BRIEF TENDER LIGHT
by Arthur Musah
A Ghanaian filmmaker follows four African undergraduates through MIT, America’s premier technological university and his alma mater. The students embark on their MIT education with individual ambitions – to engineer infrastructure in Tanzania; to secure a better life for family in Nigeria; to contribute to post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda; to advance democracy in Zimbabwe. Their missions are distinct, but fueled by a common goal: to become agents of positive change back home.
While their dreams are anchored in the societies they have left, their daily realities are defined by America – by the immediate challenges in their MIT classrooms, and by the larger social issues confronting the world beyond those classrooms. Their new environment demands they adapt. Over an intimate, decade-long journey spanning two continents, students and filmmaker alike are forced to decide how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to reconcile teenage ideals with the truths they discover about the world and themselves.
A co-production of One Day I Too Go Fly Inc., American Documentary | POV, and Independent Television Service with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, Writer: Arthur Musah
Co-Producer: Brook Sitgraves Turner
Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer, Erika Dilday, Chris White
Consulting Producer: Thomas G. Miller, ACE
Supervising Producer: Michael Kinomoto
Editor, Writer: Kelly Creedon
Editor: Keith Fulton
Editor: Brian Redondo
Composer: Ted Reichman
Sound Designer & Mixer: Amy Reed
Colorist: Nathaniel Krause
DIRECTOR - ARTHUR MUSAH
Arthur Musah was born in Ukraine and raised in Ghana, where he attended the Presbyterian Boys‘ Secondary School in Legon, Accra. Having graduated from MIT as an engineer in 2004, he returned as a filmmaker to create Brief Tender Light out of a need to explore the transformative experience of studying abroad, which among other things allowed him to come out as a gay man.
NEWBURYPORT DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL 2023 - BEST FIRST TIME FILMMAKER AWARD〡TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL - BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD〡URBANWORLD 2023 - BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD〡UNAFF 2023 - YOUTH VISION AWARD〡NEWPORT BEACH FILM FEST 2023〡ST. LOUIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2023〡ARLINGTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2023〡OJAI FILM FESTIVAL 2023〡ALEXANDRIA FILM FESTIVAL 2023〡PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL 2024
"Reinforces the very American value that each individual has the power to create opportunities for change."
— Film Threat
"'Brief Tender Light,' with all its cultural complexities, offers an access point for worldwide viewers willing to look beyond lazy stereotypes and reductive interpretations of not just Africans but fellow humans in general."
— Vague Visages