Set in America, a young Black woman with white skin due to Albinism struggles to fit in with society.
Emir Kumova was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. He moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to attend Pepperdine University, CA and graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Film Studies. He has worked as an editor in Ad & Branding companies in Los Angeles.
His personal works have been screened in LA Shorts, Golden Gate International Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Izmir International Film Festival and others. For his works, he has received awards for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Script.
It was our pleasure to speak to Emir about his latest short film project which was an award winning film at the Venice Shorts of California.
What was the inspiration behind the making of War of Colors?
Two different situations, gave me the idea for the film. First one being; I have vitiligo
since fifteen years old. A skin condition where your pigments die and that part of the
skin turns white (vitiligo is a different skin condition than albinism).
As a result of this, I ended up having a white eyelash and a partially white mustache.
And I would dye them to black so I could look like the majority of people and avoid
the endless questions about my white spots from strangers in daily life. The second
incident was; I witnessed a black person being told that they were not “real Black”
because of their lighter skin tone. This was told to them by both a non-Black person
and a Black person with a darker skin tone, on separate time and occasions.
Combining these racial incidents that I witnessed and my own separate struggle
with my skin condition was the source of inspiration for this film.
What is the most challenging aspect of working on a short narrative genre when it comes
to the production?
Your budget is not too big. You have limited shooting days. In filmmaking, obstacles that
are out of your control will always come up to try to sabotage your project. You are already
trying to tell a meaningful story in a short amount of time. And challenges don’t help that
situation. So as a filmmaker you have to be creative and practical enough to overcome
those challenges and still manage to tell your story with what you have in those moments.
This is very challenging, but it makes you stronger and better as a story teller and a
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films and what was the
first film project that you created as a director?
I fell in love with the idea of filmmaking when I was little when my mother handed me an
old Sony video camera. I would shoot short subject videos with friend at the age of ten. As I
grew older in high school years, I started competing in film festivals in my hometown and
receiving recognition for my amateur works, it made me want to do films on a professional
level in the future. Christmas Tree, 15min short, about a Muslim woman decorating a
Christmas tree, was my first short film after finishing the university.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of the film?
As you can see, the roles in the film are very specific demographic roles. A person with
Albinism, a person with vitiligo and etc. People who have these conditions are already
underrepresented in the mainstream media. Therefore I wanted to be authentic and cast
people who actually have these conditions. Some had acting experience, some did not, but
staying true to the casting was my priority. It was months of research and reaching out to
people and pitching my idea to find the cast. For the crew, I worked with people who I
worked in my previous film. In the crew, main position I had to feel good about was the
cinematographer, and luckily I knew someone who I had a good work chemistry with
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to
continue working on?
I like dramas, that include themes of psychology and character driven plots. I find extra passion
in real life stories, or at least inspired by real life stories, which all my films so far were based on
that. I would like to continue making films about similar type of stories.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?
The way I see it, there are three types of entertainment that brings the world together. Music,
sports, and cinema. Cinema is extra special for me because I find passion in making montages of
moving images with strong music in the background that can elevate the emotions. On another
hand, films have the power of making a big impact on the audience. They can take you to places
you have never been, or you will never be in because they are in history, you can meet
historical figures different eras. This power of cinema fascinates me so much.
My next project is a feature I am working on developing currently.