CAST & CREW
WRITER & DIRECTOR
Originally from Rwanda, Mitch Kalisa arrived in the UK as a child via Uganda. Mitch first explored his passion for film through acting and later moving into painting and sculpture before landing on directing as his primary creative output.
“Play it Safe” is his debut short film, influenced directly by his time at a prestigious drama school, and how this perceivably liberal and safe space has just as much ingrained prejudice as other predominantly white spaces. Mitch uses his own experiences to underpin his cinematic pursuit: to break convention and boundaries and tell rich stories from diverse unheard voices. Focusing on complex and often challenging tales, and giving them a visceral character and performance driven platform.
In 2021, Mitch was awarded “Next Director” by the jury at D&AD.
London born rising star Jonathan Ajayi, can recently be seen as viewer’s favourite villian Lekan in the hugely successful series ‘NOUGHTS AND CROSSES’ for BBC One, based on the Malorie Blackman novel.
He also featured as Dakerson in DC’s ‘WONDER WOMAN 1984’ with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. Other big screen credits include a lead in the two-hander feature film ‘THE DRIFTERS’ which premiered at the São Paulo International Film Festival. He was longlisted for the “BIFA Newcomer Award” for his role.
At the helm of the development and production was founding partner at COMPULSORY, Chris Toumazou. Having also attended The Arts Educational School with Jonathan Ajayi respectively, their combined awareness led to the casting and production of the film using the school as its backdrop and resource.
Working with the newly appointed Head Of Drama Julie Spencer, the team was able to tap into an authentic casting process, further emphasising the film’s honest approach.
Toumazou works with a roster of international directors and multi disciplinary artists, having set up the company’s development slate in 2017. His focus is on discovering and breaking new voices in the narrative space and has led to a track record of premiering work at SXSW, Berlinale, and Sundance. A passionately acute awareness for relevant stories has defined the growing success of his burgeoning film department.
He has been instrumental in packaging ‘Play It Safe’ attaching its cast and promoting the film into the festival space and beyond. Most recently, creating a limited license partnership with MUBI internationally for the film during October - December 2021 to coincide with its UK premier at the BFI London Film Festival.
PRODUCTION COMPANY COMPULSORY, the London based talent management and entertainment company was at the helm of development and production, working closely with Mitch and his vision. Having successfully premiered films at the most prestigious film festivals across the world, including SXSW for 6 years, Berlinale, Sundance, Telluride and BFI London Film Festival, Exec Producers Kadri Mahmoud and Chris Toumazou lent their experience in narrative development and in packaging the project. Last year COMPULSORY expanded into the film distribution space by handling the UK theatrical release of Berlinale-winning “NO HARD FEELINGS” directed by Faraz Shariat.
The COMPULSORY reputation across film, commercials and music videos has created incredible collaborations with artists such as Madonna, Stormzy and Joy Crookes, alongside brands including Mugler, Vogue, Burberry and Gucci. The ingenuity within the work that they share and development of their roster of talent has also led to multiple nominations internationally, most notably the ‘Contribution to Creative Industries Award’ in 2021.
Jonathan JONATHAN AJAYI
Tori HEATHER ALEXANDER
Olivia KATE OVENDEN
Christian CHARLIE O’CONNOR
Henry LOUIS RICHARDS
Emma GRACE DALY
Diane LAUREN RAISBECK
Rosie EMILY SEALE JONES
Mary SHIZUKA FARLEY
Fred FERNANDO GARCIA
Juliet KAT RONSON
Vince SEDAR KESKIN
Writer & Director MITCH KALISA
Producer CHRIS TOUMAZOU
Executive Producer KADRI MAHMOUD
Cinematographer JAIME ACKROYD
First AD TY HACK
Focus Puller JERRY PRADON
Second AC JUAN MINOTTA
Key Grip LLEWELLYN HARRISON
Gaffer MATT MOFFAT
Gaffer JAMES DUFFY
Spark JAMES SINCLAIR
Production Assistant GABY LAFOR
Production Assistant HANNAH BRANDES
Casting Director MARTHA STEWART
3rd AD DENIS NORTEY
Unit Driver CRAIG MOORE
Hair & MUA KATE O’SHEA
Sound Recordist BLAI ESCAYOLA
Edited by MITCH KALISA
Colour ELECTRIC THEATRE COLLECTIVE
Colourist JASON WALLIS
Colour Producer OSCAR WENDT
Sound Design & Mix FOCAL RHYTHM PRODUCTIONS