Mosquito is the film that turns anxiety into a very real monster

Shorties spotlights films with bold ideas and fresh perspectives via an exciting new generation of POC filmmakers. 

Being trapped in a room with a mosquito is a sensory violation. Usually, you can’t actually see them. Those hoes circle, baying for blood and as they edge closer, you can hear that familiar malevolent buzz. The electrifying zap of a menace. 

So there’s little wonder why Mimi Koku, 26, chose this pest to represent anxiety, another invisible terrorist whose presence completely overwhelms those unlucky enough to be orbited. “It’s a metaphor,” she explains. “Our fears and our worries and increased isolation from others can often create even bigger monsters.”

The London-based Nigerian-born filmmaker is excited to debut Mosquito via gal-dem’s new film spotlight channel Shorties. It’s been a dismal year for the arts with fewer spaces to share the joy of film and discover new work. So a portal for the gal-dem community to connect with up-and-coming filmmakers of colour, that amplifies those creatives, feels like the right way to take the edge off 2021.

The story follows a teenage girl named Sage who is paralysed by fear and panic over her uncertain future. I know, you’re probably thinking that the last thing you want is a hyperreal portrayal of anxiety when lockdown three has you riddled with fear already, however, this stunning short is cathartic.

It also won Best Cinematography and was nominated for Best Score and Best Horror Short at the Genre Film Festival in Tokyo Japan as well as becoming a finalist at ARFF Berlin’s International Awards.

“Our fears and our worries and increased isolation from others can often create even bigger monsters”

At a time where academic pressure is frequently discussed (remember when the government allowed a robot to short change the futures of working class youth in a pandemic? I do), her worries are relatable. The trigger for her spiral is that she’s waiting to hear back about her university place. However, anxiety doesn’t need much of an invitation to invade every corner of your life. Her supportive but ill-equipped father tries his best to be a calming presence and while the inclusion of a positive Black fatherly influence is appreciated – due to its scarcity in media – his inability to notice the behavioural changes means that Sage is left to catastrophise without the counsel she clearly needs.

For many, particularly Black women, this silent suffering is extremely relatable. As the deathly grip of anxiety reaches out for Sage even after she receives some good news. It’s a stark reminder of how mental health struggles rob you of what should be great moments.

So set a reminder to call your therapist and watch the full film below: