Home Away from Home

A Sankofa film directed by Maureen Blackwood

England | 1994 | 11 minutes | Color | 35mm/DVD | Order No. 99301


A bittersweet drama that unfolds almost without dialogue, this prizewinning short film from Sankofa Film and Video conveys the isolation of immigrant women’s experiences. Miriam lives with her children in a cramped and dreary house near the airport where she works. The planes coming and going overhead remind her of how far removed she is from her rural African roots. Eventually Miriam constructs a beautiful mud hut in her garden, a magical space which takes her away from the loneliness crowding her suburban existence. Although her neighbors are intolerant, her daughter Fumi learns something about the African side of herself.


“A superbly economical drama.”

Kay Armatage Toronto Film Festival


  • Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, Best Short Film
  • Cannes Film Festival, Critics Week
  • Festival Cinema Africano, Milan, Best Short Film
  • Prized Pieces, Best Short Film
  • Toronto Film Festival



Sankofa is a collective of black, British filmmakers and was founded in the summer of 1983 by then aspiring filmmakers Isaac Julien, Martina Attille, Maureen Blackwood, Nadine Marsh-Edwards, and Robert Crusz. The five young artists were all recent graduates of various art colleges and polytechnics in London and were part of a wave of black independent filmmakers who emerged in the 1980s. Determined to tell their own stories in their own way, they established Sankofa. Sankofa was one of several collectives and film workshops supported by the Greater London Council (abolished in 1986), and the new broadcaster Channel 4, to encourage diversity. Sankofa specializes in distinctive, short films. The Collective’s earlier work includes: WHO KILLED COLIN ROACH? (d. Isaac Julien, 1983), TERRITORIES (d. Julien, 1984) and PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE (d. Maureen Blackwood 1986). The collective’s first full length feature, foregrounds their interest in politics, sexuality and Black British history. Other films such as DREAMING RIVERS (d. Martina Attille, 1988) and LOOKING FOR LANGSTON (d. Julien, 1989,) uncover personal histories with sensitivity and lyricism. In the late 1990s, their production slate broadened to include stories about British Chinese life (YELLOW FEVER, d. Raymond Yeung, 1998) and the work of new writers and directors like Toa Stappard (Strip, 1998) and Mina Courtauld (DUSTY’S STORY, 1998). Among their several award-witting films is ...IS IT THE DESIGN ON THE WRAPPER (d. Tessa Sheridan, 1997), which was awarded the short film Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. (10/09)

Maureen Blackwood

After completing a degree in Media Studies, writer/director Maureen Blackwood became a founding member of Sankofa Film and Video, a group of young Black filmmakers who came together to make films which offered new and often challenging visions of Black experiences. During her time with Sankofa, Maureen has pursued and developed her talents in the areas of writing and direction. She was co-writer/director on Sankofa's first film THE PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE before going on to write and direct the award-winning film PERFECT IMAGE? Maureen's more recent work includes A FAMILY CALLED ABREW, a documentary which depicts the lives of a Black Scottish family spanning a century and she has just completed a British Screen/Channel Four Television 11-minute drama, shot on 35mm, HOME AWAY FROM HOME.

Maureen has also worked on many of Sankofa's other films such as TERRITORIES, DREAMING RIVERS, and LOOKING FOR LANGSTON. Maureen has over the years organized a series of courses for people interested in media careers and most recently worked as Visiting Artist at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. At present, Maureen is working on the feature-length film, THREE ROOMS, whilst developing other Sankofa projects. (07/12)

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