MATERNAL is about Agnes, a strict Jamaican grandmother who's forced to step in and raise Elijah her 11 year old grandson, who’s drawn to the glory of gang culture which surrounds their home on a run-down council estate. In an effort to protect Elijah, Agnes uses her life savings to send him to Cathedral College an independent secondary school, underestimating her grandson’s appetite to be a" big man" on the streets. MATERNAL takes place on the morning of Elijah’s first day at Cathedral College as he reluctantly stands on the door step whilst Agnes inspects his school uniform ; she’s checking his armour's in place before he embarks on, what she hopes will be, his new life in an environment where he’ll not only flourish but will help keep him alive. Agnes recounts her recipe for successfully raising boys as she checks Elijah’s armour; ”Der are three simple ingredients to a successful childhood – education, respect and hard work…” Elijah departs with his grandmother’s preaching ringing in his ears and we hear Agnes as he navigates his journey to school, stumbling across temptation; will he follow the right path or deviate to satisfy his craving to be someone?
MATERNAL is a short film inspired by and an adaptation of Ephesians 6:10 - 20 ”The Whole Armour of God”. In MATERNAL I take the reference about God’s power to protect us from evil and apply it to Agnes a strict Jamaican grandmother and her obsession to keep her grandson Elijah, alive; he’s not sick, just black in today’s society where safety has become a privilege for the few. At 6:15 Paul tells the people of Epheus to be strong in the Lord and put on all of God’s Armour so as to withstand the strategies of the devil. In MATERNAL I’m equating the lure of the street and youth violent crime to the “evil” that Paul warns against. Godly Agnes, preaches to Elijah about her recipe for successfully raising boys as she physically checks his uniform (armour) whilst he stands on the threshold of his new life; their door step before he leaves for his first day at his new private school. Agnes is preparing him for perils, some of which we'll see him encounter on his journey to school, presenting temptations that are hard to resist because they'll give him the glory which he secretly craves.