Film teacher Thato Mwosa produces her own film, “Memoirs of a Black Girl”



Mwosa involved current and past students in the production of her film. The movie is dedicated to them for the role they played in shaping the story.

On the top floor of the Unified Arts Building, far away from the mundane bustle of shuffling students, a spacious classroom lined with movie screens is hidden. This is the room of film teacher Thato Mwosa, who has just finished her first feature film, “Memoirs of a Black Girl.”

Because of the work of her father, a journalist, and her uncle, a playwright, Mwosa grew up surrounded by art. After she left Botswana to attend college, she discovered her passion for documentary filmmaking during her studies. Recently, she has gotten into the fictional and narrative side of movie making with the production of her film. She translates this experience into her classroom.

Mwosa drew inspiration from her students and provided them with the chance to work with her on the feature. Her current and former students participated in the production, some of whom were from her former position in Boston.

“The beauty of this production was working with my students and getting them involved. I dedicated the film to my former students. They are pretty much the composite of what the characters are,” Mwosa said.

The film takes place in Roxbury and covers a variety of social issues that affect the main character, Aisha Johnson. This is not new ground to Mwosa, as she has often used her films to highlight problems around the world.

“For me, it is a process of learning, dissecting and understanding issues that I care about. Hopefully, it can transform people, and it can enlighten and educate people,” Mwosa said.

While her current film is set in Boston, Mwosa’s previous works have often focused on the differences between the real experiences of Africans and how movies made for an unfamiliar audience depict the continent.

“Until Africans can tell their own story, the story told about them will be skewed or distorted because the lens is coming from a different angle. What drives me as an African filmmaker is taking control of the African narrative and using the camera to give a counterimage,” Mwosa said.

Mwosa has brought her experience as a filmmaker to the classroom, wholeheartedly embracing her position and connection with her students.

“One thing I love is when my students make their first films and watch it in the theater. I love those moments when we do our critique and sit in the theater, turn the lights off and watch the big screen,” Mwosa said.

Her enthusiasm and affection for the art of film is reflected in the experiences of her students. Sophomore Alec Robin, who is currently taking Digital Filmmaking, felt grateful for the amount of knowledge and passion Mwosa has about film.

“I could ask her pretty much any question, and she will always have an answer. You can learn a lot about something that you don’t know much about from someone who is experienced. She has done a great job in teaching everyone about what she loves,” Robin said.

Mwosa has also allowed her students to have creativity in their films. Sophomore Sophia Rimas values the independence her classes provide.

“My love for movies and films has grown a lot in her classes because, when I am watching a movie, I think about the class and I think ‘oh that is this camera angle and this is what the director is trying to show.’ I appreciate movies more,” Rimas said.

The filming process for “Memoirs of a Black Girl” was completed last year, and post-production finished this Thanksgiving. Even after the monumental task of making a movie, Mwosa is still thinking about the future.

“I am just so excited. I am eager to share it with the world. But at the same time, I am looking forward because now I know that everything is possible,” Mwosa said. “I’m going to keep making films. I’m not stopping.”