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Somalinimo: young, gifted and Somali… and at Cambridge | Film



Against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, and with elite universities under attack for their poor diversity records, Somalinimo celebrates the experiences of four Cambridge University students as they seek positive change and find solidarity with each other in what could otherwise be an isolating and intimidating environment.

Somalinimo: a love letter to Somali culture, blackness and Islam at Cambridge University – video

Somalinimo is also a love-letter to Somali culture: with a distinctive visual approach, it takes us inside one of the most traditional institutions in the UK as well as a British-Somali home, while inspiring a new generation to navigate their way between the two. A collaboration between the writer Awa Farah and the film-maker Alice Aedy, it was made with the support of the BFI Doc Society Fund and is being show for the first time on Guardian Documentaries.

Writer Awa Farah and film-maker Alice Aedy behind the scenes on set of documentary Somalinimo

Writer Awa Farah and film-maker Alice Aedy behind the scenes on set of the documentary Somalinimo. Photograph: Alice Aedy/Guardian Documentary

Why did you decide to make this film together?

Awa: In 2018, I was researching the Somali diaspora in the UK. I was becoming increasingly tired of the monolithic, stereotypical depiction of Somalis in both literature and film. I came across Alice’s photography work on Somali women and found it beautifully refreshing.

Alice: Awa told me about her time at Cambridge studying an MPhil in African Studies, a place that was not made for people “like her”, but where she carved out a powerful sense of home through the Somali women she met there. We wanted to share that story.

Awa and I hoped to make a visually cinematic short film together, exploring what it means to live with the triple consciousness of being part of three marginalised groups – Black, female and Muslim – at one of the UK’s most traditional institutions, Cambridge University.

And although Awa, Miske, Hafsa and Samiya’s experiences are unique, the power of their stories lie in their universality. Identity, nationality, race, gender – these are all pressing and timely themes which Somalinimo touches on. We hoped to make a film that unapologetically showcases love for Somalia’s colourful traditions and traditional dress, Blackness and Islam.

When making a film about a community that is not your own, there is a particular responsibility to do so with respect and care to everyone involved and how they are represented. As a white director it was important to me to work closely with Awa, the producer and protagonist of the film, at every stage of the film production to ensure it was a true collaboration. Equally important was having strong representation of women and POC behind the camera.

Samiya Dubed being interviewed on the set of Somalinimo

Samiya Dubed is interviewed on the set of Somalinimo. Photograph: Girls on Film

What was your creative vision for this film and how did you go about achieving it?

Awa: What we initially thought would be a story about Somali women and their experiences at Cambridge became more like a love letter to our Somali heritage. After the interviews, we knew that telling a story that portrayed the richness and colour of Somali culture was just as important as the Cambridge aspect. We began thinking about how we could then visually merge these two worlds with the clothing, set design, architecture, and music, and it all just fell together quite naturally.

On the set of documentary Somalinimo

On the set of documentary Somalinimo. Photograph: Alice Aedy/Guardian Documentary

Alice: Awa spoke powerfully about the way the physical spaces of Cambridge made her feel. It became important to represent those spaces visually; the spaces that could make the women feel isolated, like the dining hall; empowered, like the mosque; a sense of home, like the Somali living room set design. Awa and I wanted all four women to walk through Cambridge in their “diraacs” – traditional Somali dress – as a powerful celebration of their Somali heritage.

What inspired you? Are there other films/anything that informed your approach to this project, or that you looked to for inspiration?

The cast of Somalinimo at Cambridge University

The cast of Somalinimo at Cambridge University. Photograph: Girls on Film

Awa: Growing up with six sisters, I felt like I had space where I could have honest conversations about everything. I think that so much about the film is about a way of trying to make a home from home. The theme of sisterhood and a sense of comfort is present throughout. In Cambridge, among Black, Muslim, and female communities, I was able to share my experiences. This was a constant source of inspiration for Somalinimo. I was also always in awe of the access work carried out by the fantastic student organisers behind the scenes.

Alice: I’m inspired by hybrid, stylised documentaries that borrow cinematic techniques perhaps traditionally reserved for fiction.

We built the set design of a traditional Somali home to evoke the powerful sense of nostalgia, and of Somalia (the way the girls’ parents might have spoken about it). The Somali living room visually depicted a sense of belonging – a comfort zone – in contrast to the spaces in Cambridge that could sometimes be isolating.

I was interested by how this set design would shape the conversations had between the girls within the space, and their ability to reflect on memory and family.

How do you think this film resonates with the Black Lives Matter movement as well as elitism around university admissions?

Awa: Since starting to make this film, times have changed a lot. People are no longer waiting around for positive change but are demanding it. There has been a massive drive to get more Black students and those from state schools into Cambridge! But getting students through the door will not be enough on its own. Segments of the film address the explicit and implicit ways elite institutions can feel alienating to Black students even beyond the admission stage. Proactive steps need to be taken to engage seriously with the systematic and structural nature of racism for students from all backgrounds to thrive once they enter elite, predominantly white, spaces.

Alice: Since we made Somalinimo, the world has changed beyond recognition. The extraordinary Black Lives Matter movement has served as a poignant reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for equal representation and treatment of Black people in Britain. As storytellers we must play a role in challenging dominant narratives and stereotypes. We must tell positive stories that celebrate Black talent and experience.

It’s no secret that elite universities, including Cambridge University, have extremely poor diversity records. The Black Lives Matter movement only served to highlight this urgent issue. I have been inspired by groups like the Black Curriculum, an initiative teaching Black history to 8-16 year olds, and other important campaigns to decolonise the British curriculum at schools and universities across the country.

I never set out to make an indictment of Cambridge University, rather a celebration of these four women. However, I do want the audience to finish watching the film with a profound sense that every university is doing itself – and its students – a disservice by having such poor diversity records.

Miske Ali on the set of Somalinimo

Miske Ali on the set of Somalinimo. Photograph: Girls on Film

What effect do you hope this film will have on the viewer?

Alice: I want this film to inspire young women. You can’t be what you can’t see. We want them to recognise themselves in Awa, Samiya, Hafsa and Miske, powerful women creating a legacy for future generations.

I hope the film leaves people feeling hopeful. Whoever you are – there is space for Black, Muslim students at elite universities and the viewers of this film can have an important role in carving out those spaces.

For a long time, Somali communities have been underestimated and underrepresented in the film industry. Somalinimo’s overarching theme of identity and home represents a new generation of representation of Somalis in film.

Awa: Primarily, I hope that young Black, Muslim students from state schools thinking of applying to Oxbridge can watch this film and feel that, despite all the barriers, you still have every right to make it your home and bring yourself fully.

Writer Awa Farah and film-maker Alice Aedy behind the scenes on set of documentary Somalinimo

Writer Awa Farah and film-maker Alice Aedy behind the scenes on the set of the documentary Somalinimo, Photograph: Alice Aedy/Guardian Documentaries

Click here to watch Somalinimo.

Join the conversation. Guardian multimedia journalist Iman Amrani chairs a panel of film-makers and journalists to explore the film-making process and address the wider questions around the themes raised in this film. During the event you will also have the opportunity to ask your own questions to the panel in real time. Monday 28 September 2020, 7pm–8pm BST. Sign up here.

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11 Songs In Scary Movies You’ll Never Hear The Same Way




“You’ll get the chills just thinking about them.”

When it comes to making a truly scary horror movie, every element counts—including a killer (no pun intended) soundtrack.

Sometimes, a well-placed song in a horror movie can change the way you hear it forever. Here’s 11 songs that we can’t help but associate with films that give you the heebie-jeebies.

1. Nick Cave, “Red Right Hand” (Scream)

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Miramax / YouTube

Goth-rock icon Nick Cave’s 1994 single perfectly sets the ominous mood in Wes Craven’s 1996 horror classic. (And, not to spoil anything, but this won’t be the only time Scream pops up on this list.)

2. Luniz, “I Got 5 on It” (Us)

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Universal / YouTube

Jordan Peele’s 2019 fright-fest flipped Oakland duo Luniz’s 1995 hit on its head—drawing out the beat to a creep and perfectly soundtracking the film’s terrifying trailer (as well as its thrilling climax).

3. XTC, “Dear God” (It Chapter One)

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Warner Bros. / YouTube

Sometimes, the song in question doesn’t even have to be associated with scary images within the movie—it can just set the tone for the according scene perfectly, so you’ll never think of it the same way again.

4. Gary Jules, “Mad World” (Donnie Darko)

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Newmarket Films / YouTube

Donnie Darko might not be a traditional horror film, but it’s plenty chilling—and Gary Jules’ cover of Tears for Fears’ classic song serves as a haunting ending to the film.

5. John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High” (Final Destination)

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New Line Cinema / YouTube

Once you hear John Denver’s breezy, easygoing song soundtrack several deaths in the Final Destination franchise’s inaugural 2000 installment, you’ll never feel relaxed by the late singer-songwriter’s voice again.

6. Q Lazzarus, “Goodbye Horses” (Silence of the Lambs)


Synth-pop singer Q Lazzarus’ 1988 single found new life three years later in this pivotal and utterly unforgettable scene from Jonathan Demme’s horror classic.

7. Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Freebird” (The Devil’s Rejects)

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“Freebird” is the kind of song that’s been overused in popular culture to the point where even touching it is a risk. And yet: Rob Zombie’s 2005 blood-soaked cult favorite managed to give the tune a new twist, soundtracking its road-weary and unbelievably gory finale.

8. Sam Cooke, “Blue Moon” (An American Werewolf in London)

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A lovely version of Sam Cooke’s “Blue Moon” (get it?) hovers just over the horrifying werewolf transformation scene in John Landis’ 1981 horror-comedy classic.

9. Donovan, “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (Zodiac)

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David Fincher’s 2007 masterpiece isn’t exactly horror, but its chronicle of the Zodiac Killer’s persistence is terrifying in its own right—and psych-pop icon Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” provides the soundtrack for one of the film’s most chillingly murderous moments.

10. Harvey Danger, “Flagpole Sitta” (Disturbing Behavior)

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Not only did Harvey Danger’s karaoke classic soundtrack this 1998 teen horror film’s trailer, but it popped up in a key montage near its thrilling climax, too.

11. Alice Cooper, “School’s Out” (Scream)

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It only makes sense that one of the best horror films of the last several decades appears twice on this list and closes it out. Shock-rock icon Alice Cooper’s booming tune comes in right at the end of this typically gory scene.

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TV Shows And Movies Like The Haunting Of Bly Manor




Time to start watching, Poppins.


Bates Motel

Bettina Strauss / A&E / Everett Collection

A prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic Psycho, this series tells the story of Norman Bates and his mother Norma. While the series is set in present day and in a different town, it showcases what led up to Psycho in an interesting and brilliant way. If you loved the friendships and family dynamics of Bly Manor, this should be your next binge-watch. Bates Motel is incredibly smart and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Where to watch it: Netflix.



Blumhouse Productions / Intrepid Pictures

If you love Kate Siegel, aka Theo Crain and Viola from Hill House and Bly Manor, plus creator Mike Flanagan’s mesmerizing directing style, then you’ll want to check out Hush. Written by Kate and Mike and directed by Mike, Hush follows Maddie Young, a deaf horror writer who moves to a cabin in the woods to get in some much-needed writing time. However, one night, a masked killer appears and quickly begins to terrorize Maddie. This movie manages to capture the edge-of-your-seat horror aspects with very little dialogue.

Where to watch it: Netflix.


Created by Misha Green and executive produced by Jordan Peele and JJ Abrams, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus, his Uncle George, and his friend Leti as they road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America while searching for Atticus’s missing dad. Adapted from Matt Ruff’s novel, the series brilliantly blends aspects of horror and sci-fi to not only tell small stories about a family’s struggle, but also larger stories about the Black experience. If you loved how Bly Manor used the horror genre, then I cannot recommend Lovecraft Country enough.

Where to watch it: HBO Max.



John Estes / Relativity Media / Everett Collection

Based on Mike Flanagan’s short film, this movie follows Kaylie, a young woman who is convinced that a mysterious mirror is the cause for all of her family’s suffering. The movie stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, and Rory Cochrane. And it also features some Hill House and Bly Manor favorites like Kate Siegel, Katie Parker, and James Lafferty. Once again, if you’ve become a fan of Mike’s writing and directing, this film is a must-see. Also, the Oculus mirror makes a small appearance in Hill House.

Where to watch it: Hulu.

Beth Dubber / Netflix

If you watched Bly Manor and now have a massive crush on Victoria Pedretti, 1) you’re not alone, and 2) it’s time to watch some more of her work. Victoria joined the cast of You in Season 2 and will star in the upcoming Season 3. You follows Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley, a dangerous man who falls head-over-heels in love with women he just meets. Joe’s toxic and unhealthy obsessions often lead to Joe killing people in order to “protect” the people he is transfixed by.

Where to watch it: Netflix.



Katie Yu / The CW / Everett Collection

Two words for you: Rahul Kohli. If you absolutely adored Owen, his relationship with Hanna, and his iconic puns, then it’s time to check out Rahul as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti on iZombie. The series follows Liv, who takes a job at a morgue in Seattle after she turns into a zombie following a boat party incident. iZombie is truly a super-fun watch, and Rahul’s comedic timing and charm is on full display as Ravi. I cannot recommend this underrated series enough.

Where to watch it: Netflix.


Gerald’s Game


Another film written and directed by Mike Flanagan, Gerald’s Game is based on the Stephen King novel and follows a couple who take a vacation to an isolated house. Once there, the husband suddenly dies and his wife is left handcuffed to the bed without a way to escape, and is now forced to battle her inner demons. The movie stars Carla Gugino and also features appearances by Henry Thomas and Kate Siegel, aka the Hill House and Bly Manor fam together again.

Where to watch it: Netflix.


Penny Dreadful

Jonathan Hession / Showtime / Everett Collection

Penny Dreadful follows Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler, Victor Frankenstein, and Vanessa Ives as they band together to help combat supernatural threats in Victorian London. Penny Dreadful brilliantly weaves together classic stories and characters from Frankenstein, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and more. I consider this one of the most underrated shows in recent memory and hope more people continue to find it. Like Bly Manor, this is a show that has elevated the source material in order to tell a mesmerizing story.

Where to watch it: Netflix.


Years and Years


I think it’s safe to say that T’Nia Miller gave one of the best performances in Haunting of Bly Manor as Hannah Grose. So, if you’re looking to watch T’Nia shine again, Years and Years is the perfect watch. This limited series follows the Lyons family and how all of their individual lives converge during one night in 2019. It then follows their lives over the next 15 years. Alongside T’Nia, the series also stars Emma Thompson, so what more could you ask for?

Where to watch it: HBO Max.


The Invisible Man

Mark Rogers / Universal Pictures / Everett Collection

I think we can all agree that Oliver Jackson-Cohen was one of the best parts of Hill House, and his ability to play a completely different character in Bly Manor is astounding. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to watch Oliver in The Invisible Man. The film follows Cecilia, who begins to believe her abusive boyfriend is stalking her after his apparent death. She soon learns that he is actually invisible and is wreaking havoc on her life. Oliver stars alongside Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and more in this horrifying adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel.

Where to watch it: HBO Max.




One of the best and most underrated Netflix series to date, Dark follows the connections between four estranged families as they try to figure out a wild time travel conspiracy that ultimately spans generations. The series is truly one of the smartest shows I’ve watched, and the cast is absolutely brilliant. Like Bly Manor, if characters and intricately weaved stories are your thing, then you need to watch Dark.

Where to watch it: Netflix.



Fallback Plan Productions

This is actually Mike Flanagan’s first feature film and stars Katie Parker, who played Poppy in Hill House and Perdita in Bly Manor. Absentia follows Callie and her sister as they begin to link a mysterious tunnel to numerous sudden disappearances, including Callie’s husband. If you want to see where it all began for Mike, I suggest giving this one a watch, maybe with the lights on.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video.



Christos Kalhourdis / Cinemax / Everett Collection

There’s no way you watched Bly Manor without loving Carla Gugino even more than you already did, so I suggest checking out Jett. This sadly short-lived series follows Daisy, a world-renowned thief who begins doing what she does best for criminals shortly after getting out of prison. I don’t know how it has taken this long for Carla Gugino to lead a series, but I just want to celebrate it 24/7.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video with Cinemax or you can buy the season on iTunes and Amazon.


Hemlock Grove

Brooke Palmer / Netflix

Another great and underrated horror series, Hemlock Grove follows all of the strange occurrences that take place in, you guessed it, Hemlock Grove. This is one of Netflix’s first original series, and chances are you might have missed it the first time around. Like Bly Manor, this show is made to be binge-watched and is another great example of how so much can be done within the horror genre.

Where to watch it: Netflix.


Castle Rock

Dana Starbard / Hulu

Starring Bill Skarsgård, Lizzy Caplan, André Holland, and Sissy Spacek, Castle Rock tells the story of the town of Castle Rock and all of the interesting things that take place there. The series was inspired by Stephen King’s novel and brings to life some of King’s classic horror genre themes. Once again, if you’re just in a horror TV show mood after Bly Manor, this underrated series should be high up there on your list of upcoming shows to binge-watch.

Where to watch it: Hulu.


Wayward Pines

Ed Araquel / Fox / Everett Collection

Based on the novels of the same name, Wayward Pines tells the story of a secret service agent who arrives in the mysterious town of Wayward Pines after two federal agents go missing. The series used creepy and somewhat strange stories to bring to life a very intriguing show. Also, it starred Carla Gugino, so automatically worth checking out. Basically, I just feel like this show was at the wrong place at the wrong time and deserved a little more love when it was on.

Where to watch it: Hulu.

HBO Max / DC Comics

Okay, hear me out on this one, Rahul Kohli lends his voice as Scarecrow in several episodes of this brilliant DC TV series. Harley Quinn follows Harley Quinn, who has recently broken up with the Joker and has now started her own villain crew with the help of Poison Ivy. This show is phenomenal and might be the best Harley Quinn–centered adaptation. Also, if you liked watching Dani and Jamie — someone who is struggling with their demons and someone who adorably loves plants more than humans — fall in love, then Harley and Poison Ivy are here for you.

Where to watch it: HBO Max.


Doctor Sleep

Jessica Miglio/ Warner Bros. / Everett Collection

Based on Stephen King’s novel, Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining and follows Danny Torrance, a man with psychic abilities who is also struggling with his childhood trauma. Mike Flanagan directed and wrote the screenplay for this adaptation starring Ewan McGregor. If you loved Bly Manor, you should just add all of Mike’s films to your list and enjoy a cozy and spooky night in.

Where to watch it: HBO Max.




Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula, this series follows the notorious vampire as he arrives in London posing as Alexander Grayson, an American entrepreneur who claims to be a genius when it comes to modern scientific advances. The series also stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen before he starred as Luke and Peter from Hill House and Bly Manor.

Where to watch it: NBC.

Michelle Faye / SYFY

While on the surface, The Haunting of Bly Manor is a horror TV series, it ends up telling a very compelling and heartbreaking LGBTQ love story with Dani and Jamie’s relationship. So, if you’re looking for another series with great LGBTQ representation, but also all the fun of a genre TV show, Wynonna Earp is for you. The series follows Wynonna as she is forced to rid her hometown of revenants, the resurrected souls of the criminals her great-great-grandfather, Wyatt Earp, killed years ago. Wynonna Earp tells some compelling female-centered stories all while being a sci-fi series.

Where to watch it: Netflix.


Okay, this is an obvious one, but some people might’ve watched The Haunting of Bly Manor and not The Haunting of Hill House. So, if you are one of those people, I URGE you to go back and watch Hill House. It’s truly a flawless season of television. The series follows the Crain family as they grapple with everything that happened to them after they lived in the mysterious Hill House. The series gifted us some of the best new characters in recent memory, a perfect episode with “The Bent-Neck Lady,” and accomplished an episode that consists of only five long takes.

Where to watch it: Netflix.

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Scarlett Johansson And Colin Jost Are Married




They followed all of the CDC’s “COVID-19 safety precautions.”

Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost are officially married!

Trae Patton / Getty Images

The Instagram account for Meals on Wheels shared the news when it posted a picture of the Staten Island Ferry with aluminum cans tied to the back.

“We’re thrilled to break the news that Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost were married over the weekend in an intimate ceremony with their immediate family and loved ones, following COVID-19 safety precautions as directed by the CDC,” the caption read.

“Their wedding wish is to help make a difference for vulnerable older adults during this difficult time by supporting @mealsonwheelsamerica. Please consider donating to celebrate the happy couple by clicking the link in our bio,” it continued.

Scarlett and Colin have been dating for two years. In May 2019, they got engaged in a very “romantic” way, as she later described to Ellen DeGeneres.

Chelsea Guglielmino / Getty Images

“He’s very charming,” she told the talk show host. “It was very personal. It was a very special moment and I think more than anything, when someone tells you they want to share the rest of their life with you, it’s a lovely, special thing.”

SAG / Via

Although this is the first time Colin is getting married, Scarlett actually tied the knot two times before. She was previously married to actor Ryan Reynolds from 2008 to 2011 and journalist Romain Dauriac from 2014 to 2017.

Congrats to the happy couple!

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