Made A Universe

“MADE A UNIVERSE” is a narrative short film that transforms artist Tunde Olaniran's real-life experiences growing up as a queer, working class artist of color in Flint, Michigan into a surrealist horror that personifies their own inner demons, the subtle brutalities of capitalism, and our human responses to oppression. Olaniran’s original music serves as the film’s sonic backdrop.

Inspired by the likes of Emmanuel Adjei, Wes Craven, Chris Claremont, and Bill Sienkiewicz, "MADE A UNIVERSE" examines what it means to unlock your power in the face of fear and repression, and how one must unify various fragments of their psyche to connect with the world and themselves on a deeper level.

As a collaboration across artistic mediums with several multidisciplinary, award-winning artists and Cranbrook Museum, this multimedia production explores themes of agency, liminality, human connection, and psychic/emotional power.

  • Tunde Olaniran
  • Tunde Olaniran
  • Paige Wood
    MINE, Femme Queen Chronicles, Riding with Aunt D. Dot
  • Paige Wood
    MINE, The Giverny Document, Femme Queen Chronicles, Riding with Aunt D. Dot
  • Tunde Olaniran
    Key Cast
  • Andrew Otchere
    Key Cast
  • Richard Newman
    Key Cast
  • Ann Burns
    Key Cast
  • Carol MW Towns
    Key Cast
  • Ash Arder
    Key Cast
  • Morgan Huston
    Key Cast
  • Michael Hatten
    Key Cast
  • Olusegun Delu
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Narrative, Horror
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 17, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    175,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Tunde Olaniran

Acclaimed both locally and nationally, Tunde Olaniran is a multifaceted visual artist, musician, singer, and performer from Flint, Michigan. Made a Universe is the culmination of their creative desire to incorporate music composition, performance, dance, handmade costumes, and art installation into an ambitious new body of work.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Combining the existing visual language I’ve developed as a musician and performance artist with storytelling influences like Chris Claremont’s iconic ‘Demon Bear Saga’ during his X-Men run, I envision this short film as a chance to reframe the most challenging, traumatic, transformative moments of my life into a compelling film narrative influenced by superhero, fantasy, and horror genres. While comic books and horror films have strong queer POC audiences, I’m most interested in providing a story where queer black bodies are at the center of such narratives, without being sacrificial tokens. I believe that there exists ecstasy, pain, power, and joy in transgression; in particular, this project will meditate on transgressions in the context of Blackness, masculinity, size/fatness, and capitalism.

As an experimental analogy of my experiences growing up Black and working class in Flint, I ultimately want to convey a sense of powerlessness while also showing the ways one survives materially and psychically in spaces where longevity is hard to achieve. A running theme often found throughout most horror media is characters' seeming inability to have control over their own lives. It’s important to me that we not only personify the infrastructural and societal demons working against Black agency, but also illustrate the power and magic we possess to fight back.