Experiencing Interruptions?

Pearl Rain

Morayo, a spiritual Black woman, is stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship. When she meets a kindred soul who can appreciate her black girl magic, she finally finds the strength to free herself.

West African mythology and European fairytale combine in this magical realism short film where fantastical elements serve as a metaphor for self-worth and the value of true love.

  • Jumai Yusuf
  • Jumai Yusuf
  • Angèlica Clayton
  • Yinka Yusuf
    Executive Producer
  • Denez McAdoo
    Director of Photography
    Suncatcher, Belagile
  • Marios Apostolakoulis
    Carnivore, Eye Candy, Man in Hell
  • Vasco Diogo
    Assistant Director
  • DeLinda Sales
    Key Cast
  • Koko Ekong
    Key Cast
  • Hosea DeMarzino
    Key Cast
    Stronger, Untitled Detroit Project, Patriot's Day
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Fantasy, Romance
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Comicpalooza Film Festival
    Houston, Texas
    United States
    May 12, 2017
    Official Selection
  • Global Revolution Film Festival
    New York City
    United States
    August 25, 2017
    Official Selection
  • Black Speculative Arts Movement Conference
    September 23, 2017
  • Black Speculative Arts Movement Conference
    October 21, 2017
Director Biography - Jumai Yusuf

Jumai Yusuf is a film director coming from a background in Neurobiology and Theater. Her debut short film "lili[s]", a four-minute neuroscience fiction film, screened in five film festivals nationwide including the Chain NYC Film Festival (2015), Rockport Film Festival (2015), and the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival (2015), along with winning 2nd place in the MyProjectorLamps short film contest. She also executive produced and directed the four episode science fiction webseries "Absent" while a student at Harvard College. She is drawn to genre filmmaking (sci-fi, fantasy, horror), and since she is a Muslim, Nigerian immigrant, she always strives to bring the stories and characters of underrepresented minorities to the screen. Check out her portfolio at www.jumaiyusuf.com

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Director Statement

After graduating in May 2016, I decided to tackle the fantasy genre and make a film that was more ambitious than my previous sci-fi short “lili[s]”. Importantly, I wanted to tell an Afrocentric story because this perspective is often not reflected in mainstream genre films. I read anthologies of European fairytales and African mythology searching for stories that resonated with me. In a book of newly discovered Eastern European fairytales I came across “Pearl Tears”, the tale of a girl who cried pearls and laughed roses. In The Hero with an African Face by Clyde W. Ford I read the Eastern African myth of Miseke, a child whose laughter turned into precious beads. And in the depths of Widener library I found multiple books on the Yoruba Orishas, a polytheistic traditional religion practiced in West Africa and the African Diaspora. The tales of the Orishas are a treasure trove of rich African lore, rivaling the breadth of Greek mythology. Out of the numerous gods and goddesses I was particularly drawn to Oya, the female warrior goddess of lightning, chaos and change. As one story goes, Oya’s husband Ogun, the god of iron, neglected and mistreated her, which gave Shango, the god of thunder, the opportunity to win her heart. In this story of Oya I saw a heroine for women seeking to change their life circumstances and leave abusive relationships. So I enlisted the help of my friend, a playwright, to adapt this ancient myth into a modern, magical realism film. The result is “Pearl Rain”, a story of emotional abuse that uses fantastical elements as a metaphor for self-worth and the value of true love.

New England has a wonderfully supportive and tight-knit community of independent filmmakers. Therefore, I was able to gather a talented cast and crew who volunteered their time and skills to bring “Pearl Rain” to life. “Pearl Rain” was shot in and around my hometown of Ashland, MA, taking advantage of the beautiful, inherently magical New England forest landscape. The opening and closing scenes were filmed in a forest right across the street from my neighborhood. We were also able to film in the popular and attractive Harvard Square café Darwins Ltd.

I edited the film myself and was very fortunate to work with an incredible composer based in Greece. Just as I had blended West African and European myth in the storyline, he was able to blend these two very different styles of music in the score. To cover the cost of working with a local post-production studio, along with film festival fees and marketing costs, I ran a crowdfunding campaign through the Seed & Spark website. With an aggressive social media campaign and our team helping to spread the word, we were able to surpass our goal of $4,000 in just 30 days! Now I look forward to sharing “Pearl Rain” on the film festival circuit, so that our eager audience can have many chances to see it.