Terrick Mitchell is a London black cab driver who has lost access to his children. Not satisfied with playing a bit-part role in the upbringing of Bruno, 9 and Sasha, 7, he is determined to get them back and inspire them with traditional folklore from his native Ghana. Spinning colourful stories of Anansi the spider and the world of Ashanti folklore, Terrick’s boundaries between fantasy and reality soon begin to blur. After breaking into his ex-partner’s house, Terrick stands over his sleeping children, faced with a decision that will change his life forever.

Director’s Statement

With The Storyteller, I have attempted to get to the heart of what it means to lose the thing most precious to a parent, the right to rear their children. The increase in global migration had led to families being formed from increasingly diverse backgrounds and parental child abduction cases have more than doubled in the last decade. Rather than sensationalise this alarming statistic, I wanted to explore the complex inner struggles of a father who feels that his parental rights have been impinged upon. The protagonist, Terrick, also feels as if he is fighting for the chance to give his children a different kind of education than that they will receive in school. Coming from African parents myself, I understand the importance that traditional storytelling and music plays in teaching children about the world through parable, fable and metaphor, in order for them to appreciate the roots and culture of their past.

I therefore wanted to explore the conflicts of the pressures of modernity versus the pulls of tradition, the role of the dreamer in pragmatic society and the subjective nature of right and wrong. On a personal level, I feel I am externalising my fears surrounding starting a family and the huge pressure of parenthood.

The work is an important chance to showcase my ability to direct psychologically powerful drama with both emotional authenticity and an engaging cinematic style. My hope is that through the duality of fantasy and reality in the film, I have been able to successfully tell a sensitive story full of tension, love, loss and redemption, whilst also incorporating striking visual metaphors that draw on my own African and European heritage.