoping nobody
is around. MYSTERY now knows that HASAMI has heard the amazing
You must keep this a secret. It is from... Ummmm... America?
The United States of America. U. S. A.
United Arab Emirates?
No. UNITED States.
You mean like Manchester United?
The United States of America. It used to be a great power, like
China is today.
HASAMI smiles, pensively.
EXT/INT: BUS IN SAN FRANCISCO – DAY
We see some establishing shots of the USA, such as McDonald’s,
the American flag, and some fat people.
CG: United States of America
We are back to listening to awful music
HASAMI gets on the bus looking very timid and out-of-place. He’s
obviously just arrived in the United States. He’s got on some
very big, old-fashioned headphones, and we hear the gloomy music
as the soundtrack to his American life thus far – he’s an out-
sider, lonely, self-conscious.
He sits down next to ANNA MAE, a “beautiful” African American
woman who is grooving to some “great” music in her fancy head-
phones. He looks at her until she notices him.
(taking off her headphones)
Nothing. I, uh, what are you listening to?
ANNA MAE shrugs and lets him hear her music. Everything changes.
Hasami’s whole aura lifts to
the beat of her “amazing” music.
Hasami smiling out of the window as cheerful, picturesque SF
scenes pass by. He smiles at ANNA MAE. She smiles back at him.
She changed everything. I could hear the music
again. I could smell the sea. I wasn’t stuck in my
depression anymore. I had finally arrived in America.
EXT/INT. DINER/RESTAURANT IN BERKELEY – DAY
HASAMI walks into the restaurant. This is his regular lunch
spot. He is chipper. DARLA, the restaurant proprietor, greets
(smiling ear to ear)
HASAMI sits down at his usual table by the window and DARLA
comes over to take his order. In the background we see a wait-
ress: SAMIRA, beautiful African girl in her early 20s.
She is cleaning glasses, keeping busy, listening to their con-
Why are you so chipper today?
(eager to share his news)
I met someone!
She’s incredible, Darla. She is full of life.
She knows good music. A real American.
The focus moves from HASAMI and DARLA to SAMIRA in the back-
ground as she reacts to HASAMI’s news. She is obviously disap-
pointed and hurt.
Well, that’s great news, HASAMI.
I’m very happy for you.
Close up on HASAMI smiling at her, feeling satisfied.
Camera focuses changes from his face to the street through the
That’s how I was for a while. But then changed. In a bad way.
CROSS DISSOLVE TO:
CG: One year later
INT. HASAMI’S APARTMENT - NIGHT
ANNA MAE, 20s, comes home from a date. She is drunk. She lingers
in the doorway, obscuring a man from view and shushing him so
that Hasami wont hear what he’s saying.
(giggling and whispering)
No you have to go. I had fun.
HASAMI sits on the couch watching TV and pretending not to no-
tice. He is seething, but he is defeated and has obviously given
up on this relationship.
ANNA MAE closes the door, walks into the living room, throws her
purse on a chair and turns on the stereo. The loud, cacophonic
music drowns out the TV show HASAMI is watching.
She sits on a chair and starts to pull of her high heeled boots.
Did you have fun?
(losing her temper as she is quick to do)
What is that supposed to mean?
Where were you?
Who were you with?
What is it to you? You got your greencard, didn’t you?
(under his breath)
What did you say?
Oh yeah? What’s that?
HASAMI forces a tired smile.
HASAMI puts on his giant headphones and starts to listen to some
music. PUSH to HASAMI’s face, tired, worn.
EXT. FOLSOM STREET FAIR ON SUNDAY, SEPT. 23 - EVENING
HASAMI is walking by himself amidst a crowd of revelers. Random
shots of partiers, craziness. He is wearing an African shirt;
is wide-eyed and a bit unimpressed. He sees ANNA MAE in the dis-
tance and hurries up to her. She is hiding something; she’s ob-
viously been doing
You snuck up on me.
ANNA MAE’S friend starts to giggle.
ANNA MAE’S FRIEND
(to ANNA MAE)
What are you doing?
What am I doing? I AM HAVING A GOOD TIME.
I am tired. I want to go home.
Go home then.
I wont leave you. It’s not safe.
ANNA MAE laughs out loud. She’s really high now.
This is San Francisco, Hasami. The safest city in the world!
You’re in America now. Have some fun. Don’t be so serious.
C.U. on Hasami’s face. He seems very troubled. They are obvi-
ously very different, and in that moment their differences seem
Off camera we hear ANNA MAE’S friend say: Where did you find
that guy? He’s so weird. Seriously, You gotta stop picking up
guys at the airport.
FADE TO BLACK
INT. DINER/RESTAURANT IN BERKELEY – DAY
HASAMI walks in to the restaurant by himself. He is clearly
homesick and wants something familiar. He sits down at a table
by the window, and DARLA greets him.
Pleasant, unobtrusive music is playing in the background.
Why do you look so sad?
Nothing here is what I thought it would be.
What did you think I would be?
I don’t know. I wish I had the answer.
Sometimes the answer is right under your nose.
I’ve got the just the thing for you.
DARLA walks back to the kitchen.
INT. KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER
DARLA walks in to the kitchen and talks to a waitress SAMIRA, a
beautiful 22 year-old African girl.
Hasami is outside.
What? He is?
And he’s looking rather forlorn.
Here’s your chance.
He doesn’t even notice me.
Just go out there and take his order. Make him take notice.
INT. RESTAURANT – MOMENTS LATER
SAMIRA comes up to serve HASAMI.
What’s the matter?
Do you ever feel far away from home?
Yeah. When I first came to America I used to feel homesick all
the time. Here, nobody cares about you. Nobody knows you. That’s
what I thought. But now, when I feel like that, I know where to
The music factory. Real music. People can still make it,
HASAMI stares after her as she walks to the kitchen to put in
his order. He begins to realize that perhaps she is the answer
that has been under his nose the whole time. The
music becomes increasingly joyful.
EXT/INT. LOCAL AFRICAN MUSIC VENUE IN OAKLAND - NIGHT
A Burkino Fasan band is playing in a small lounge in Oakland.
Various African men and women in their 20s mingle and dance. The
atmosphere is festive. The music is beautiful, joyful, dis-
tinctly African. A long lost delight. HASAMI is happy as SAMIRA
leads him around the club, introducing him to her African
Do you like it?
It feels like home.
SCENES FROM THE REST OF THE NIGHT. LAUGHTER, MUSIC, FRIENDS,
THEY ARE FALLING IN LOVE.
When did I fall in love with America?
When I found myself again.
FADE TO BLACK
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