Brief Tender Light

At the elite MIT, four African students strive to graduate into agents of change for their home countries. But what changes come from living in two different worlds?

Brief Tender Light
Premiere Date
January 1, 2024
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
Brief Tender Light_Headshot_Producer_Director_ArthurMusah

Arthur Musah

Born in Ukraine, raised in Ghana, and now living in America, Arthur Musah is drawn to stories of people shaped by multiple places. His documentary Naija Beta played in Africa, Europe and the US, winning several festival awards. Musah studied filmmaking in the University of Southern California’s MFA program. He holds a bachelor’s and Show more master’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

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The Film

As undergraduate students at America’s premier technological university, a group of ambitious African students come of age, learning lessons in and beyond the classroom. They embarked on their MIT education with individual ambitions –  to run a civil engineering company and be a shining example for girls in Tanzania; to secure a better life for family in northern Nigeria; to contribute to postgenocide reconstruction in Rwanda; to enter into politics and the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe. Their missions are distinct, but fueled by a common goal: to become agents of positive change back home.

Even as their dreams are anchored in the societies they have left, their daily realities are defined by America – by the immediate challenges in their MIT classrooms and the larger social issues confronting the world outside of those classrooms. Their new environment demands they adapt. Each is forced to refine their ideas about the world and about themselves, ultimately deciding how much of America to absorb, how much of Africa to hold on to, and how to transform youthful ideals into adult action.