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Searching for Taid (1997)

Courtesy of Channel 4 Television

Main image of Searching for Taid (1997)
DirectorBranwen Okpako
Production CompanyTelesyn Ltd
ProducerMary Simmonds

Edore Okpako, a Nigerian living in Berlin, returns to Wales in search of his roots in the Welsh-speaking heartland where his grandfather, Sir William Williams, served as Chief Constable of Caernarfon.

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This short documentary film directed by Branwen Okpako tells the story of her brother's search for his Welsh roots. It was transmitted as part of Channel 4's The Ba Ba Zee, a strand devoted to black life and culture from around the world. Together with another short documentary from the same series, Brannigan (tx 24/10/1997), about a Northern Irish, mixed-race boy's search for his black roots, the two films present interesting, contrasting tales of identity.

Edore Okpako, a mixed race Nigerian, is a smart, funny, attractive young man curious about his long dead Welsh grandfather, who he never met. All he has is a tattered photograph of a severe-looking man in a police uniform. The search takes him and us in some unexpected areas. There is no joyous reunion or moment of sudden revelation. Instead as Edore tries to connect the dots in his mixed heritage, the film gently probes at the certainties underlying family mores and finds them fluid and inconclusive.

Searching for Taid is a lyrical and at times affecting portrait of a mixed family. Like Brannigan, it is a quest for a missing, presumed available piece of identity. In the end, the brave subjects of both films are reconciled to the person they are, not the person they feel they should be.

Branwen Okpako was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1969, graduated in Political Science from University of Bristol and in 1992 entered the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin.

Ann Ogidi

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Video Clips
Complete film (15:02)
Extract 1 (0:49)
Extract 2 (3:17)
Proud Valley, The (1940)